|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:
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!
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
“I love empowering parents” – interim House Education chair Tom McMillin (R-Rochester) on passing SB 619
I am furious and disgusted.
Furious that once again, the education budgets now under discussion continue to strangulate our community-governed, local public schools. Disgusted that the raft of policies enacted in the last year which erode public education and public schools are described by their supporters as somehow “empowering parents.” Orwell couldn’t have done better.
Let’s review the last year in legislation, shall we?
Well, it's back. Last Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Lisa Lyons introduced the new version of the "EAA bill" - that is, a bill which would make the Educational Achievement Authority a permanent state school district and expand its authority greatly. Rep. Lyons (R-Alto), who also chairs the House Education committee, then scheduled hearings on the bill (HB 4369) for the following day. As a result, those of us who hoped to speak up about the bill had less than 24 hours to read the 60 page document and draft our reactions.
But many of us, including MIPFS, did just that; I was fortunate to be able to actually testify on behalf of parent advocates across the state.
But why should all Michigan parents be concerned about the EAA? After all, it's only for those "failing" schools, right?
I think there are two important reasons.
- If you think this won't affect you, think again. Expanding the EAA is a central part of a larger effort to undermine local public schools, as we saw last fall.
- Most importantly, how can any of us stand by while state takeover, untested technology-driven "teaching" methods, and a laser-like focus on test scores are forced onto anybody's children?
FLASH - The pressure is working! Help stop the EAA "state takeover" bill in committee!
To all of you who have sent messages regarding HB 6004 - the EAA or "state takeover" bill: Thank You!!
For those of you who haven't yet had a chance to contact your State Representative, the time is NOW.
Call House Education Committee members TODAY!
Click below to read the latest alert!
Legislative leaders have committed to push through a long list of bills during this "lame duck" session, including two that could be devastating to public education as we know it.
I realize that sounds over-the-top, but take a look at the bills on the fast track:
- House Bill 6004 makes a new state-wide school district, the Education Achievement Authority, which can take over the "bottom 5%" of schools, and perhaps others - while the local district has no say. The EAA is free to hand these schools over to for-profit charter management companies, and in fact it can charter new schools anywhere in the state (whether the schools there are failing or not). The EAA would be run by a board appointed by the Governor, and even the elected State Board of Education would have no say in its work.
- House Bill 5923 would create a host of new forms of charter school, including selective admission schools, boarding schools, single-gender schools, and potential store-front schools operated by cultural organizations, businesses and other groups. Part of the mission given to the EAA in HB 6004 is to implement these provisions.
Find out more! Click below to read the full alert.
This message went out to our mailing list this morning. We’re reproducing it here for anyone who is not yet a subscriber to our list.
This newsletter focuses on the bills before the state House to make changes to the Michigan Merit Curriculum (the state’s high school graduation requirements). While the bills differ, they agree on eliminating the foreign language and arts requirements; they also reduce requirements in science, math, and social studies.
Where's your school funding?
State budget continues to dis-invest in education
Don't let it happen quietly! Our state lawmakers are about to pass a budget that keeps K-12 spending essentially flat, despite debilitating cuts over the last few years.
In case you aren’t on our mailing list, here is a copy of the May Legislative Update.
The topic is the state budget; included are an essay about the sad end of our state’s commitment to public education, links to recent articles on mipfs.org, an action alert on the state budget, and information about our work with the Michigan Organizing Collaborative on a statewide coalition of parent and community groups to support adequate school funding.