Category: Education

New report shows Michigan massively underfunding education and the scandalous impact of that is all around us

New report shows Michigan massively underfunding education and the scandalous impact of that is all around us

Last year, as part of the deal over road funding that led to Proposal 1 on the May 2015 ballot, a school financing report was commissioned by the state to determine what it takes to educate a child in Michigan. This week, that report was released and it shows, as anyone who is paying attention to education in our state had already figured out, Michigan is woefully underfunding education.

Here are some of the “highlights” (lowlights?) drawn from reporting by the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News:

  • There is significantly more variation in per-pupil revenues and expenditures across districts than is desirable for an equitable school finance system.
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Will Gov. Snyder keep wasting taxpayer funds to screw teachers out of over a half-billion dollars? Sign the petition!

Will Gov. Snyder keep wasting taxpayer funds to screw teachers out of over a half-billion dollars? Sign the petition!

Late in the Granholm administration as Michigan’s economy was at its worst thanks to the Bush recession, the state legislature passed a law requiring teachers to give up 3% of their paycheck to fund their retirement account, something they had never had to do in the past. The America Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Michigan Education Association (MEA) sued the state on the basis that teachers were being asked to pay in advance for benefits they may never receive.

The teachers won round after round of court battles all the way up to the state Supreme Court in 2012 where the case languished on their docket for two years.…

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GUEST POST: Michigan House Republicans redefine the concept of “compromise” in legislation to save Detroit Schools

GUEST POST: Michigan House Republicans redefine the concept of “compromise” in legislation to save Detroit Schools

The following guest post was written by Jen Eyer, Vice President of Vanguard Public Affairs. Jen has spent many years in the world of journalism and most recently managed the newsroom for The Ann Arbor News, part of the MLive Media Group. You can read her full bio HERE.

Enjoy.
As Michiganders, we should all be concerned about the way House Republicans rammed through their “compromise” legislation revamping Detroit Public Schools.

Last week, it was Detroit. But pay attention because your city, your school district could be next.

In the business world our Republican leaders are so fond of, a compromise is a mutually agreeable solution between conflicting stakeholders.…

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Limiting charter schools’ ability to destroy public education seen as “morally wrong” by the guy who gave them their start

Limiting charter schools’ ability to destroy public education seen as “morally wrong” by the guy who gave them their start

Back in the early 90s, Michigan Gov. John Engler – the first of Michigan’s corporatist governors – oversaw the creation of the for-profit charter school industry in our state. Pitching it as “forcing schools to compete”, he signed legislation that opened the floodgates for charter schools to siphon away tax dollars intended to educate children into the coffers of private corporations. Two decades later, our state is dealing with the predictable (and predicted) outcome: the demise of public education in Michigan.

Engler also oversaw the creation of a one-size-fits-all method of school funding, one that ignores the fact that it costs more to educate some populations of kids than others due to things like poverty, crime, and aging, decrepit infrastructure.…

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VIDEO: Dem. Adam Zemke excoriates House GOP who put the profit statements of for-profit charters over Detroit kids

VIDEO: Dem. Adam Zemke excoriates House GOP who put the profit statements of for-profit charters over Detroit kids

“This package [of legislation] is a handout to criminals.” – Rep. Adam Zemke

Gary Naeyaert is a “member of Team Jesus” and the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). GLEP is Betsy DeVos’s project to destroy public schools in Michigan to make way for the proliferation of for-profit charter schools that siphon tax dollars into the bank accounts of charter school profiteers.

This past week, after Democrat Adam Zemke made a floor speech calling out Republicans for their blatantly anti-public education legislation to “rescue” Detroit Public Schools (DPS), Naeyaert tweeted “Well, I guess we can take Rep.…

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Michigan Republicans earn their sweet, sweet corporatist cash by screwing over Detroit school kids in 12-hour session

Michigan Republicans earn their sweet, sweet corporatist cash by screwing over Detroit school kids in 12-hour session

“Sit, dog. Sit. Good legislator! Have a check.”

NOTE: This post has been updated to clarify the changes that have been made with regard to collective bargaining contracts.

