This Week & Next (Oct 23, 2015)

GLEP Participates in National Ed Reform Summit
As you read this, GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert and Beth DeShone are still in Denver, Colorado participating in the 8thAnnual National Education Reform Summit, sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education. This gathering of 1,000 education reform advocates and legislative leaders from all over the country is an excelle
nt opportunity to share best practices and keep up with innovations in K-12 education. We’ve had some outstanding keynote addresses from Condoleezza Rice; Arthur Brooks; Dr. Sugata Mitra and Adam Braun. Click here to watch the keynote addresses and major sessions from the summit.

Governor Snyder Update Detroit Ed Reform Plan
On Monday, Governor Snyder presented an update to his plan to reform education in Detroit, which includes replacing DPS with a new public school district; Using state taxpayer funds to retire $515 million in DPS debt and provide $200 million in start-up funding for the new district; and rejection of a mandatory universal enrollment system for a voluntary, common enrollment process; and creation of a 3rd entity to address poor-performing schools that is under the Governor’s control (Detroit Education Commission; State Reform Office; Education Achievement Authority).  How many entities does one Governor need to fix failing schools?  Reaction to the Governor’s announcement was swift, and a few examples are below:

  • MiWeek host Christy McDonald, along with contributors Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press and Ingrid Jacques of the Detroit News, hosted Governor Snyder for a full 30 minutes about his updated proposal, its impact on Detroit students and what all this means to the state. Click here to watch this Detroit Public Television (DPTV) interview.
  • Jack Lessenberry from Michigan Public Radio says Snyder’s plan to fix Detroit Schools will fall on deaf legislative ears. Click here for his report.
  • The Detroit Free Press editorial board says the Governor’s plan is the best we’ve got.
  • Columnist Rochelle Riley in the Free Press wants the plan to focus on kids (novel idea!!).
  • Michael Patrick Sheils interviews Governor Snyder on The Big Show.

DPS (Finally) Makes a Single MPSERS Payment

Monthly payments from DPS to the Michigan Public Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) are scheduled at $750,000 per month.  The problem is DPS hasn’t made a payment in nearly a year, and they must have missed a bunch of payments in the past, since the district now owes MPSERS $100 million. In order to stop the MPSERS board from intercepting School Aid payments from the district to cover this debt, last week DPS finally made a single payment towards this debt and has promised to make good on this debt. Notwithstanding current obligations, however, it will take 12 years for DPS to clear this $100 million debt to the state. WOW!!  The DPS spokesperson says they continue to make regular payments to MPSERS — but only at DPS is one payment per year considered “regular” payments!  Try making your monthly mortgage or car payment just once a year and see how long that lasts.  And this is the district Governor Snyder is asking taxpayers to bail out?!? Click here to read The Detroit News story on this payment.  And don’t miss the Michigan Capitol Confidential story confirming that DPS Debt increases by $1 million every school day.

What To Do With Failing Schools?
Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), Chair of the Senate Education Committee, has announced a series of public hearings to examine the issue of academically failing schools in the state. Given the increased attention to financial viability of school districts (see DPS stories above), Sen. Pavlov intends to examine the academic performance and stability of our school districts, with a close examination of how we identify, support and intervene in the state’s chronically failing schools.  The first hearing will be at 8:30 am on Wednesday, November 4, and those invited to testify include State Superintendent Brian Whiston; Karen McPhee, Governor Snyder’s Education Advisor; Natasha Baker, State Reform Office; Vickie Markavitch, former Oakland ISD Superintendent; and Attorney Richard McLellan. Click here to read Sen. Pavlov’s press release.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, October 26

  • Failing Our Brightest Kids Webinar (Hoover Institution)

Tuesday, October 27

  • House Appropriations Subcommittee re: DPS Budget
  • Senate Education Committee
  • Michigan Coalition for High Student Standards mtg

Wednesday, October 28

  • Capitol Issues Forum re: Term Limits
  • 2015 NAEP Results released

Thursday, October 29

  • House Education Committee

Friday, October 30

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