This Week & Next (May 9, 2014)


FY ’15 School Aid Budgets Pass in Senate and House
YesterdCapitolay, different versions of the FY ’15 School Aid Budget passed in the legislature, with HB 5314 passing in the House of Representatives on a 97-12 vote while SB 775 passed in the State Senate on a 26-12 vote.  The foundation grant increase in the bills is $150-300 per pupil in the Senate version and only $56-114 in the House version, both utilizing the 2x formula to reduce the equity funding gap.  Because there remain significant differences between these two versions of the budget, a compromise will be crafted in a joint Senate-House conference committee later this month. GLEP continues to advocate prioritizing the foundation allowance and reducing the per-pupil equity gap by reducing spending on categoricals.

One of the hottest issues in the FY ’15 School Aid Budget is which student testing assessment Michigan will adopt to replace the MEAP.  Both versions of the school aid budget passed yesterday include language requiring MDE to implement the MEAP for 2014-15 and 2015-16 while putting out an RFP for a new assessment to begin in 2016-17. GLEP continues to encourage the legislature and MDE to work together and implement a next-generation assessment that measures both proficiency and individual student growth. With the correct testing assessment in place we’ll have the data we need to improve teaching and learning; to fairly evaluate teachers; and to meaningfully inform school accountability.

New Federal Charter House Bill Passes in Washington, D.C.
Education and community leaders are voicing support for the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10), bipartisan legislation to support charter school growth that passed 360-45 today in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stakeholders are praising the legislation for bolstering local charter school initiatives, aiding the expansion and replication of quality charter school models, and improving charter school accessibility for some of the country’s most disadvantaged students.

Teacher Evaluation Bills Pass in House Education Committee
On Tuesday, the H-4 substitute versions of HB 5323 (O’Brien) and HB 5224 (Zemke), bills to create a teacher and administrator evaluation system, were passed be 9-3 votes in the House Education Committee.  Because language was removed from the bills that would have negatively impacted teacher tenure reforms and restricted selection of the state’s testing assessment, GLEP is supporting their passage. The bills are now on the floor of the House of Representatives, where we support passing them in conjunction with HB 4625 (Lund), the performance pay bill.

GVSU closes poor performing school
We offer our support to the GVSU Charter Schools Office for making the difficult, but necessary decision, to close an under-performing charter public school. This is what accountability is all about, folks (despite the fact that ZERO traditional public schools have ever been closed due to academic failure).

Putting a Face on the “Any Time, Any Place, Any Where, Any Pace”Anys Approach to Education
Get to know Sarah Kazbour, a high schooler who the Detroit News reports never taken a gym class, took an elective course or went to the prom. Instead, she was busy taking her required courses to graduate while stockpiling college credits in courses such as anatomy and organic chemistry. By the time Kazbour graduated in Dearborn Heights, she only had to attend Henry Ford Community College for a year before she earned an associate’s degree at age 19. Today, Kazbour works part-time at Henry Ford Hospital in Wyandotte while taking online classes offered through Ohio University to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Local School Board Wants to Close MPSERS
Should the state “close” the existing teacher retirement program (MPSERS) and put new teachers into a Defined Contribution plan?  The folks from the Ann Arbor Public Schools are suggesting this be done, and we couldn’t agree more!

GLEP Endorses 24 More “Champions for Kids” Running for the Michigan Legislature
DemRepOn Wednesday, GLEP announced another round of endorsements in this year’s campaigns for the State Senate and State House of Representatives. GLEP’s endorsement process includes an examination of past voting records, personal interviews and results from the organization’s extensive candidate questionnaire. It should be noted that priority issues for GLEP include school choice and early literacy, while there are a number of education policy issues for which endorsed candidates may hold a variety of positions, including K-12 funding, Common Core State Standards, student assessments, etc.

GLEP to Make “Fair Funding” Presentation at State Board of Education
In a continuing process of inviting stakeholder groups to present ideas and recommendations on Michigan School Organization and Finance, GLEP will be making a presentation to the State Board of Education at 9:30 am on Tuesday, May 13 (Click here for a live stream).  We will be advocating our proposal to eliminate the nearly $1,000 per pupil equity funding gap by creating a uniform foundation grant of $8,250 per pupil, while still investing $4.6 billion in targeted funds for special purposes. Does this sound familiar? We hope so! At this particular meeting, we’ll be joined in making presentations by the following organizations: the Gretchen Dziadosz, MEA; Ray Telman, Middle Cities Education Association; and Steve Norton, Michigan Parents for Schools. Talk about your skunk at the family picnic!!

GLEP in the Media

Next Week

Monday, May 12

Tuesday, May 13

  • GLEP to make a funding presentation at the State Board of Education meeting

Wednesday, May 14

  • House Education Committee
  • Senate Education Committee, taking up SB 745-747 (concurrent enrollment).

Thursday, May 15

  • Revenue Estimating Conference in Lansing

Friday, May 16

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