Tag: 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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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 House Republicans transcend racism and elevate their actions to dehumanize DPS schoolchildren

Michigan House Republicans transcend racism and elevate their actions to dehumanize DPS schoolchildren

I read with great interest Eclectablog founder and editor Chris Savage’s interview with American Federation of Teachers national president Randy Weingarten yesterday and it set in motion the vast array of anger am feeling about how the Michigan State House of Representatives have devolved into hate-filled racists who no longer attempt to hide their disdain for the Detroit Public Schools, the children that attend them and the state-appointed Emergency Managers who created the debt and decay that has ensued, not to mention the teachers, and that’s just for starters.

The Republican-controlled legislature have given in to the will of the lobbying group Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP).…

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I left the country for two weeks and the list of things that happened in Michigan is mind blowing

I left the country for two weeks and the list of things that happened in Michigan is mind blowing

The lack of blog posts over the past couple of weeks is due to the fact that I was in Canada for a week-long business trip two weeks ago that involved me working 8-10 hour shifts, grabbing a quick bite to eat on the fly, and then catching a few hours of sleep before heading back to the plant. I got home Friday night at around 9 p.m. and was back at the airport the next morning to fly to Ireland for a wedding/vacation.

Interestingly and unexpectedly, the day we arrived in Dublin was the 100-year anniversary of the “Easter Rising” that essentially created the nation of Ireland was we know it today.…

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The New Emergency Manager: Woman who got over $100K for school she never opened now imposing CEOs on struggling schools

The New Emergency Manager: Woman who got over $100K for school she never opened now imposing CEOs on struggling schools

I’ve been writing lately about the attempt by the Snyder administration to continue the undemocratic takeover of local schools facing financial difficulties without having to use an Emergency Manager. Thanks to the Flint water catastrophe where the residents’ drinking water was contaminated with lead thanks to decisions made by Emergency Managers, that phrase has become (pardon the pun) toxic. As I have written (HERE and HERE), the individual put in charge of taking over the school districts is now called a “CEO”. And the CEO has all sorts of power:

  • Assume the financial and academic authority over multiple schools;
  • Assume the role of the locally elected school board for those schools they have been assigned;
  • Control all funds attributable to pupils at the school without the consent of the locally elected board;
  • Permanently close a school without the consent of the locally elected board;
  • Sell closed school buildings without the consent of the locally elected board; and
  • Convert schools into charter schools without the consent of the locally elected board.
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