Salted with Sharks

Gov Watch: Bills to Take the Public Out of Michigan Education?

In Breaking, Education, Politics, Uncategorized on December 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

By Emily Votruba

State legislators may soon vote on a set of bills that would make sweeping “emergency manager”–style changes to state public education, while making it easier to establish private and charter schools. The Benzie Democrats and Frankfort–Elberta Schools superintendent Tom Stobie have voiced their concern, as has Bloomfield Hills Schools superintendent Rob Glass, along with citizens such as Marvin Dunn, writing in the Lansing State Journal. The story broke out on the Daily Kos site November 28 first under the headline, “MICHIGAN: HOLY F*CKING SH*T. Spread the word on this NOW,” which was revised November 29 to “Michigan Public School System Being Destroyed. RIGHT NOW.” That post includes a phone script to aid those who wish to call their reps in opposition to the bills.

In his letter to reps Booher and Franz, published on the Benzie Dems website, Tom Stobie calls the bills “extremely troubling.”

House Bill 6004/Senate Bill 1358 (currently the same text) Would create a single, statewide school district under the Education Achievement Authority, similar to the Emergency Manager system just voted down in a referendum in the November election. The EAA would be managed by a governor-appointed agent to shut down underperforming schools. The EAA could sell or lease school districts’ unused buildings to charter or private schools without permission from local residents. The EAA would report directly to the governor rather than to the State Board of Education.

House Bill 5923 Allows for several new forms of charter and online schools, many of which can be created by the EAA. These schools may have selective enrollment/dis-enrollment policies—they don’t have to take all children in their neighborhood. The bill does not include any changes or increases in funding, but would draw from the same funding pool as community-governed public schools. Schools established under the EAA can be exempt from regular state education laws and requirements, such as the MEAP test.

Senate Bill 620 “The Parent Trigger” bill, passed by the Senate in June, now in Committee.  It allows a low-performing school to be changed to a so-called “conversion school” if a petition is signed by 51% of the teachers at the school and 51% of the parents/legal guardians of students in that school.

At post time, the bills are all with the House and Senate Education Committees.


Honorable Senator Darwin Booher State Capitol P.O. Box 30036 Lansing, MI 49909 Phone: 517-373-1725

Honorable Representative Ray Franz S-1385 House Office Building P.O. Box 30014 Lansing, MI 48909 Phone: 517-373-0825


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