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McMillin, VanRaaphorst: 2 Different Approaches

We are in the “political silly season” with all kinds of untruths being said to distort the candidates' positions. These distracters are looking for sheep to follow them by distorting the facts.

Locally we are in the heart of the “political silly season” with all kinds of untruths being said to distort the positions of each of the candidates.  Sound bites are used to only cover a small piece of the issue that are targeted tested snippets designed to inflame and cause confusion.

The strategy of Distract, Divert, Distort, Discredit and Demonize by attacking on fake issues is in full swing.  This strategy adds no value, it solves no problems, and it causes more chaos.  The smart person sees this approach for what it is, calls it a distraction and focuses back on the real issue.

In this particular race we have seen many personal attacks on McMillin which distract from the real issues at hand.  They are taking his personal Christian beliefs and making up issues around them, to distract from the important issues that we face.  The most important issue in Michigan that needs to be solved is the economy, as the famous saying goes “it’s the economy stupid.”  A focus on creating an environment that will attract business to Michigan and let the economy grow will bring back prosperity to all who are willing to work for a living.

Here are the 2 plans these candidates have presented to the public for you to review and assess:

Representative Tom McMillin www.taxpayersfortom.com/agenda.html

go to “Agenda” and review each of the issues listed

Issue                     Detailed Subjects and Plan

Jobs                      eliminated MBT, reformed unemployment, corporate handouts, reduce regulations

Freedom              indefinite detention, free speech, defense reform, warrantless tracking, SWAT team

Transparency      salary & benefits, government contracts, Detroit water, pensions, metrics

Other Issues        spending, accountability, healthcare, marriage, life, part time legislature,

                           local control of education, available to constituents

There are no comments or references to his opponent.  The plan is a series of accomplishments and bills introduced to be implemented to address specific issues individually.

In a recent Rochester Hills paper article McMillin outlined his top goals:

  1. Continue to make Michigan a better place to do business
  2. Focus on job creation
  3. Reduce other business taxes
  4. Reduce personal income tax rates for everyone
  5. Utilize his CPA to push for transparency in government spending
  6. Ensure government spending is adding value
  7. Good accountability metrics to ensure a return on the tax payers money

Candidate Joanna VanRaaphorst www.joannaforrochester.com 

go to “Platform” and review each of the issues listed

Issue                     Detailed Subjects and Plan

Business & Jobs    local & state economy, streamline government, business friendly, work together

Public Schools       public schools, funding, investing in education

Less Government  local control, right to self govern, safety, infrastructure

There are no comments or references to her opponent.  The plan is a series of statements with no details or action plans; it is a series of initiatives.

In a recent Rochester Hills paper article VanRaaphorst outlined her top goals:

  1. Protect our local public schools
  2. Demand charter and cyber schools operate with the same rules
  3. Job creation and infrastructure
  4. Brand Michigan as a progressive innovative state with well educated employees
  5. Simplify the tax code for small business
  6. Repeal the tax on seniors
  7. Address prison funding
  8. Too many incarcerated non-violent citizens


The Challenge:

Spend time doing your homework, ½ on McMillin’s plan and another ½ on VanRaaphorst’s plan; study both of them with an open mind.  This is not a Republican or Democratic vote; this is a vote on a candidate for our Representative that will set the course of our State at a real pivotal point in our history.  I believe it is worth the time, I challenge you to do the research.  Ignore the noise, become an informed voter and make your decision based on your personal beliefs and make sure you trust the candidate’s promised results based on their past record and credentials.

Remember the spin doctors on both sides in this heated debate are counting on the voter to listen to their spin and not the facts.  Do not be a sheep and fall into the trap, research the statements for truth and ensure you understand the total picture, not just the sound bites.

In your vote for Representative you are choosing one of these 2 plans.  Which one fits your personal belief and value system?

