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Michigan Democrats introduce bill to place moratorium on opening of more charter schools

In the wake of the Detroit Free Press‘s explosive eight-day exposé on Michigan charter schools which revealed an astonishing lack of oversight, transparency, and actual performance in charters, Democrats have responded this week with a bill that would place a moratorium on opening any more charters. The legislation was introduced by state Representative Sarah Roberts. Rep. Robers and minority vice chairwoman of the House Education Committee, Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, revealed the new legislation at a press conference today.

The legislation has several components:

  • Require complete transparency, including financial disclosure by authorizing bodies, charter schools and educational management organizations and their subcontractors.
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Disgraced, recalled, homophobic former Education Comm. Chair Paul Scott now a lobbyist for anti-teacher group StudentsFirst

Former state House Representative Paul Scott earned a reputation during his time in office as one of the most anti-teacher legislators in Michigan. In his position as the Chair of the House Education Committee, he oversaw some of the most egregious attacks on teachers since Republicans swept into power following the 2010 election. It was bad enough that, eventually, Scott was recalled by voters in his district. The recall had a long and convoluted history with Scott attempting – unsuccessfully – to have the courts throw it out three times. In one of his attempts, he used the ludicrous rationale that he himself had created too much confusion for the recall to continue.…

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UPDATED: Mackinac Center is outraged – OUTRAGED! – that we spend more on teachers than on prisons

Most of the time, when I read stuff slithering out of the Mackinac Center’s propaganda arm Michigan Capitol Confidential, I just shrug it off with a Reaganesque, “there they go again”. But every once in a while their effluvium is so nonsensical that it makes me read and reread it again to make sure that it isn’t something coming from The Onion. One of their posts yesterday, titled “Michigan Now Spending More on Teacher Retiree Liabilities Than Prisons”, is in that category.

The thrust of the post, and I’m not kidding here, is that it is simply outrageous that, in Michigan, we’re spending more on teachers than on prisons.…

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More on the allegations of bullying of the NYC Parents Union by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown

Campbell Brown


Late last month I wrote about how former CNN anchor Campbell Brown had reportedly bullied the allies of the New York City Parents Union, thereby isolating them, and has attempted to take over their lawsuit regarding the laying off and firing of teachers in New York City.

The piece has gotten national attention and has people asking if Brown is doing this to raise her own personal profile rather than for any sincere concern for the students of NYC.

Yesterday, Gloria Romero, a former California legislator, penned an op-ed expanding on the story. She, too, questions Brown’s motives:

While writing this column, I received an email from Brown, denying there was any pressuring others to drop support of the Davids suit.…
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BREAKING: EAA Board to interview two fired superintendents to lead the Education Achievement Authority

This post has been updated to add details regarding the reason Timothy Chargois was fired as superintendent of Beaumont ISD in Texas.

When John Covington was hired to head up the Education Achievement Authority – Governor Rick Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit kids – he left behind a failed school district in Kansas City. Some Kansas City school board members claimed that Covington, the district’s superintendent at the time, had faked a conflict with the board president in order to renege on his contract. Shortly after he left, Kansas City Public Schools lost their accreditation.

With Covington now gone, resigned in disgrace from the EAA after poor performance of students in the “District for Misfit Schools” and lavish overspending by school administrators, EAA administrators are looking for a new leader.…

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Administrative law judge rules that MEA must allow teachers to leave union at any time

After losing in court countless times, the corporatist front group Mackinac Center has finally won a round. This week, an administrative law judge ruled that the Michigan Education Association (MEA) teachers union must end its decades-old policy of having an “opt-out month” and allow its members to leave at any time. The judge’s ruling is essentially a recommendation to the the Michigan Employment Relations Council (MERC) which has the final say on the matter.

Members of the Michigan Education Association should be able to resign from the union at any time, and not just during the month of August, an administrative law judge ruled this week.…
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New DGA ad slams Rick Snyder for cuts to education

For the past few weeks, I’ve been going out twice a week to knock doors for Pam Byrnes, the Democrat running to unseat Tim Walberg, the current Congressman for Michigan’s 7th District. Last week, while speaking to one woman, I asked her, “Can we count on your support for our Democratic candidates this year?” Her response was, “Of course. I’m a teacher.”

Last night, the scene repeated itself. I was speaking to a man on his doorstep and asked him if we could count on his support for our Democratic candidates. His response was nearly the same: “My wife is a teacher.

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Accountant-in-Chief Rick Snyder complains about not getting credit for Michigan’s mythical recovery, distorts the facts

Governor Snyder’s reelection campaign released a new ad today that is about as puzzling as his previous ads. He has abandoned his frogman suit and creepy leering at the camera, instead appearing in a t-shirt. He starts the ad by telling us that he’s an accountant as if that should give us comfort when it comes to his political and governmental leadership.

“We’re on the road to recovery for every Michigander,” Snyder tells us. “You might not feel it yet, but you will soon.”

Back in 2006, Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm told the audience for her State of the State Address that we would be “blown away” by Michigan’s recovery.…

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Education Achievement Authority apologizes for incredibly deceptive recruitment letters

Interim Education Achievement Authority Chancellor Veronica Conforme is off to a banging start. Just two and a half months after taking over from disgraced John Covington, Conforme oversaw the EAA’s sending out of deceptive letters recruiting students into the state’s district for poor-performing schools. The letters, masquerading as official student assignment notices, went to parents (and some non-parents!) in at least seven districts outside of the EAA. This includes the Detroit Public Schools with whom the EAA has a “Memorandum of Understanding” that prohibits this sort of student poaching from each others districts.

After revelations of the deceptive letters came out over the holiday weekend, Conforme has now apologized for them:

With the new academic year starting today, some parents in Detroit and neighboring suburbs were surprised over the weekend to receive letters saying their child had been assigned to the state reform district for low-performing schools.…
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Judge overseeing New York education reform lawsuit recuses himself, hearing to combine cases cancelled

NOTE: This story has been updated HERE.

On Saturday, I wrote about an apparent effort by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown to take over a lawsuit filed by the New York City Parents Union challenging some aspects of how teachers are either fired or laid off. Parents of the NYCPU told me that Brown appeared to be more interested in promoting her new career as the voice of “education reform” than she did supporting the parents who were trying to improve things.

After NYCPU parent Mona Davids filed a lawsuit against the State of New York in Staten Island, Brown filed a similar suit of her own in Albany.…

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