In the dog training world, dogs are often trained using delicious treats. When a dog does what it’s told to do, it gets a treat as a reward. Then, over time, the treats are withheld until the dog does what it’s told to do automatically. Only after the dog does its trick does it get its reward. Intermittent rewards are the key to training the dog to behave reliably.

This is exactly the modus operandi of legislative corporate benefactors like the DeVos family in Michigan.…

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TONIGHT: Rally to support teachers fired for speaking out about Detroit for-profit charter school

TONIGHT: Rally to support teachers fired for speaking out about Detroit for-profit charter school

In January of this year, eight teachers at the Universal Academy – a for-profit charter school in Detroit – were fired without being given a reason. However, as is well-documented in a Metro Times article titled, “Begging for answers: Eight teachers were just fired from a Detroit charter school without cause or notice”, six of the teachers had spoken at a school board meeting about problems they saw at the school. It seemed very clear to them that this is why they were being fired:

“I am struggling to understand how this incredibly bright, hard-working student who fully deserves a diploma from Universal Academy can be removed so suddenly from her education,” [teacher Asil] Yassine wrote in a Nov.…

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Disgraced former Education Achievement Authority Chancellor John Covington loses out on yet another job

Disgraced former Education Achievement Authority Chancellor John Covington loses out on yet another job

John Covington bailed on his position as the Chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority, Gov. Rick Snyder’s failed experiment on Detroit school kids, in June of 2014. He cashed out with a hefty severance package and then went job hunting. He was passed over for a superintendent position with the Richland One School District in South Carolina. Then he was denied a position with the Metro Nashville Public Schools, as well.

His third attempt was with the Youngstown City Schools’ Academic Distress Commission in Ohio. The Commission was set up as a state takeover of Youngstown schools, very much like Emergency Managers do in Michigan.…

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It’s time to stop pretending Michigan Republicans care about kids, “small government”, or “local control”

It’s time to stop pretending Michigan Republicans care about kids, “small government”, or “local control”

It’s time that we all stop pretending that Michigan Republicans care about students, the idea of smaller government, or that they believe that local control trumps state or federal government control. They SAY that these are bedrock beliefs of the Republican Party. These concepts are clearly spelled out in their platform. But we have all the evidence that we need to know that these are lies and that Michigan Republicans don’t give a damn about students and their education or about the keeping local governments in control of their destinies whenever possible.

Yesterday, we got examples of what are easily seen as Exhibits A and B in this argument.…

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Michigan GOP using anti-LGBTQ bigotry & fear as smokescreen for destroying Democratic control of state Board of Education

Michigan GOP using anti-LGBTQ bigotry & fear as smokescreen for destroying Democratic control of state Board of Education


State Board of Education President John Austin, photo by Anne C. Savage for Eclectablog

In December of last year, Rick Joseph, the 2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year and self-described “former homophobe”, approached State Board of Education president John Austin asking if he’d be interested in developing guidelines for Michigan school administrators when it comes to making the school environment safe and welcoming for LGBTQ students. That’s currently not the case in far too many places as the facts show:

  • 8.4% of Michigan students report as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • 12% of LGB students did not go to school in the past year, because they felt unsafe-twice the rate of heterosexual students
  • 46% of LGB students had grades that consisted mostly of C’s, D’s and F’s-twice the rate of heterosexual students
  • 29% have attempted suicide in the last year-4.5 times the rate of non-LGB students

For transgender students, it’s even worse and they face levels of violence and intimidation that surpass any other group.…

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In the face of unified opposition to the Michigan House Republican’s “plan” for Detroit schools, there is a better way

In the face of unified opposition to the Michigan House Republican’s “plan” for Detroit schools, there is a better way

Yesterday, Tony wrote about the racist impacts of Michigan House Republicans’ so-called plan to resolve the devastation caused by years of disinvestment in the Detroit Public Schools (DPS). I thought it would be worth a deeper look to reveal just how odious the plan is.

There are several elements that show that House Republicans have no intention of making DPS and the students in the system whole. First of all, there is insufficient funding for their “plan” to even work. Here’s what the Editorial Board at the Detroit Free Press had to say about it:

When is $500 million worth nothing?…

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