This Week & Next (May 22, 2015)

State Senate passes Teacher Evaluation Bill
On Wednesday the State Senate passed, on a 22-15 vote, SB 103 (Pavlov), a GLEP-supported bill to create a new teacher and administrator evaluation system in the state. In case you’re looking for more evidence that we desperately need a new teacher evaluation system in the state, consider the fact that 79% of teachers in Detroit Public Schools have been rated “highly effective” when DPS students rank dead last in the country when it comes to having proficient readers. BTW, the statewide average for districts rating teachers as “highly effective” is closer to 38% (less than half as high as in DPS), and statewide reading scores are dramatically higher than in DPS. 

School Aid Budget Conferees Named
Members of the House and Senate appointed to serve on the Conference Committee charged with negotiating final details for the $14 billion FY ’16 School Aid Budget have been named:

  • Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp)
  • Rep. Phil Potvin (R-Cadillac)
  • Rep. Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores)
  • Sen. Geoff Hansen (R-Hart)
  • Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair)
  • Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Romulus)

Major points of difference between the versions of the budget passed by the Senate and House include per-pupil foundation grant amounts as well as funding for at-risk, early literacy, MPSERS cost-offsets;, and other programs. The conference committee has not posted any meetings, but they are expected to meet soon. Stay tuned!

Education on the Menu at Pancakes and Politics
Yesterday’s installment of the Michigan Chronicle’s2015 Pancakes and Politics series featured a panel of educational leaders focusing on how to deliver quality education in Detroit.  Panelists included David Hecker, American Federation of Teachers Michigan president; Tonya Allen, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation; Clark Durant, co-founder of Cornerstone Schools; Darnell Earley, emergency manager, Detroit Public Schools, and Veronica Conforme, chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority. As you might expect, there was not a consensus among these panelists as to HOW we are supposed to improve the quality of education in Detroit. Discussions will, undoubtedly, continue.

Testimony Heard on Shared Time Services for Kindergarteners
Yesterday the House Education Committee heard testimony on HB 4594, sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), which expands shared time services to include kindergarten instruction. Shared time policies allow children who attend non-public schools or who are homeschooled to enroll in a public school on a part-time basis for additional courses. Michigan currently allows for shared time instruction for grades 1-12. This bill, which GLEP supports, increases options available to parents to choose the type of education that is best for their children. No vote was taken this week, but one is expected in the near future. – Courtesy of Michigan Catholic Conference

Besty DeVos on “The Artificial Ceiling”
Recently, Betsy DeVos, GLEP Board Member and Chair of the American Federation of Children, wrote a guest editorial column published in “The Hill,” a Washington, D.C. newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:
“If we’re serious about ensuring every child in America has access to a quality education and fully preparing our children to lead this nation in a highly competitive 21st century global economy, we need an “Education Revolution.” We can’t be satisfied with incremental change that leaves only low-income families without quality choices or with mediocrity where we fail to challenge our students to reach higher. Our K-12 system needs to be infused with greater parental choice – choice that is agnostic about public, private, charter, blended, or virtual education – and innovation that harnesses the strengths and focuses on the unique needs of every child.”

Detroit Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference Next Week
Hundreds of leaders in business, the legislature and area non-profits will descend upon Mackinac Island next Tuesday-Friday for the annual Mackinac Policy Conference hosted by the Detroit Chamber. For those that can’t make it, most of the keynote addresses and select panel discussions will be livestreamed via DPTV. Check out the agenda schedule and set aside some time to keep up with the action. We’re especially interested in the session on education in Detroit, which is scheduled for 9:30 am on Wednesday, May 27. Tune in!!

Misc School Choice News

Next Week

Monday, May 25

  • Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26

Wednesday, May 27

Thursday, May 28

Friday, May 29

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