June 2, 2016 (Lansing) — “Every child in Detroit is closer to having more opportunities for their future thanks to the Michigan House of Representatives, who were successful tonight in preserving choices and options for them and their families, said Gary Naeyaert, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP). “Despite efforts by some of the elites and big city bosses who believe they know what is best for children — it is a time-honored truth that parents and families are best at choosing educational opportunities that best meet the needs of their children,” Naeyaert continued.
“Tremendous credit goes to Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant), and key negotiators Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville) and Rep. Daniela Garcia (R-Holland), since their primary focus remained on delivering results for kids while retaining power for Detroit parents. Their efforts will make sure that innovation and educational opportunities will be available to students in the future. Detroit kids and parents deserve the same control over their own decisions that all other Michigan families have. Thanks to this compromise, their opportunities are protected,” Naeyaert continued.
Key features of the bills include eliminating $515 million in operational debt at Detroit Public Schools; providing $150 million in transition funding for the new school district; improving accountability through implementation of an A-F accountability system; serious intervention or closure for failing traditional and charter public schools, and mandatory national accreditation for any charter authorizer who sponsors schools in the city; and creation of a DPS-Charter Advisory Committee to make recommendations on school needs in the city.
“We look forward to swift passage of these bills in the State Senate, and to working with all education stakeholders, including the Advisory Committee, to implement these bold reforms in the very near future. We are also eager to work with Mayor Mike Duggan on issues of accountability for schools to benefit all kids, closures of schools that fail kids’ futures, and school locations for underserved areas through access to facilities and with Natasha Baker of the State School Reform Office to address chronically failing schools. The real work is before us, and we shouldn’t waste any time in getting it done,” Naeyaert concluded.
Bills in the package include HB 5383, 5384 and 5386; SB 711, 820 and 822.