This Week & Next (Dec 16, 2016)

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Support Builds for Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary
As you likely know, Betsy DeVos has been nominated to serve as the next U.S. Secretary of Education.  Ms. DeVos has devoted 28 years of passionate advocacy to help improve educational outcomes for all children. Despite efforts of the far left, the teachers’ unions and the defenders of the status quo to paint Betsy DeVos in a negative light, the following are a few of the positive media stories and endorsements she has received:

Legislature winds down for the session
The 2015-16 legislative session has come to an end. While there weren’t any key education bills passed in the wee hours of the “lame-duck” session, we strongly agree with The Detroit News that teacher pension reform must be a high priority when the 2017-18 legislative session begins next month. GLEP will continue to advocate that we keep our promises to retired teachers while putting the state retirement system on sound financial footing for the future.

MDE Delays List of Failing Schools (Again)
State law, per the DPS rescue legislation, requires any district or charter schools that have been on the “Bottom 5%” list for 2014, 2015 & 2016 must be closed by the state. The 2016 list of “Bottom 5%” performing schools is also required under state law to be published no later than September 1, 2016. It didn’t happen. Then the 2016 list was expected to be published by November 1, 2016. That didn’t happen either.  Then the MDE said they’d d be releasing the 2016 list in “mid-December.” That didn’t happen, too. Just the other day, MDE announced they’re planning to release the 2016 “Top to Bottom” ranking sometime during the third week of January 2017, and the State Reform Office is planning to simultaneously announce what interventions, including school closure, they will be recommended for these chronically failing schools. As a refresher, here is the list of 54 schools across the state that were named to the “Bottom 5%” list in 2014 and 2015. GLEP will be advocating that any schools on this particular list that are also named to the 2016 list should be closed or subject to intensive intervention. Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath, for these announcements from the state.

DPS Drops Literacy Support for 1st Graders
So the state sends over $700 million to bail-out the Detroit Public Schools, and now the district is flush with cash but still can’t get its act together and fill teaching vacancies. Think it doesn’t matter?  Well, yesterday DPS announced it was cutting early literacy support for first graders because they need to reassign these 23 teachers to fill other vacancies in the district. We’re not sure what is more frustrating, the fact they’re not going to provide any help to first graders who need it, or that they’ve been providing help for 20 years and still less than 10% of DPS students can read at grade level.  Can anyone please remind me WHY we bailed out this district?!?!

National School Choice Week Event in Detroit on January 27, 2017
Mark your calendars, folks!! GLEP and our friends at the Mackinac Center, MAPSA and others are hosting a major event during National School Choice Week. Our event, scheduled for 1:30 – 2:30 pm on Friday, January 27, 2017 at the Wright Museum for African American History in Detroit, will feature keynote speaker Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Best-Selling Author, and Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC. You will not want to miss this free event, so click here to RSVP.  Hope to see you there!!

Education Reform News Clips

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

P.S. This will be the final edition of “This Week & Next” for 2016, and we’ll return in January to bring you all of the highlights and happenings in education reform in Michigan. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!!