This Week & Next (July 24, 2015)

Rep. Price introduces K-3 Reading Bill
On Tuesday this week, Rep. Amanda Price (R-Park Township), Chair of the House Education Committee, submitted HB 4822, a bill to create a K-3 reading program in Michigan. Price’s bill outlines a comprehensive and balanced approach to improving early reading proficiency and recommends an appropriate combination of screening, tutoring, mentoring and intervention in order to get the right help to the right students at the right time.GLEP believes passing this bill will put an effective K-3 Reading Program in place for all students in the state. With continued leadership from Governor Snyder, bi-partisan legislative support and $100 million in new resources to address at-risk students and early literacy in the FY ’16 School Aid Budget, we can start to make a real difference for thousands of students.It is important to note the bill is being co-sponsored by a bi-partisan majority of House Education Committee members and follows the final recommendations of the K-3 Reading Legislative Workgroup convened by Governor Snyder and chaired by John Kennedy earlier in the year. HB 4822 will be formally introduced on August 18, the next scheduled session day in the House. Click here to listen to an interview with GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert on WILS 1320 AM.

Meet Sen. Tim Scott, Champion for Choice
In case you missed it, Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) delivered a passionate argument about the importance of empowering parents with school choice during floor debate over S 1777, the “Every Child Achieves Act” to replace ESEA/NCLB.

Parents Rally for School Choice in Washington, D.C.
Hundreds of school choice advocates gathered on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to rally for educational options and celebrate three members of Congress that has named as Champions of School Choice. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind.; and Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., were all awarded small trophies and recognized as Champions of School Choice. Speakers at the rally included Kara Kerwin, Center for Education Reform and Kevin Chavous, American Federation for Children.
Michigan Continues to Fall Behind in Latest Kids Count report
The 2015 “Kids Count” Michigan report was released this week, from the respected Annie Casey Foundation, shows that Michigan ranks 37th in the country for education, which is the lowest state rank among all the issues included in the report (Economic Well-Being, 33rd; Family and Community, 29th; Health, 23rd).  We will continue to advocate for improved academic outcomes through choice, quality and accountability in education.
Education Funding Study RFP Released
A request for proposals (RFP) from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget has been released as the first step in conducting a study of education funding in Michigan. The deadline for consultants to submit proposals is August 7, 2015 and the study must be completed by March 31, 2016. The RFP requires the winning contractor to determine the sufficient per pupil resources to provide a successful and proficient public education. This has been, and will continue to be, a very contentious issue in Lansing, and we’re keeping our eyes peeled for developments.

Pontiac and Benton Harbor get Emergency Loans
On Wednesday at the state’s Emergency Loan Board held a hearing and granted emergency loans of $10 million to Pontiac Public Schools and $1.4 million to Benton Harbor Public Schools. Both school districts will use the funds for payroll and to cover vendor bills. This is Pontiac’s last loan, since the program is capped at $20 million per district.

Capitol Update
The Michigan legislature was not in session this week, nor will they be in session next week.  The Senate will return on August 11 and the House will return on August 18.

Education News Clips

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Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director