This Week & Next (Mar 7, 2014)

Appropriations Subcommittees Continue Hearings on FY ’15 School Aid Budget

  • On Wednesday the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid continued their hearings on the FY ‘’15 School Aid Budget, with an emphasis on Educator Evaluations. The only bill pending in the Senate on this issue would push back the implementation date until 2015-2016.
  • Also on Wednesday the House Appropriatons Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Bill Rogers (R-Brighton) discussed the FY ’15 School Aid Budget, with a focus on Great Start Readiness Program, Early Childhood Funding, and MDE school reform efforts.
  • GLEP also met privately with Chairman Walker and Chairman Rogers on Wednesday, and we made our case for prioritizing the foundation grant and reducing the $973 equity gap between the Minimum and Basic per pupil foundation grants.

Senate and House Education Committee Action

On Wednesday the House Education Committee took testimony on SB 120, 121 & 423 sponsored by Sen. Pat Colbeck (R-Canton) bills to encourage schools to include historical documents in their curriculum; and the Senate Education Committee had a second hearing and voted out SB 644, sponsored by Sen. Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell), to modify enrollment procedures for Strict Discipline Academies.

Early Literacy Rates Plunge in Michigan

GLEP was quoted extensively in a Capitol Confidential article this week on the alarming drop in early reading proficiency.  According to the latest MEAP results, reading proficiency for 3rd graders dropped to 61.3% in 2013 compared to 66.5% in 2012. Further evidence of the need to pass the early literacy bills supported by GLEP and other organizations! March is READING month, after all!!

New York Charter Wars

“Education is not about the adults, or the unions, but about the students, and the students come first.” Well said, Governor Cuomo (D-New York). Click here for a video clip from the rally. And in this news article, Governor Cuomo pledges to help charter schools targeted by Mayor DeBlasio.

Florida Considering Choice Expansion

A bill aimed at streamlining charter school applications and a proposed expansion of Florida’s tax credit scholarship program have gotten their share of headlines going in to the Florida legislative session that started this week.

Vouchers in Tennessee? Perhaps!

A proposal to create a school voucher program in Tennessee is advancing in the House despite concerns from some lawmakers that the legislation would be detrimental to public schools. The measure proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam passed the House Budget Subcommittee 7-6 on Wednesday.

VoteSpotter App Available

Check out this easy-to-use app which tracks how YOUR legislators are voting, and you can quickly reach out and let them know how what you think of their vote! Here’s a quick overview.

Next Week

Monday, March 10

  • Staff to examine and score 2014 Candidate Questionnaires submissions (please click here if you’re a candidate for State Senate or State House and would like to be considered for an endorsement from GLEP).

Tuesday, March 11

  • GLEP will be making public testimony at the House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid, with a focus on funding equity in the FY ’15 School Aid Budget. Email for a copy of our PowerPoint presentation.
  • State Board of Education Meeting, including presentations on school funding from Dr. Richard Arsen, MSU Department of Educational Administration and Craig Thiel, Citizens Research Council.

Wednesday, March 12

  • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on K-12, School Aid & Education will hold another hearing with testimony on FY ’15 School Aid Budget
  • House Education Committee is expected to continue hearing SB 120, 121 & 423 (Colbeck), which to encourage schools to include historical documents in their curriculum.
  • The U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing at 10:00 am entitled, “Raising the Bar: The Role of Charter Schools in K-12 Education.” Click here to watch a webcast of the hearing.
  • Senate Education Committee

Thursday, March 13

  • Michigan Coalition for High Student Standards will be meeting to continue work on developing a consensus position on a new student assessment that measures individual student growth and is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

Friday, March 14

  • Beth DeShone, GLEP Advocacy Director, will be celebrating her birthday!!

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!!

That’s it for “This Week & Next.” Let’s keep putting kids first!!

Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director