This Week & Next (July 22, 2016)

State to adopt A-F letter grading accountability system
Kids get letter grades. Soon schools will, too. The Michigan Department of Education is preparing to launch a new accountability system that will call for assigning letter grades of A-F to schools and districts — a system that has been controversial nationwide and is being used in more than a dozen states. The new system will be a far cry from how the state now evaluates schools, using a color-coded system (the “Rainbow Report Card”) — that many describe as confusing to parents and educators. GLEP strongly supports using an A-F system that balances proficiency and individual student growth, and we’re happy to be participating in the Superintendent’s work group here.

Supreme Court requests legal briefs on private school funding issue
Last week we reminded you the FY ’17 School Aid Budget includes a small line item to cover the cost of state-required health and safety mandates in private schools. After a number of traditional school groups threatened to file suit to stop these reimbursements, Governor Snyder requested an advisory opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the funding prior to the start of the next fiscal year. The Court just issued an order requiring the Attorney General to file briefs arguing both pro and con on the issue, and they invited any stakeholders to submit amicus briefs by August 26.  GLEP is currently discussing this issue with other pro-choice organizations, and we’ll let you know next week how we’re planning to respond.

Where do Clinton and Trump stand on education issues?
The Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee Donald Trump have yet to release comprehensive K-12 policy plans. To give a sense of where they stand, Education Week reviewed their statements, proposals, and positions on a dozen education policy issues, from school choice to school safety. Some material is drawn from their 2016 presidential campaigns, some from before they began their current quests for the White House. Click here for the side by side comparison.

Want to run for the “new” DPS school board?
Want to run for (the new) school board? According to city elections officials, the deadline to file nominating petitions is 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26. Any registered Detroit voter who is 18 or over can run. To get on the ballot, you need no fewer than 40 and no more than 100 signatures from registered city voters, or you can pay $100 to skip the petition process. Paperwork can be picked up — and turned in — at the office of the City Clerk in the Coleman A. Young municipal building (2 Woodward Avenue) or at the city elections department at 2978 W. Grand Blvd. The Nov. 8 election will choose seven board members who will all represent the whole city, rather than specific districts, and will take office in January.

Education Reform News Clips

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please consider making a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!

Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director