This Week & Next (Oct 7, 2016)

Governor Snyder signs K-3 Reading bill into law
Yesterday, GLEP was pleased to participate in the official bill signing ceremony with Governor Snyder for HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 Reading bill. This bill, which goes into effect in the 2017-18 school year, will require annual screenings, parental notification and engagement, personalized Reading Improvement Plans, along with interventions and support for struggling readers. The state has allocated $100 million per year in new funds last year and this year to address early literacy and support the interventions included in the new law. GLEP was one of the original stakeholder supporters of the K-3 reading bill, and we’re excited about what this reform will mean in terms of improved academic performance for thousands of students in Michigan.

Supreme Court decision maintains private school funding
On Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court announced it was not going to issue an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of the $2.5 million in the 2017 School Aid Budget that reimburses private schools for the cost of compliance with state health and safety mandates. GLEP was among the many organizations that submitted amicus briefs supporting the argument that this funding doesn’t violate the constitution. By not issuing an advisory opinion, the court is saying this isn’t enough of a constitutional issue to earn their attention. The budget bill went into effect on October 1, and the private school funding will remain in effect unless overturned by a court. In Michigan, public funds are used to support private education in Pre-Kindergarten, K-12 (via shared services), and in colleges. GLEP believes this is another example of why the archaic “Blaine amendment” language should be removed from the state constitution.

How will Michigan define “school quality” under ESSA
The way we evaluate American schools is outdated. We too often identify “low-performing” schools by where students end up at the end of the year, while ignoring how much progress they made in that time. We’ve ignored students in certain grades and subjects, and we’ve been willfully blind to whether or not students are truly prepared for college or careers when they graduate high school. The window is now open for a smarter conversation about how to improve our nation’s schools. Confronted with a strong desire for better ways to measure school quality and for more nuanced responses to the results, Congress replaced the 13-year-old No Child Left Behind Act with a new law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires states to design their own accountability systems, and it gives them much more flexibility over how those systems are built and what consequences happen as a result. Click here to read more and click here to download the full report from Bellweather Education.

Most students aren’t on track for success. Why don’t they and their parents know it?
Earlier this year, a new organization called Learning Heroes released a survey with a startling finding: 90 percent of parents believe that their children are performing at “grade level” or higher in their schoolwork. Setting aside the debate over what “grade level” even means, by any reasonable definition many of these parents, if they are being frank with the pollsters and themselves, are sorely misinformed. In fact, only about a third of U.S. teenagers leave high school ready for credit-bearing college courses. Providing a more honest assessment of student performance was one of the goals of the Common Core initiative and the new tests created and adopted by states meant to align to the new, higher standards. Those tests are much tougher than they used to be, with failure rates in many states approaching those reported on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Yet on the heels of their first administration in most states in the spring of 2015, and the reporting of results in the months following, parents seem to be as ill-informed as ever. (The 2016 Education Next poll indicates that lower proficiency rates haven’t shaken parents’ view that their schools deserve As and Bs, either.) Why might that be? And what could policymakers or entrepreneurs do to change that?Click here to read more from Michael Petrilli, President of the Fordham Foundation.

Jeb Bush: Yes on Choice and Standards, No on Trump and Clinton
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush doesn’t believe that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be good for education as president. He’s not saying whom he’s voting for, however. During his keynote address at a midtown education policy event last week sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, a right-of-center think tank, Bush alluded to a question during an earlier panel about giving education advice if the next president happened to call. “For that candidate who becomes president of the United States, if they called me, I would say, ‘Go back to work with Congress to push as much power and money back into the hands of people … trust people that they love their children with their heart and soul, give them the tools to make informed decisions — and a thousand flowers will bloom,’” Bush said. Prior to the event, Bush spoke about his views on education policy, reiterating long-held positions in support of school choice, standards-based reform and the importance of accountability, and arguing that school choice is the best way to address racial and economic segregation. Click here to read the entire interview with The 74.

Deadline Approaching for NCSI Art Contest
The National Institute for Charter Schools is hosting the 2016 Charter Schools Art Contest, and this year they’re asking students in to illustrate what they’d like to be when they grow up. A scientist? A musician? An athlete? A doctor? President of the United States? Students are asked to create a picture of what they want to do when they’re older and send it to the NCSI for a chance to win $250! The contest is open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students can use crayons, pencils, paint, chalk—whatever material they want—to show where they see themselves in the future. Entries are being accepted until October 31 and winners will be announced the week of December 12. Prizes will be awarded for the first, second, and third place winners. A special prize will also be given to the whole classroom with the most and best entries. Click here for all of the contest details.

Education Reform News Clips


Next Week (no legislative session)

Monday, October 10

Tuesday, October 11

  • State Board of Education meeting in Lansing

Wednesday, October 12

Thursday, October 13

Friday, October 14


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