I am choosing the one that has been moving Michigan in the right direction and focused on the real issue at hand, the economy.  Obviously schools are important, but choice in schools is freedom.  This allows parents to choose the right path for their child; after all it is their money being spent!

What is your choice and why?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Scot Beaton November 03, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Mike... It would have been MDOT that purchased the land to build the freeway ramps to nowhere. http://www.freep.com/article/20120417/BUSINESS06/204170331/Controversial-ramp-along-Ambassador-Bridge-being-removed Mike... still looking who MDOT bought the land from -- but this hwy blunder is now at more cost to the taxpayer is being corrected. .................................. New International Trade Crossing 
Michigan's Bridge to the Future 
Canada and the US Need This Bridge Now: Get the Facts 
Posted on November 2, 2012 by Admin "The rationale for this bridge is clear. Over Eight million jobs in the US, including 237,100 jobs in Michigan, depend on trade and investment with Canada. Much of this relies on the Ambassador Bridge, which saw more than $120 billion worth of trade cross over it in 2011. This is fully one quarter of Canada-US trade in goods, making it the most important bridge crossing in the world. However, the Ambassador Bridge is 83 years old, is too narrow for today’s needs and lacks adequate customs plazas. In addition, access to the bridge is located in downtown Windsor, which requires trucks to travel through residential streets and 16 traffic lights to reach the on-ramp. Any plans to expand the current bridge do not therefore solve the larger congestion and delay problems." Yours sincerely, Gary Doer Ambassador of Canada to the United States of America more info at http://buildthedricnow.com/
Mike Reno November 03, 2012 at 05:27 PM
It looks like Tom received contributions from those who operate McDonald's franchises too. As much as he did from the Moroun's. I just knew there was something sinister (radical?) about Ronald.
Mike Reno November 03, 2012 at 05:32 PM
OMG... the gall of Tom McMillin. How dare that carpetbagger move into our community. Of course, he could not possibly have moved here because he likes the community, or found a great house, or could finally afford to live in Rochester Hills. I'm sure he decided to move here so that he could toss his hat into a crowded field of popular candidates and run in a very expensive and challenging primary. Yeah... that's it.
Mike Reno November 03, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Tom spearheaded some great transparency legislation, such as requiring all schools to post budgets and union contracts online. Of course, that is not popular among those who would rather see that information stay in the shadows. They can't be too overt in their protests over this, so they create other straw man issues to float against him.
Scot Beaton November 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Daryl... Thanks for your response -- thought for a moment our verbal sparring was coming to an end in the Rochester Patch. Ever since you wrote your OP-EDs in the Patch that The City of Rochester Hills was run like Detroit and Pontiac and was going out of business... and our Older Persons' Commission (OPC) -- I have felt quite obligated to through your opinion under the bus. Via... in my personal emails, phone calls; even hand shakes up at City Hall, (OPC)... hundreds have read our our verbal sparring. The feed back of all those great residents and employees is the only one who looks 'foolish' in the Rochester Patch is you. Daryl... keep trying someday you actually might make some sense somewhere. LOL
Jennifer November 03, 2012 at 05:57 PM
So Reno is defending Matty Maroun, Tom McMillin and now Janice Daniels? Who's up next? Bernie Madoff?
Renee November 03, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Mike Reno says "Dorothy, you must be the bi product of public education given your lack of understanding". If you went to public schools, Tom McMillin and Mike Reno don't want your vote, evidently.
Mike Reno November 03, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Dorothy is obnoxious, but at least she attempts to make points. These sort of juvenile comments, on the other hand, add nothing to the discussion. You seem to fixate more on personalities, rather than positions or philosophies. You need to try to critical thinking... instead of being critical of people. I could care less about Maroun and his bridge... but I am more concerned about the government overstepping what should be very limited intrusion into the private sector. And I am certainly not going to defend Daniels, but the issue of government attempting to blackmail people into voting for higher taxes is something that should be of concern to all of us. At least all of us that pay taxes.
Mike Reno November 03, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Not sure how your twisted logic arrived at that conclusion... but two thoughts. 1) I am not running for anything, and I don't speak for Tom. 2) If you are going to quote me... please don't introduce spelling errors or typos that I did not make."
