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INTERVIEW: Erika Geiss – The beginning of a new political dynasty

This is the first in a series of conversations I had with four women who are running for the Michigan State House of Representatives. Not only is it important to me that we elect more women to government at ALL levels, it’s also important that you know them better as well. This is the first in that series.

There are political dynasty families and there are political dynasty families. Of course the Kennedys come to mind, and the Clintons. The Rockefellers as well as the, um, Bush family. But what about the Geiss family? Not sure about that one? Let me help you.…

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The Koch brothers in Michigan news. As in actually creating “the news”.

The Koch brothers are in the news a lot these days. Yeah, they are written about IN news stories, of course. But that’s not what I’m talking about. The Koch brothers are in the news by actually creating the news in a way that promotes their own corporatist ideology that anything that is good for private corporations is good. Period. Through their various front groups, they are infiltrating the newspapers through corporate-friendly articles and, more commonly, through op-eds written by people who work for one of their front groups.

And they’ve been busy right here in Michigan this week.

Media Matters points out that a Koch brothers-worshipping op-ed in the Midland Daily News was actually written by Timothy Nash who is basically a Koch employee:

An op-ed in Michigan’s Midland Daily News praising the billionaire Koch brothers and defending their relentless spending intended to influence elections failed to disclose the author’s significant connections to the Koch brothers.…
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INTERVIEW: Democratic State House candidate David Haener is a man for the people, and he means ALL of the people

With just 10 days until the election, most candidates are run down, tired, exhausted and fatigued. Yes, I realize they all have the same meaning, but as a former candidate, I can attest to the myriad of physical and emotional strains a candidate morphs into day after day, especially this close to the election and the end of this journey and with great hope that you will be on the winning end of the next journey.

For David Haener, Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 23rd House District (Gibraltar, Trenton, Woodhaven and the townships of Brownstown, Grosse Isle and Huron), a seat currently held by Republican Pat Sommerville, on a Thursday evening at 10 PM he should be all kinds of tired, but he is not.…

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Rick Snyder hasn’t taken $1 billion out of K-12 education, he’s taken BILLIONS out of K-12 education

I had a conversation with Ann Arbor-area state Representative Jeff Irwin recently and he brought up a point few people are discussing related to higher education. There’s been a lot of focus on how much money is in Gov. Snyder’s budget for education and Gov. Snyder wants everyone to believe that he has put MORE money into his education budget than his predecessor. There’s a tiny bit of room for debate if you completely ignore the impact of inflation and the fact that his increased spending has been largely to make sure teachers’ retirement pensions are stable.

But that’s not what Irwin was talking about.…

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Introducing “Big Picture”, a new visual project of Eclectablog. Up first: “Education – Who has Snyder been tough on?”

We’re very proud to announce a new project of Eclectablog called “Big Picture”. Big Picture is a subsite of Eclectablog that gives you a visual reframing of the issues and stories you care about. It’s a political story, told in words and pictures that gives you a broad view of important topics, presented in a compelling fashion.

While several of us had input into the project, it is primarily Anne’s creation. It’s her photos, her graphics, and her visual memes and she has been solely responsible for building the site.

The first few Big Pictures will be a recap of Gov.…

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UPDATED: The Education Achievement Authority takes its (dog-and-pony) show on the road to Ann Arbor

Tomorrow, October 23rd at 1:00, the Education Achievement Authority, Gov. Rick Snyder’s failed experiment with Detroit school children, will hold a board meeting at the downtown campus of Wayne County Community College. Following that, at 4:00 p.m., on the campus of the University of Michigan, a public forum will be held called “The Future of Education in Detroit – The Role of Charter Schools, Nonprofits, and the Education Achievement Authority” (flyer is HERE.) Along with the the co-director of the Education Policy Initiative and a charter school CEO, EAA interim Chancellor Veronica Conforme and Dan Varner, State Board of Education member and Chief Executive Officer of Excellent Schools Detroit, are two of the panelists.…

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Rick Snyder finally finds ANOTHER teacher who supports him: the Oakland County Republican Party Vice-Chair

Last month I posted a piece about a Rick Snyder finally finding a teacher who would support him in public. It turned out to be his neighbor at his million-dollar lake house and that post that has enjoyed over 27,000 views.

Well, Gov. Snyder has found a second teacher willing to do a commercial for him. This time it’s another retired teacher, Pam Williams. Who is Pam Williams? I’m glad you asked.

Pam Williams is the Vice-Chair for the Oakland County Republican Party, Precinct Delegate, and an Executive Board member of the 9th Congressional District. She’s a busy Republican, too:

In an essay begging the tea partiers not to splinter off from the GOP, she says Democrats are “trying to destroy our great county” by “incentivizing dependency, and advocating collective equality rather than individual merit”.…

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Democratic State House Rep. Jeff Irwin explains Gov. Snyder’s cuts to education on Let It Rip

This past weekend, Democratic State House Rep. Jeff Irwin from Ann Arbor debated Governor Snyder’s $1 billion in cuts to education funding with Republican Pete Lund on Fox News’ Let It Rip program. Lund used the argument that shoring up the teachers pension fund is “education funding”. Irwin pointed to the diversion of money from classrooms and teaching and higher education out of the School Aid Fund saying, “It’s not paying for books, it’s not paying for teachers.”

And he is exactly right. Ask any teacher or any school board member if they have more or less money to use in the classroom to teach children.…

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As predicted, one of the remaining two Education Achievement Authority Chancellor candidates drops out

Five days ago, writing about the lack of professionalism and transparency with the Education Achievement Authority’s Board of Directors, I wrote this:

[I]t looks very much like Veronica Conforme has already been chosen to remain in the Chancellor position and [the EAA Board is] simply drawing out the process until Superintendent Jenkins withdraws his name. He does, after all, have a job and being part of this process jeopardizes his ability to do it with the full support of the Sagninaw schools community.

Yesterday, that is exactly what happened:

One of the two remaining candidates in the running for chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority has withdrawn from the race.…
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Education Achievement Authority Board decries lack of public involvement that they make nearly impossible

With the departure of the disgraced former Chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority John Covington, the EAA Board has been searching for a replacement. In the meantime, they hired Veronica Conforme to take the reins (along with the $325,000/year salary) as the interim Chancellor. Conforme, who had been consulting with the EAA since January, was the chief operating officer, chief financial officer and deputy chief schools officer for the New York City Department of Education. Before assuming her new role, she was a finalist for superintendent of Orleans Parish public schools in Louisiana but withdrew her name for consideration.

Under Conforme’s “leadership”, the EAA sent out incredibly deceptive mailings to parents of students (and some non-parents!) in surrounding school districts with the intent to fool them into believing their kids had been assigned to EAA schools.…

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