This Week & Next (Nov 11, 2016)

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Tuesday was a historic election for Michigan and the country, and below are just a few initial thoughts and highlights, from the perspective of education reform. And a few other stories we thought you’d be interested in reading.

Trump beats Clinton
In an upset predicted by nobody but the candidate, Republican Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States. From an education perspective, President-Elect Trump supports charter schools, school choice, vouchers, and reducing the federal role in public education. This is stark contrast to the fact that Hillary Clinton abandoned over 20 years of support for charter schools when she cow-towed to the national teachers’ unions to earn their endorsement earlier this year. Also, Trump’s appointee to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy is likely to be the deciding vote on controversial school choice cases coming before the nation’s highest court.

House Maintains GOP Majority – 49 of 53 GLEP-Endorsed Candidates Win
All 110 seats in the Michigan House of Representatives were up for grabs this week.  We are pleased that 49 of 53 candidates endorsed by GLEP were successful in their election bids, and the House of Representatives will enter the 2017-2018 legislation session with 63 seats held by the GOP and 47 seats by the Democrats (same as the current session). The “pro school choice” majority in the legislature was made stronger by these election results. Yesterday, members of the House selected their leadership for the 2017-2018 legislation session, including the following members: Rep. Tom Leonard (D-DeWitt), Speaker of the House; Rep. Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway Township), Majority Floor Leader; Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), Minority Leader; and Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills), Minority Floor Leader. Congratulations!!

A “new look” State Board of Education
Republicans Tom McMillin and Nikki Snyder defeated Democrats John Austin and Ishmael Ahmed to earn seats on the State Board of Education, which will now consist of 4 GOP and 4 Democrat members. This is significant as the SBE hires the State Superintendent and has a role in education policy in the state. Both McMillin and Snyder support school choice, and outgoing John Austin was a vibrant critic of school choice and charter schools. The other incumbent Democrat, Kathleen Strauss, a charter/choice critic, did not run for re-election this year. We look forward to working with ideologically balanced Board of Education.

New Leadership for DPSCD
While 63 people were on the ballot, including 10 current members of the DPS board, voters elected 8 new board members to lead the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), and they are: Angelique Peterson-Mayberry; Georgia Lemmons; Iris Taylor; Misha Stallworth; Sonya Mays; LaMar Lemmons (incumbent); Deborah Hunter-Harvill. We wish them the best of luck.

Kevin Chavous delivers keynote address at CMU annual conference
The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at CMU recently held their 2016 Annual Conference, and noted education reform leader Kevin Chavous was on hand to deliver a motivating and relevant address to participants. Click here to watch his keynote address.

MDE Announces Public Meetings on ESSA
MDE has announced a series of Feedback Forums designed to gather input from educators, advocates, parents, students, and the public regarding specific proposed components of ESSA, the nation’s new federal education law. The feedback gathered will inform Michigan’s final ESSA plan in which MDE is proposing changes to the state’s student assessment regimen as well as an overhaul of the state’s school accountability system. MDE will be submitting the state’s final plan to the U.S. Department of Education in early March 2017.

The November 29 kick-off event will be live streamed through MI Streamnet. On-site participants will also have the option to participate in small focus groups with presenters to provide more in-depth feedback on specific components of the plan. Scheduled events are as follows, and you can register online for any of these seven forums:

  • Nov 29, 2016: 9 am – 3 pm at Wayne RESA
  • Dec 01, 2016: 9 am – 12 pm, Saginaw ISD
  • Dec 01, 2016: 6 pm – 8 pm, Eastern UP ISD
  • Dec 02, 2016; 1 – 3 pm, Clare/Gladwin RESD
  • Dec 15, 2016: 9am – 12 pm, Ingham ISD
  • Dec 16, 2016: 9am – 11 am, Kent ISD
  • Dec 19, 2016: 1:30 – 3:30 pm, Jackson ISD

Education Reform News Clips

Next Week (no legislative session)

Monday, November 14

Tuesday, November 15

  • State Board of Education Meeting in Lansing

Wednesday, November 16

Thursday, November 17

Friday, November 18

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please consider making a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!

Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director