Chris Gill November 03, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Mike you made a snide comment about public education's one size fits all approach. I think I know what you are saying, but I do not want to assume anything. What would you like to see that is some how different in RCS that provides you with more choices as a parent? I am not being snarky here, I really would like to know.
Mike Reno November 03, 2012 at 06:52 PM
OMG... where does one start? I would like to see the districts create tracks that allow the students to proceed a faster pace if they are capable. Right now the classes have a single speed. I would like some say in teacher selection. It is not hard to identify those that will challenge kids... and those who are coasting. I don't want my child stuck in a classroom where the teacher is coasting. Public schools bristle at the suggestion of changing because of teacher reputation. I would like a school that offers a longer school year. I would prefer a more rigorous ELA curriculum. Stronger focus on STEM. Project-based learning. Choices improve a bit in secondary, but there is incredibly limited opportunities in elementary to find ways to challenge children who learn quickly. The list could go on. The point isn't so much about these specific items... it is about how the school responds to requests... the schools inability to be flexible... in general, they are not "customer centric" Of course, for every parent who complains about school being too easy, there are probably TWO parents who complain about it being too hard. Schools probably try to waddle in the middle, and in general have a single-solution approach. They try to put lipstick on it with phrases like "differentiation", which is nothing more than window dressing.
Mike Reno November 03, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I don't want to paint with too broad of a brush, because some administrators are receptive to helping. But sometimes their hands are tied. And some teachers will do what they can. But they are limited in what they can do because the schools lump all of the kids together by age, rather than ability. With such a broad range of learning skills in these children, it is unrealistic to expect reasonable pacing.
Chris Gill November 03, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Mike I resisted slapping you down in the most unkind of ways when you falsely accused me of something at the top of this thread. I even apologized to you since you (falsely) believed I was calling you despicable. Are you defending Mr. Happening's sweeping generalizations and attacks on public educators when you deem me sophmoric? Or are his ill bred manners ok because he thinks like you do? Shall I take a few potshots at some of your posts that are snide, sarcastic, immature and rude? Besides most people who know methink I'm at least a junior. ;-)
Chris Gill November 04, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Mike I am going to try to address your concerns in order, but I will probably have to do this in a few posts. I am fairly certain that parents have the right to requests that their student test out of individual subject classes in order to accelerate. I am know you can do this in high school, and I am almost 100% sure you can do this in the middle school years. Just ask and see what they say. My understanding is they cannot deny your child that opportunity. In elementary years the more common practice is to just skip whole grades if a child is needing across the board acceleration. I am with you on parent request for teacher selection. We allow it in my school (a middle school) but the caveat is we team so you get all four core if there is one teacher you want on that team. We will not cross team a student, it makes it difficult for assessment scheduling and such. I do think people in public schools bristle a bit at this, but let me give you the other side of the coin. I get phone calls requesting "anyone but THAT teacher" for their child. Fill in the blank with "that teacher's" name, it can change with every phone call. Unfortunately sometimes the parent rumor mill gets started and unfairly pegs a teacher as: mean, incompetent, too hard, etc. When it is truly one person's perception and then the mob effect takes over because another parent's kid got a "C" in that teachers class and their kid is an "all A student" and on and on it goes. (PART 1)
Chris Gill November 04, 2012 at 11:31 AM
(PART 2)Really? Your child is going to get all A's the rest of their life? Well OK then, how do I as a counselor answer that one? What I do know is some of our best, brightest, most competent, bend over backward to help a kid who is struggling for any reason teachers get labeled unfairly because they have high standards in their class. The most important consideration for teacher selection in my opinion is learning style, and for many boys I am AOK with trying to get more male teachers in their schedule. I am not opposed to a longer school year, but you will have to fund the schools better because costs will increase, and it's not just for salaries. However, I am curious to know why you think we need a longer school year. The new common core standards are very rigorous for grammar and writing, I love them. My kid, not so much, lol. However, he wants to be a writer, so suck it up buttercup. My school is focusing on STEM and project base learning, but not at the expense of the arts or PE. Another new thing that can help all students, but was designed to benefit at risk kids who have no support at home is called Flip Teaching. Flip teaching needs a lot of technology, so there go your rising costs again.
