This Week & Next (June 26, 2015)

Not Much Happening in Lansing
Both the State Senate and Michigan House of Representatives are not in session this week, conducting what is referred to as an “in-district work period” for legislators.  The Senate returns to Lansing next week and the House is expected back on July 14.


Learn About Turnarounds during June 29 Webinar
If you want to see what three states, including Louisiana, Tennessee and Michigan, have learned about turning around poor-performing schools, then you’ll want to participate in an informational webinar at 4:00 pm on Monday, June 29, hosted by the Fordham Foundation. So-called “turnaround school districts,” inspired by Louisiana’s Recovery School District and its near-clone in Tennessee, have been gathering steam, with policymakers calling for them in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and other states scattered from coast to coast. But just how promising are these state-run districts as a strategy to bring about governance reform and school renewal? What lessons can we take away from those districts with the most experience? Can their most effective features be replicated in other states? Should they be? What are ideal conditions for success? And why has Michigan’s version of this reform struggled so? Click here to RSVP for this online webinar.

Covenant House in the News
In a recent feature story from MLive, Covenant House in Grand Rapids is applauded for their work to graduate students — most of whom had aged out of the traditional school system as they weren’t having their needs met there. The article points to the support and instruction from teachers and counselors in a safe, structured environment that led to their success. This is further evidence that school choice works, and that every student can learn and be successful!!

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy earns national exposure
In a national report from ESPN Front Row, Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit was highlighted this week as the charter public school celebrated their first graduating class. According to the feature, “Home is where the heart is and the 13-year NBA star and University of Michigan alum never forgot that. He started the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA), an open enrollment public charter high school, with hopes of giving back to the community where he grew up by providing educational and other opportunities to youth in Detroit.” Way to go, Jalen Rose graduates!!

Union Leave Time Costs Taxpayers $2.7 Million Per Year
While the legislature debates bills about taxpayer-paid leave time and pension spiking, it was reported this week Michigan taxpayers are on the hook for $2.7 million in costs for nearly 40 school employees who spent up to half of their work time on union business in 2011. GLEP doesn’t have an opinion on whether school employees should get paid leave time to conduct union business, but we certainly believe the bill for this time shouldn’t be paid by taxpayers. That’s why we support SB 279 and SB 280 (Knollenberg), and we’re urging the Senate to pass these bills this summer.

Union Report Criticizes Walton Foundation for Supporting Charter Schools
The American Federation of Teachers and In the Public Interest, in a new report, argue that the Walton Family Foundation’s ideology has led to rapid expansion of a charter sector that lacks transparency and accountability and is undermining traditional public schools. What else would you expect from the staunchest defenders of the status quo in public education? Among the 11 points in their proposed “accountability agenda” is a provision that opening charter public schools only be approved if nearby traditional public schools are guaranteed not lose a single penny of revenue. So they just don’t want any more charters, it seems.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, June 29

  • Turnaround School District Webinar

Tuesday, June 30

Wednesday, June 1

Thursday, July 2

Friday, July 3

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