This Week & Next (Sept 18, 2015)

Rep. Kelly’s Proposal for Education Reform in Detroit
In response to proposals from the Detroit Coalition to Save DPS and Governor Snyder to address the financial and academic condition of education in Detroit, State Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp) introduced an alternative proposal to address DPS on Wednesday. Kelly, Chair of the K-12 School Aid Subcommittee and member of the Education Committee, is a key legislator in the debate over education reform in the state. His proposal expands school choice and empowers parents, which is the opposite of what we’re heard about the Governor’s proposed financial bailout of DPS. Media coverage included this article from MLive.

House Ed Committee Takes More Testimony on K-3 Reading Bill
Yesterday, the House Education Committee held another lengthy hearing on HB 4822 (Price), the K-3 Reading bill.  Chairman Price presented a proposed H-2 substitute bill which included a number of changes requested by GOP and Democratic members of the Committee. Committee members are reviewing these changes and it’s likely there will be final testimony and a vote on the bill next Thursday, September 24.  After all, 10 bi-partisan members of the committee were original co-sponsors of the bill, and we expect them (and others) to support the bill and vote YES when given the opportunity. Check out GLEP’s “Got Literacy” landing page where you can learn more and download the current version HB 4822.

Congrats as NHA Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Congratulations to National Heritage Academies for celebrating their 20th year of educating students this year. With 81 schools serving over 50,000 students, NHA is one of the largest charter school management companies in the nation and operates some of the top-performing public schools in Michigan. The Grand Rapids Press ran a good article about NHA’s achievement recently. In the article, J.C. Huizenga, NHA Founder, says “We’ve gotten results, we’re financially strong and we’re academically superior.” Kudos to JC and NHA for reaching this milestone!!

Deficit Districts on the Decline, Reports Supt. Whiston
According to Supt. Whiston’s quarterly presentation to the House & Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Wednesday, the number of school districts in deficit is down from 56 to 38. This is good news for Michigan’s school children, and runs counter to the narrative being pushed by the traditional school lobby that Lansing is cutting education funding in an attempt to choke off school districts. In fact, over 95% of school districts are  NOT running at a deficit (a notable exception is DPS, see next story). Read more from the Detroit Free Press here.

DPS Borrows $121 Million, but will they pay it back?
The highest priority when you’re in a deep hole should be to stop digging, right?  Well, despite the fact that DPS has a $483 million operational debt, they continue to borrow short-term funds from the state and when they to repay the loans they’ve been converting them to long-term notes. They are stealing from future students to pay for past and present students. Last year DPS borrowed $100 million and couldn’t pay it back. Just last week DPS was approved to borrow another $121 million against their future school aid payments, and they clearly have no intention of paying it back within the terms of the loan. Adding insult to injury, creditworthy school districts borrow these SAN funds at 1% interest, while DPS is being socked with a whopping 5.75% interest rate on their loan.  I guess the interest rate doesn’t matter when you’re not planning to pay it back. You can read The Detroit News report here.

GLEP will be on Mackinac Island
Over 2,000 legislators and political activists will be participating in the 00th Annual Mackinac Leadership Conference this weekend. 6 GOP Presidential candidates (Bush, Walker, Cruz, Fiorina, Paul and Kasich) will be on hand to woo these hyper-motivated voters and taste some fudge. GLEP will be well represented on the Island, with Board Members Greg McNeilly and Jase Bolger; Executive Director Gary Naeyaert and Outreach Director Cody Bailey on the Island talking about key education reform issues such as K-3 Reading, A-F Letter Grading, Equitable Per-Pupil Funding, the future of DPS and MPSERS reforms. Can’t make it to the Island? Please click here to watch the main events online.

Ed Policy Rock Star Needed at the Mackinac Center
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is seeking a Director of Education Policy to help improve the quality of elementary and secondary education in Michigan. This full-time position involves researching, developing, and promoting reforms to education that put parents in charge, reduce bureaucracy; and expand educational choice, especially those in lower socioeconomic levels. Click here for more information or to apply for the position.

Education News Clips

Next Week

Monday, September 21

Tuesday September 22

Wednesday, September 23

  • Capitol Issues Forum with Chris Christoff at SBAM

Thursday, September 24

  • House Education Committee, Testimony/Vote on HB 4822 (K-3 Reading)

Friday, September 25

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