|Why will funding roads take money from schools?|
So, what's up with roads and schools?
First off, let me thank the hundreds of you who have already contacted your State Representatives about road funding and the threat to our schools. Your message is important and is getting through.
Many people have asked for a bit more information about this whole deal - and I certainly understand, because it's somewhat complicated. I'm reprinting our earlier action alert below, but let me sketch out what is happening on this issue:
We released this open letter on the occasion of US Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s visit to southeast Michigan.
Sec. Duncan visited two schools in Detroit, one of them an EAA school, and the Perry Child Development Center in Ypsilanti. Our letter points out the conflict between the educational values Sec. Duncan has espoused, and which are the foundation of Perry’s High/Scope model, and the urgent direction of education policy in Michigan.
Open Letter to US Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Dear Secretary Duncan,
On behalf of Michigan parents and others concerned about public education here, I would like to welcome you to our state. Michigan is home to some of the best ideas and programs in education as well as some of the most serious challenges our schools, and communities, face. We welcome your effort to learn more about the hopes we cherish and the obstacles we confront in our local efforts to educate our children.
Unfortunately, I fear that your tour may leave you with an incorrect impression of what is in fact happening in our state. The current direction of state policy is not to offer an excellent education to all children. Instead, key Michigan policy makers have adopted an extremely narrow and barren notion of “education” and have focused on how to deliver it at the lowest cost possible. These proposals take us in precisely the wrong direction.
Budgets as they emerged from each chamber are a mixed bag for schools
Both houses of the State Legislature passed their own versions of the K-12 School Aid budget this past week, and the political horse-trading can now begin. While the versions are quite similar, there are important differences that will affect how schools are funded and how much Michigan is able to expand its preschool programs targeted to low-income families. The total amount of proposed spending, however, does not exceed the Gov. Snyder's proposal, and in fact the Senate version comes in some $10 million lower than that.
Both versions of the budgets also include items that worry many supporters of local public education. Provisions requiring districts to permit and pay for students to take online courses from nearly any vendor are reminiscent of "Oxford report" proposals to "unbundle" public education, making local districts a thing of the past. Money earmarked for technology-driven student-centered instruction is seen as a "gift" to the financially troubled and controversial Education Achievement Authority, which the governor and legislative leaders hope to build into a state authority to take over "failing" schools.
As things stand, local school districts can expect a net cut of between $2 and $52 per pupil, though the details vary considerably. Final versions of the budget will not be ready until after the May consensus revenue estimation conference, when top state economists make tax revenue projections for the coming year.
Members of the State Board of Education have scheduled more of their Education Forums across Michigan. Those who have attended the earlier ones say that they are very interesting and well worth making the time to go. Check out the list to find an upcoming event near you!
Wednesday, April 24, Traverse City, 5:30-7:30 pm.
Education Forum, West Middle School, 3950 Silver Lake Road, Traverse City, MI. Sponsored by League of Women Voters of Grand Traverse Area, and Traverse City Area Public Schools, Contact: Donna Hornberger, dsh_44 (at) yahoo.com
Time to stop playing games with school funding - budget options range from bad to worse
Fibbing or Funding
The only game show where your school always gets less than your children deserve!
Just before going on their two week spring break, the legislature moved along two key pieces of education legislation.
Two critical bills moved forward in the state House over the last few weeks. They will both have important effects on our public schools, but in different ways:
- The House Appropriations subcommittee on School Aid passed a revised version of the Governor’s school aid budget proposal that maintains the same level of spending but actually increases the effective per-pupil cut for most districts.
- The House Education Committee reported out the EAA expansion bill on a mostly party-line vote, and the bill passed the full House just before the break after frantic lobbying by EAA supporters.
To make our legislative process more accessible to parents and concerned citizens, MIPFS is making video of important legislative hearings available online.
Latest: last hearings in House on EAA and committee vote
One obstacle for concerned parents trying to track what’s happening in the Legislature is that the process itself is not accessible to most people. Hearings are generally held during the work week, and access to video of the meetings is spotty at best. Now that the Legislature has ended its contract with Michigan Government TV, committee meetings are televised on a rotating basis and only available for live streaming from the House and Senate television services. Copies of meetings are not available for later viewing or download.
To partly remedy this, MIPFS will be video taping important committee hearings on education issues whenever possible. Details of the meetings and the available video segments will be available on this page.
After a welcome break over the holidays, our Legislature is back at work. Unfortunately, these days, that's not a good thing.
In this issue:
- School Aid Budget - Magical numbers from the CPA-in-chief
- EAA - We know how to turn schools around. Trust us.
- A la carte school funding proposal not so popular on the menu
- A parents' vision for public education
Testimony on the Fiscal 2014 School Aid Executive Budget proposal
Prepared for House Appropriations subcommittee on School Aid, 19 February 2013
Drawing on the data we used in an earlier article about the Governor’s budget proposal – Eleven percent increase in schools since 2009-10? Not so much. – MIPFS testified before the Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid earlier this week. Our purpose was to point out that the executive budget proposal did not represent an increase in funding available for school operations, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Funding levels were actually much lower than in previous periods, especially after taking inflation into account, despite the smaller number of pupils.
MIPFS called for a significant, real investment in preschool through secondary education so that our public schools could do the job we have asked of them.