This Week & Next (May 6, 2016)

House Passes DPS Reform Bills
In a late-night session Wednesday that stretched until 4:00 am on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a package of bills to solve the financial and academic crisis in Detroit Public Schools. Passed on a near straight party votes, we applaud Speaker Kevin Cotter, Appropriations Chair Al Pscholka, Rep. Daniela Garcia and the House Republicans for supporting the package and shake our heads at how Detroit Democrats actually voted against the financial rescue of DPS.  The House bills address the key issues here, which include paying off 100% of DPS debt; providing transition funding to the “new” DPS; increasing accountability through immediate intervention in chronically failing traditional and charter public schools; and protecting taxpayers through a financial review commission. The Detroit News accurately reports the key differences between the Senate and the House bills is the degree to which Mayor Duggan is empowered to prop up the new district by limiting charter schools. GLEP will continue to fight so parents remain in control of their children’s education. We’ll have a detailed side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate bills next week.

Detroit Teachers Hold Illegal Strike – Judge Rhodes Blasts Them
The Detroit Federation of Teachers orchestrated another illegal strike which closed all DPS schools on Monday and Tuesday of this week, stranding students from both learning and the meals they would normally receive in school. The Detroit News points out that this won’t help teachers win the debate in Lansing. Judge Stephen Rhodes, DPS Emergency Manager, alsoblasted the union for the staging the illegal walk-out, saying the action was “unnecessary and puzzled, angered and alienated state legislators” trying to pass bills to help the struggling district. You think?

EAA Closes Detroit’s Worst School
This week the Education Achievement Authority announced the closure of Phoenix Multicultural Academy, based on failing academics and dwindling enrollment.  The school has consistently ranked in the very bottom of the state’s accountability system (0% percentile), and the current enrollment of 190 is well below the building capacity of 900 students. The EAA was created to address the state’s lowest performing schools, and to date 15 DPS schools have been transferred to the district. This is the first EAA school to be closed. What took you so long?

GLEP candidate questionnaire available online
All 110 members of the State House of Representative are up for election this fall, and there are 40 open seats in what will be a high-turnout Presidential year election cycle. If you know someone running for State Representative this year, click here to access the GLEP candidate questionnaire. Candidates are only considered for endorsement by GLEP if they return the questionnaire.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, May 9

  • Meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Tuesday, May 10

  • Senate Education Committee
  • Meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Wednesday, May 11

  • Meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Thursday, May 12

  • House Education Committee
  • Meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform

Friday, May 13

  • Meetings with key legislators to discuss DPS reform
  • Deadline to receive Funding Adequacy Study

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

Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director