Chris Gill November 04, 2012 at 11:43 AM
(PART 3) So does STEM. However, not all children can or want to be engineers or IT specialists or in health care. We also need to start preparing kids for those high skilled, do not need a four year degree jobs that are going unfilled. Our vocational campuses need more funding to provide these programs, and parents would be doing their children a disservice if they scoff at a vocational/college prep blend of high school classes for their child. Not every kid needs a four year degree to be successfully and gainfully employed. I know that's just blasphemy to some parents, but it's true. "Choices improve a bit in secondary, but there is incredibly limited opportunities in elementary to find ways to challenge children who learn quickly." I haven't had my child in RCS for almost six years, so I cannot offer a thought on this comment that is particular to RCS. However, a G & T program would be a solution. They are very expensive to run just starting with even the assessment process. Then you have to have more teachers, and probably one magnet school to house these learners. It can be in an existing building, but they probably would be most efficiently run if all the learners go to one location. There are districts in MI that still offer G & T programs. My sister chose not to have her son assessed at the end of 5th grade for their G & T program because she didn't want to rock his world with changing friends, school buildings, etc. right as he was entering middle school.
Chris Gill November 04, 2012 at 11:58 AM
(PART 4) I really appreciate the last part of your comments because you have nailed it right on the head. In public education we have so may people to please, I feel very sorry for my bosses on a daily basis. Would I want to be a public school administrator in MI right now? Not on your life. I do take a customer service approach to my work because I have a public contact job as a counselor. My philosophy is (stolen from my mentor and he stole it from someone else) "People do not care what you know until they know you care." Sometimes I can make parents happy, and sometimes I cannot. Sometimes my hands are not tied, but a parent is being unrealistic or they are asking me to help them do something that is not good for their child. I am a child advocate first and a parent pleaser second. I have to weigh everything and then make the best recommendation for the learner. Usually it works out OK, parents just need someone on their side to listen and help them sort it all out. More counselors in public schools would be a good start, but with funding cuts we are among the first to go. The recommended counselor/learner ratio by the research team lead by Dr. Trish Hatch is one counselor for every 250 students K-12. We are far from that in MI. However, she was able to convince Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of this need and he helped fund (I think he gave them 5 million) more school counselor positions for CA public schools. Is Snyder willing to do the same?
Daryl Patrishkoff November 04, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Chris and Mike, I am very impressed with this latest dialog you 2 are having. Both of you have real experience in this subject and are intelligently posting your opinion with some rationale. In reading these comments I have learned quite a bit about both sides of the debate and I am sure I am not the only one who read these that learned some insight into the subject It is also clear both of you agreed on some issues and the more the intelligent conversation continues, you will probably find more common ground. The spin doctors with targeted tag lines that confuse are afraid of a real conversation about all elements of the subject; it does not fit their hidden agenda. This was my whole idea of the original post on having a civil conversation with people stating their positions in a positive constructive way. In this political "silly season" the attacks have continued that add no value to the person who wants to be an informed voter by doing their due diligence and listening to an intelligent debate to help them decide how to cast their vote. Thanks for the comments and I know I have learned things reading them.
Bruce Fealk November 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Daryl, I'm looking forward to your statement that you will be voting for Joanna, if you haven't voted already.
Chris Gill November 04, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I did, I did! That's one (well actually two from my household) via absentee ballot! I was proud to cast my vote for Joanna because I believe I was a much more informed voter this time around.
