You are here

Action alert: so many bad bills, so little time


So many bad bills, so little time

Let's play "Legislative Whack-A-Mole™"!

We're in the legislative "lame duck" session, so that means it must be time to push a lot of bad ideas into law while Michigan voters are getting ready for the holidays. And we have a great assortment of bad ideas this year:

Bad Idea #1 - Let's pave the roads with our children's education:
Everyone agrees that our roads need help. The MI Senate passed a straight-up increase in the gas tax to pay for it. But in their continuing effort to duck responsibility for, well, anything, the state House leadership breathed new life into a discredited plan to pay for better roads with - you guessed it - money from schools. To the tune of $700 million per year - $500 per student. And then "We the People" would have to vote on a referendum to raise taxes just to keep the school funding we already have. Sweet!

This is utter nonsense and displays not courage but the exact opposite. Read news coverage here and here and then use our advocacy system to let your Representative know what you think of this plan (use this link: http://www.capwiz.com/miparentsforschools/issues/alert/?alertid=63974861).

Bad Idea #2 - Cut school funding and then take 'em over when they have budget problems: The "deficit early warning" bill package sailed through the Senate and now has to gain the approval of the House. It has not improved with age. Here is our write-up on the bills; please use our action alert here to contact the Governor and House members - http://www.capwiz.com/miparentsforschools/issues/alert/?alertid=63971481

Bad Idea #3 - Cut school funding and then force them to flunk 3rd graders who don't test well in reading: We do need to make sure that every child can read well, and as early as possible. But that's not always easy, and helping kids who struggle with reading can't be done on the cheap. Simply branding kids (and schools) as failures by flunking them after 3rd grade won't make the challenges go away. Even Florida, supposedly a success story for this flunking idea, only made real improvements by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in early reading intervention programs. The Michigan version? Not a dime.

Read our issue brief here, and then speak out on this proposal to your State Representative with this link: http://www.capwiz.com/miparentsforschools/issues/alert/?alertid=63971576!

Bad Idea #4 - Cut school funding, and then slap a simplistic letter grade on them to show how badly they're doing: In Lansing and in Washington, there is a fetish about judging schools on the basis of a handful of test scores. This proposal would make things worse by using narrow test scores to "grade" schools - on a curve, no less. Does a grade of "C" make you think "pretty decent, middle of the pack'? Me neither. And how about that big red "F" (they really want to be able to Fail schools) - does that make you think "schools struggling with a history of poverty, discrimination and instability"? Not exactly. But this bill would make sure that schools with the lowest test scores always got an F.

Trying to sum up a school's performance in one letter grade, based on scores from tests we haven't even picked yet, is not a solution. It's just shifting the blame, and rewarding schools that care about nothing but test scores. Read our issue brief here, and then speak out on this proposal to your State Representative by using this link: http://capwiz.com/miparentsforschools/issues/alert/?alertid=63971636!

(You may have noticed a common theme: cut school funding, and then make a fuss about how public schools can't "do their jobs." Like a good magician, make sure your audience is only looking at what you want them to see.)

What can you do? Pick the ones that disgust you the most and make your voice heard. If you're like me, that will be all of these bad ideas. The folks behind these bills are hoping no one is watching; they are hoping to keep us looking in the wrong direction. Let's show them that we see through their magic tricks. Take action today!

Steve Norton
MI Parents for Schools
Drupal theme by pixeljets.com D7 ver.1.1