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Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings

[NOTE: Edited to clarify that the DPS budget was created by the DPS Emergency Manager Jack Martin, not the School Board.]

When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:

  • DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
  • The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
  • 24 additional schools will close starting next year
  • Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
  • Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls

Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…

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UPDATED: Corporate-funded education reform group compares holding for-profit charter schools accountable to racist segregation


You know the corporate funders driving the push to dismantle and privatize as much of our public school system as they possibly can are freaking out when they do stuff like this tweet from the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP):

You also know they’ve stepped in it when they have to tweet out four explanatory tweets following the tweeted meme explaining themselves.

PRO TIP: If you have to explain your meme, especially if it takes four tweets to do so, you blew it and should just go ahead and delete the damn thing before too many people see just how out of touch you are.…

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Over a quarter of Michigan charter school authorizers put in “At-Risk of Suspension” status

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan announced today that 11 of the 40 charter school authorizers have been put in “At-Risk of Suspension” status after a damning investigative report by the Detroit Free Press recently reveal gross negligence, a lack of transparency, nepotism, and, most importantly, poor performance in many of Michigan’s charter schools. In Michigan, which has a quarter of the charter schools in the country, close to 80% of charter schools are for-profit which means they are essentially education corporations that profit from Michigan tax dollars.

The school authorizers who were placed in “At-Risk of Suspension” are:

  • Detroit Public Schools
  • Education Achievement Authority
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Ferris State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Highland Park Schools
  • Kellogg Community College
  • Lake Superior State University
  • Macomb Intermediate School District
  • Muskegon Heights Public Schools
  • Northern Michigan University

From a press release (pdf) from the office of State Superintendent Flanagan:

Eleven of Michigan’s 40 charter school authorizers were put At-Risk of Suspension by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan today, jeopardizing their ability to charter any future schools.…
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Proof that Eastern Michigan University’s EAA affiliation is hurting College of Education student teachers

The faculty and students of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education have been actively seeking to end the institution’s affiliation with the Education Achievement Authority, Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit students. Among the many horror stories coming out of the EAA, we learned this past week that they are literally experimenting with 100-student kindergarten classes.

I’m not kidding.

There has been a protest rally, a petition, and open letters which I have posted HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Each time, the students and faculty have been rebuffed by their Board of Regents.

Things have gotten so bad that nearly a dozen school districts refuse to accept EMU College of Education students as student teachers.…

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Disgraced former EAA chief cashes out with hefty severance package

Earlier this month, John Covington, the former head of Governor Rick Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit students – the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) – resigned to become a consultant (and, according to Covington, to take care of his mother.) As Jack Lessenberry explained it in his Metro Times titled “Detroit’s EAA ‘fatally flawed’” (a terrific piece worth reading in its entirety), his “resignation” was a face-saving move for everyone involved.

John Covington, the imperial head of Detroit’s fatally flawed Education Achievement Authority, got fired last week.

They’re all denying that, of course. The cover story is that suddenly, at the start of the week, he “resigned to care for his ailing mother,” which is touching, presuming he has one.

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For-profit charter school corporation’s Detroit media ad buy now has a price tag: several hundred thousand dollars

UPDATE: I hadn’t taken into account that the National Heritage Academies actually began their ad blitz at the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News on Sunday. This post has been updated to reflect that.

It’s Day Four of the explosive Detroit Free Press exposé of Michigan charter schools and also Day Four of the National Heritage Academies complete takover of the websites of Detroit’s two biggest newspapers with a monstrous ad buy. NHA is Michigan’s largest for-profit charter corporation. Like yesterday, when you open the webpages of the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News today, you’re greeted with an overwhelmingly large NHA banner ad:

Click for a larger version

If you have your browser set for normal view (I zoomed out to grab this screen shot), the ad takes up well over three-quarters of the window.…

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Michigan Education Association (MEA) launches site to educate members about Mackinac Center

The corporatist front group Mackinac Center is waging a no-holds barred, blatant attack to destroy teachers unions and they seem to have a particular hatred of the Michigan Education Association (MEA). The group, heavily funded by millionaires and billionaires like the Koch brothers and the DeVos family, is shameful in their approach. They have used the Teacher of the Year to promote their anti-union agenda. Earlier this month, the sent out emails to every teacher in over 50 districts encouraging them to leave their union. They followed that up with a mailer to teachers’ homes.

The MEA is fully aware of this campaign to destroy them and has been working behind the scenes to build a portal to educate their members about the Mackinac Center and, equally important, why an MEA membership is so important to them.…

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For-profit charter corporations now in full-blown panic mode over Detroit Free Press investigative reporting

As I wrote about this morning, Michigan’s largest for-profit charter school company, National Heritage Academies (NHA) responded to a blockbuster new investigative report being published at the Detroit Free Press this week by buying up all of the ad space on the front page of their website as well as the website of the Detroit News. It turns out that isn’t the only over-the-top response the charters have had. The Detroit Free Press clearly has them in full-out panic mode.

I have had reports of several candidates for the state legislature receiving the following email from the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), that attempts to refute the outstanding journalism by the Free Press.…

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UPDATED x2: As Detroit Free Press does week-long exposé of charter schools, National Heritage Academies buys up all its ad space

NOTE: This post has been updated HERE.

The Detroit Free Press is running a spectacular, week-long series on charter schools in Michigan and the woeful lack of oversight and accountability our state exercises when it comes to charters. While some states have outright bans on for-profit schools, 61% of Michigan charter schools are run by for-profit corporations and over a third are in the bottom 25% of academic performance.

One of the main players in the for-profit charter business is National Heritage Academies, Michigan’s largest for-profit school management company. In response to this incredible journalism by the Detroit Free Press, they have purchased pretty much all of the ad space on the front page of the Free Press website this morning.…

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More heartbreaking proof that the EAA is failing Detroit kids

This morning, I lit into MLive reporter Khalil AlHajal for his atrocious “journalism” regarding Governor Rick Snyder’s failed experiment on Detroit kids, the Education Achievement Authority. As I was publishing that post, another article about the EAA was published by Bridge Magazine which was also posted at MLive. In stark contrast to AlHajal’s piece, this one by Chastity Pratt Dawsey, titled “F is for frustrated – disorganization at Detroit EAA schools leaves students scrambling to graduate”, is exemplary.

Dawsey’s piece shows how high school students in the EAA are being thwarted in their efforts to graduate and get into college.…

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