Joshua Raymond November 04, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Chris, I wanted to address some of the G/T comments since that is my area of expertise. While you can get your children partially accelerated, the trickier part is the knowledge gaps. My children have been tested for partial acceleration in math. Every subject they knew they answered 100% correctly. However, there were concepts like area that we hadn't taught them that they missed. The district requires 90% for accelerating and they scored 75-80%, which would probably be acceptable for an end-of-the-year score to advance them to the next grade. So what did the school do with a student who knows 3/4s of the year's math curriculum? Put her right back in the regular math class! We did not believe that to be acceptable, but got nowhere with the teacher and principal. After switching schools, we are seeing better and hoping for better. One suggestion I gave to the school board and administration was to have an acceleration class during their summer learning program. Parents pay for this program, so it doesn't cost the district money. This could be used to fill knowledge gaps and accelerate learners so they don't have the majority of their year repeated. It's a win for everyone. However, just skipping grades often isn't enough. I was accelerated two full years in math and it was still too easy because the pace was too slow for me. Consequently, I never learned to study, work hard, or overcome obstacles. I'm sure you would agree that these are vital skills.
Joshua Raymond November 04, 2012 at 01:07 PM
While I agree that some gifted programs can be expensive, some are not. Grosse Pointe Public Schools has a great example. Their gifted magnet program saves the district money. First, the identification they use is part of their standard testing for every student. Second, they have the same number of teachers since the students are just shifted around. Third, they have attracted students back from private and parochial schools with this program. Their superintendent had members of RCS administration and three members of Rochester SAGE, including Mike and me, to view their gifted magnet program. What we saw was amazing! The kids were far beyond similar kids in RCS. Very importantly, they were comfortable being gifted. This is so rare in schools! Dr. Harwood is very willing to present to the RCS Board how it saves their district money if they are willing to invite him. There are other free methods such as ability grouping and cluster grouping that can help with accelerating gifted learners, but most schools in RCS don't use them. The district policy when there are gifted learners in a grade appears to be to put them in separate classrooms. Is it easier for four teachers to differentiate for one gifted student each or one teacher to differentiate for four students similar in level? The district policy doesn't seem to make sense. That is another thing I would like to see changed.
Mike Reno November 04, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Chris, skipping classes by testing out is not an effective answer, yet it is often the only answer offered by schools. A child might not be able to test out of geometry because they have never been exposed to it. But they might be able to learn it in a semester, rather than a full year. Pacing is the problem. They feed these kids at the same pace, rather than adapting to their learning abilities. But again, the bigger problem is the response to parents, and the options available to parents. Schools will claim to have a program... Like "testing out". And if you as a parent are looking for other options... Too bad. Take it, or leave it. Oh, and I'd you choose to leave it... You are free to take your child, but leave the tax dollars allocated for your child.
Joshua Raymond November 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Even if some students are more expensive to educate, that doesn't negate the district's responsibility toward them. We don't do that with struggling learners. Instead we provide them with learning consultants, aides, and other help. Gifted students may not appear to be struggling, but they are. They are struggling to learn life skills such as working hard and overcoming obstacles. This can really hurt them later in life when they get to college or the work world and don't have these skills. Many fail greatly. They are struggling learning social skills because they don't fit in and have no one that shares their interests or understands them. When they participate in class, they are ostracized for knowing all the answers. They are bullied. Some people even think it is funny to put "My kid beat up your honor roll student" bumper stickers on their cars. Would "My kid beat up your gay student" bumper stickers be allowed or thought funny? I don't consider either acceptable. These lack of social skills and constant harassment also affect them now and later in life. Many girls hide their giftedness just so they can fit in. They are struggling to love learning. When you go to PD, do you like the courses that have new material or are 75% review? What if they moved at 1/4 the pace you like? What if this was everyday? Dropout rates for gifted learners are much higher than average. Gifted boys often act out in class because they are bored. We need to engage these learners.
