This Week & Next (Sept 12, 2014)

Why GLEP Gets Up in the Morning
Please CLICK HERE to access a short video message that speaks to why GLEP is engaged in the education revolution to help kids achieve more. If these inspCHOICEiring words from Corey Booker and Condoleezza Rice don’t get your motor started, then you need to get your motor checked! Please join us in the battle to improve opportunities and outcomes for all Michigan students!! Kudos to GLEP’s Cody Bailey for putting this video together.
Ann Arbor Board Member Wants MDE to Scrap Rainbow Report Card
In a letter to Supt. Flanagan, Ann Arbor school board member Andy Thomas urged the department to stop using its color-coded school ranking system. The Michigan Department of Education recently released its 2014 School Accountability Scorecards for the state’s public schools, which assign rainbow color-coded rankings to districts according to a variety of factors. But GLEP firmly believes the convoluted and complicated system lacks meaningful information that can help empower parents to really understand a school district’s performance. In the letter, Thomas asks Flanagan to get rid of the color-coded system, as he says it does more harm than good. Click here for the MLive story.

MDE Delays Decision on 11th Grade Assessment
MDE and the state Department of Technology Management and Budget (DTMB) are in the process of reviewing vendor bids for a three-year college entrance and work skills assessment contract that will begin in the spring of 2016. To allow DTMB and MDE to draw this state procurement process to completion, a one-year extension has been granted to the current contract with ACT (for the ACT and WorkKeys Assessments) for the Spring 2015.

Wall Street Journal Profiles Kevin Chavous, A Fighter for Kids
In an editorial titled “On the School Choice Barricades”, the Wall Street Journal recently profiled Kevin Chavous, one of the key education reform champions in the country. As executive counsel for tChavoushe American Federation of Children, Chavous leads a team fighting for kids in roughly a dozen states. From the interview: ‘It’s like a tale of two Americas on school choice,” says Chavous. There’s the status quo that includes the teachers unions and their allies. “And then there’s the other America”—those “who have to suffer every day because their kids aren’t getting the education they deserve.” The AFC board of directors is chaired by Betsy DeVos, GLEP’s founder. Click here to read the full article.

State Board of Ed Discusses School Finance; John Austin Calls for $8 Billion Tax Hike
Following months of formal presentations from various stakeholders, including GLEP, the State Board of Education spent considerable time discussing a draft proposal on revamping school financing at their monthly meeting on Tuesday. Beyond the typical ranting about how school choice has destabilized traditional school funding, there weren’t a lot of novel ideas presented. In a related interview, John Austin, SBE President, has begun advocating for an $8 billion tax increase so the state can “max out” on the amount it can collect from taxpayers under the Headlee Amendment.

Bridge Magazine calls FOUL on MEA ad re: Education
Even Bridge Magazine, a left-of-center publication, has called out the MEA with a “Flagrant Foul” for their grossly misleading online video attacking Governor Snyder and the Republicans on the issue of K-12 education funding. Our guess is that despite the fact they’ve been discredited, we’ll be seeing these messages right up until election day. Click here for the story.
UPDATE: Still No Superintendents Have Signed the “School Accountability Pledge”
MAPSA’s “School Accountability Pledge” is still available for signing by any traditional public school superintendent willing to operate under same accountability, transparency and oversight laws as Michigan’s charter public schools. We keep waiting for just one superintendent to sign it, and when they do we’ll let you know right away!

Education Reform News Clips

Next Week

Monday, September 15

Tuesday, September 16

Wednesday, September 17

  • House Education Committee will be taking up HB 5793 (Lyons) to clarify the foreign language requirement in the Michigan Merit Curriculum and HB 5669 (VerHuelen), to allow non-public school teachers to receive credit for taking professional development classes.
  • Senate Education Committee will have a discussion of updates to the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.

Thursday, September 18

  • Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee will be taking testimony on SB 722-728 (Jansen), bills to reform MPSERS.

Friday, September 19

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