Category: Education

Two Michigan for-profit charter schools being held accountable for breaking the law

Two Michigan for-profit charter schools being held accountable for breaking the law

Hallelujah

It’s no secret that the for-profit charter school industry is like the Wild West when it comes to being able to do just about anything they want. Michigan is one of the most permissive states in the country when it comes to oversight of charter schools and there are miscreants out there taking full advantage of that in order to maximize the flow of tax dollars directed into their bank accounts.

This week, however, a couple of them are finally being held accountable, a rare but important step.

First, there’s Detroit Community Schools, an Orwellian-named run by former criminals that was called out in a scathing floor speech by Democratic State Rep.

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Support Michigan teachers at #StopTheAppeals protest rallies across the state TOMORROW! (8/3/2016)

Support Michigan teachers at #StopTheAppeals protest rallies across the state TOMORROW! (8/3/2016)

From our fine friends at the Michigan Education Association (MEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT):

MEA and AFT Michigan members will gather together at 10 sites across the state tomorrow (Wednesday, August 3rd) to protest Gov. Rick Snyder’s frivolous appeal of a court ruling that school employees are owed 3% of their salary that the state illegally stole from their paychecks.

Snyder’s decision to appeal is just another example of the wrong priorities that Snyder and his allies have about public education.  School employees are fed up with Snyder’s constant disrespect and attacks on educators and public education.  It’s time to gather together and make our voices heard and to advocate for the public schools that Michigan students deserve.…

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Federal judge strikes down ban on straight-ticket voting option in Michigan

Federal judge strikes down ban on straight-ticket voting option in Michigan

Hallelujha!

In a surprising move, a federal judge in Detroit struck down a Republican law that bans having the option of voting a straight partisan ballot in Michigan. It’s a move sure to give Republicans a very powerful case of indigestion since the move was largely aimed at taking control of the last areas where they do not have control: the State Board of Education and University Boards of Regents and Trustees.

From reporting by The Detroit News:

A federal judge in Detroit has issued four preliminary injunctions against state election officials, prohibiting Michigan from enforcing a new law that bans straight-ticket voting.…

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Tea party charter school leader admits becoming a cyber school was simply a way to get chartered

Tea party charter school leader admits becoming a cyber school was simply a way to get chartered

I wrote my first piece about the Livingston Christian Academy, now called the Livingston Classical Academy (LCA), back in December of 2014. Since then, the group – which hopes to open a school with a curriculum steeped in tea party ideology and right-wing principles – was sent packing by Brighton schools. However, after shopping around, LCA ended up landing a charter as a cyber school by the Whitmore Lake school district last fall:

Having been spurned by other districts, the LCA decided to morph itself into a cyber charter school. Because the rules for cyber charters only require one class to be online, they plan to offer “sex education” online to qualify as a cyber charter and, according to the article, are “looking at a few places to build the school if a charter is obtained this time around”.…

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When Gov. Snyder and AG Schuette feud, innocent people get hurt. Big surprise, this time it’s teachers.

When Gov. Snyder and AG Schuette feud, innocent people get hurt. Big surprise, this time it’s teachers.

Three weeks ago, I wrote about a major legal victory for teachers in Michigan. For the second time, an Appeals Court judge ruled that a law requiring teachers to give up 3% of their paycheck to fund their retirement account was unconstitutional. Despite this, of course, there was always the possibility that the Snyder administration would appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court and the $550 million of teachers’ money that is being held in escrow would continue to sit there, gathering dust.

Yesterday, Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that he would not be appealing the case to the Supreme Court on behalf of the state.…

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Disgraced former EAA Chancellor Covington still trying to find a superintendent job

Disgraced former EAA Chancellor Covington still trying to find a superintendent job

NOTE: This post has been updated below.

Disgraced former Education Achievement Authority Chancellor John Covington is still trying to find a way to cash in on his time at Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s failed experiment on Detroit school children. Recall that he bailed out on Kansas City schools which lost their accreditation the month after he abruptly quit. Then he came to Detroit to run Snyder’s District for Wayward Schools and abruptly quit again after questionable spending practices came to light. There’s nothing in his past to point to that shows success yet he continues to be considered for superintendent jobs around the country.…

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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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