Notes from the 21st Century Education Listening Tour in Grand Rapids
Governor Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission held the first of three “Listening Tour” events in Grand Rapids last Thursday. GLEP was in attendance. 10 of the 25 members of the Education Commission were on hand to hear from an audience of roughly 100 education stakeholders. Popular topics raised included state standards, student testing, education funding and school choice. The Commission will be hosting two additional listening tour stops, and the dates/locations should be announced soon. But if you can’t make it to one of these events, you still have an opportunity to provide your input, as the Commission created a web page to gather your opinions about K-12 education. Stop by online and provide your own two cents, or a nickel!!
DPS Board candidates not raising much money
More than 60 candidates are running for seven seats on the new Detroit school board — and most are running their campaigns on a shoestring. A Chalkbeat review of state and county campaign finance records shows that just 15 candidates seeking seats on the crucial new board reported receiving campaign contributions as of Oct. 23, the most recent date for which numbers were available. That includes several candidates who dipped into their personal savings, spending thousands of their own dollars on their campaigns. The totals suggest that most candidates are going into election day without much of a chance to influence voters in a city-wide race that will define the future for a new district. Board members will be the first locally elected officials to control Detroit schools after years of state-appointed emergency managers — but their campaign spending suggests that most candidates have not had a chance to connect with the nearly 700,000 Detroiters they will represent. Click here to read more from Chalkbeat Detroit.
Andre Agassi’s Rocket Rise Academy thriving in D.C.
Twenty years ago, Andre Agassi was at the top of his game — a highly ranked tennis pro with an Olympic gold medal by the age of 26. But students and teachers at the Rocketship Rise Academy in Ward 8 recognize Mr. Agassi as the man who founded their charter school, which joins 117 other publicly funded, independently operated education centers in the District. After a rocky start in the face of opposition from D.C. Public Schools, charter schools have made a place for themselves in the city since 1996, attracting investment from an array of nonprofit groups to provide education to more than 41,000 students in all eight wards. This year, the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund partnered with Rocketship Education, a nonprofit network of elementary charter schools, to open its first school in the District of Columbia. The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation “was always focused on kids, but I ended up feeling that we were just sticking Band-Aids on real issues, and the only way to make real change was to educate,” the former tennis champion said. “I saw a show on ‘60 Minutes’ about a great charter school operator, and it inspired me to set about the herculean task of doing it in Las Vegas, my hometown.” Click here to read more from the Washington Times.
MDE seeking parent feedback for ESSA implementation
One key feature of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new federal education law, is a requirement to engage a broad range of stakeholders in developing state plans. Parents of children in PreK-12 schools are one population especially targeted for such feedback. While parents are invited to respond to any feedback request, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has now released an ESSA-related survey designed for parents. The survey asks questions specifically related to items relevant to Michigan’s ESSA plan and includes topics such as student assessment, school accountability measures, teacher and leader quality, and supports for struggling schools. Any Michigan parent or guardian with a child in grades PreK-12 qualifies to participate, and the survey will remain available through November 18, 2016. Parent organizations and school leaders are also encouraged to invite parents in their networks to participate. Please share the link and engage as many parent voices as possible in planning ESSA implementation for Michigan.
Education Reform News Clips
Next Week (no legislative session)
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Gary G. Naeyaert