Chris Gill November 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Mike and Joshua I have time to answer/address a couple of concerns, but I will respond more later today when I am back home. Mike if your child leaves your home school district their money follows them. Although not at the same rate as RCS perhaps (in my case it is far less because my district's FTE allotment is not the same as RCS) but tax dollars follow the kid. Joshua, LOVE your summer enrichment suggestion! LOVE IT. Why did they say no?
Joshua Raymond November 04, 2012 at 01:33 PM
If education were shoes, many would need standard shoes. Some would need orthotic shoes to help with a deficiency and correct their walking. Some would need extra large shoes that require more material so they aren't cramped and develop problems. If the school gave everyone the same shoes, that would be considered fair by some, but not by the kids who struggled walking in these shoes or whose feet were cramped. The better solution is to provide each student with the shoes he or she needs, even if orthotics or extra material costs more. The solutions I listed in a previous post help teachers too. Is it easier to prepare a lesson for students all at similar ability levels or many lessons for students at different levels? Use ability grouping and cluster grouping to reduce the number of levels a teacher is preparing for. Are Teachers struggling to provide education for gifted learners? Put them in one classroom with a teacher who has training on working with gifted students. I think we can come up with solutions that are wins for everyone. We just need to be open to them.
Dorothy November 04, 2012 at 03:21 PM
McMillin and conservatives are already whining about the high cost of education. Now you complain it's one size fits all. If you want a tailored suit, you'll have to pay for it with higher taxes; but of course, you object to that too. Most teachers do the best they can with the resources their bosses give them. You have a boat load of managers in the Districts, and nobody complains about them or their salaries. It's the teachers who take all the heat because the GOP wants to privatize education - just like everything else they can get their hands on. Public education has been the great equalizer in this country, which is exactly why it needs to be supported and preserved. It created the middle class and that's what sticks in conservatives' craw. The same radical right wing Republicans in Florida did what McMillin is doing and now, they're shocked!S " FL failed charter school did without computers, library, or cafeteria. Principal got $824,000."
Mike Reno November 04, 2012 at 04:18 PM
You can't pay for a tailored suit at a general clothing factory. Or if you did, it would most likely look like the general suit... just more expensive. And you want the money, but demand it with no accountability. If you spend it... they will perform? So far we have decades of data that shows that is not the case. And as far as your unidentified FL charter... Don't you wonder about the idiot parents who signed-up at a school wi no computer and no cafeteria? Or another twist... Maybe they did know there were no computers, but were so desperate to get out of the failed public school that they were willing to risk it? Any insight to offer on the parent motivation to enroll or stay at that charter? Oh... and you also neglected to show any of the results... You only quoted the salary.
Mike Reno November 04, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I'll give you credit, Dorothy, you can sure pack a boat load of misinformation and distortions into each posting. The Republicans are upset that there is a middle class? Are you stuck back in the renaissance period? And the meme over privatization... Go read the book "Freedoms's Forge". It was private enterprise that saved America, even the world, in WWII and even FDR knew to ignore the advice of extreme liberals who wanted government control of manufacturing. By unleashing the power of American ingenuity IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, America was able to reduce costs and out produce the rest of the world COMBINED. And they did it, by the way, in spite of the continuous hurdles and obstruction of the labor unions, who actually impeded wartime production as they struck over critical items like Jo would be able to use the telephone during work hours.
Joshua Raymond November 04, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Chris, they haven't said no to the summer enrichment idea. I proposed it at the last school board meeting when they covered the current summer enrichment. However, their general policy at BOE meetings is to not respond to citizen statements, so I don't know what their reaction to summer enrichment for single subject or grade acceleration is. The more community support for an idea, the more the board or administration is likely to look at implementing it. If parents aren't vocal, the board and administration often don't know anything needs to be changed or that parents would like a new program.

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