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Privatizing Our Public Schools

Gov. Snyder is promoting legislation that will allow Lansing to use your tax dollars to create one state-wide mega district operated by political appointees.

Right now, your Governor and legislator are considering a plan that creates a single, statewide school district that is accountable to a board, not elected by the people, but instead appointed by the Governor. Not only is this district not governed by any local elections, it would operate without any oversight from the Michigan Department of Education.  And your tax dollars would be sent to this new super-district without any approval from your elected representatives.

Under this plan, this new school district will be able to open schools anywhere it wants in the state. The bills even say that the state can force your home district sell or lease some of the buildings your community owns to this new district if it wants to operate a school there.

These new schools are not required to meet the same quality requirements as local public schools – in fact, they need not follow the state’s assessment systems, making it impossible to compare school quality.

But the absolute worst part of the plan is that some of these schools will be managed by for profit operators and even corporations, and only some of our state’s students will be allowed to attend some of these schools.

There is a meeting that will give you important information about the bills our lawmakers are trying to pass before their "lame duck" session ends in December. 

Date: Monday, December 3, 2012
Place: Rochester High School
         180 S. Livernois, Rochester 48307
Afternoon Session: 4:00 P.M.
Evening Session:    6:30 P.M.

If you want to maintain local control over your community school and your tax dollars, tell your Governor  (517) 373-3400 and legislators  to oppose House Bills 6004, 5923 and Senate Bill 1358. 

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.

Paul Sprague November 26, 2012 at 08:49 PM
http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/governor-snyders-million-dollar-fund-why-are-donors-a-secret Follow the Money, Dorothy.
Joshua Raymond November 26, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Dorothy, there are a number of intriguing claims here. It would be very helpful if you could post links to articles or legislation that covers this. I believe there are a few distinct bills that are being conflated here.
Mike Reno November 26, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Very complete post. Included everything but the facts. Here is the DRAFT proposal: http://oxfordfoundationmi.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/mefp-draft-version-1.pdf * "Not only is this district not governed by any local elections, it would operate without any oversight from the Michigan Department of Education" FALSE * "And your tax dollars would be sent to this new super-district without any approval from your elected representatives." FALSE * Under this plan, this new school district will be able to open schools anywhere it wants in the state. FALSE * The bills even say that the state can force your home district sell or lease some of the buildings your community owns to this new district if it wants to operate a school there. PARTIALLY TRUE... If a building has been empty for OVER TWO YEARS, and a PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL wants to LEASE OR BUY IT, then the district cannot keep the building shuttered. * "But the absolute worst part of the plan is that some of these schools will be managed by for profit operators and even corporations" EVEN Corporations... the root of all evil? Exaggeration is one thing, but this is over the top. "The Sky is Falling!"
Baylea November 27, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I say go for it. What we have has not worked in the best interest of the kids and the taxpayers. Time to try something new. Sign us up Rick!
Michele Manhire November 27, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Although appreciative of the 'heads-up' Dorothy has provided here, the 'delivery' is way off base. To say this post is all emotion and no substance, is an understatement. Thanks to the others above who have posted where the facts can be had, and informed opinions can be made. After investigating those sources, and forming my own opinion, I would indeed be interesting in hearing a presentation on this topic. Dorothy, could you please tell us who is presenting this at RHS on Dec 3?? MI Legislators? Rochester Community Schools? The MEA? The PTG? If it is going to be a well-organized, balanced presentation I (and I'm sure many others) would plan on attending. If it is going to be a hysteric, one-sided lambasting of a legitimate bill being presented for vote (whether you agree with it or not) - no thank you. If anyone knows, I'd appreciate hearing.
Mike Reno November 27, 2012 at 02:40 PM
The presentation being made by Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch, Supt. of Oakland County ISD. It is part of the "The Sky is Falling" tour that is making it's way around Oakland County. They had one last night in Bloomfield Hills presented by the Assistant Supt. of Oakland Schools.
Michele Manhire November 27, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Just realized that the opportunity to meet the new candidates for the vacated School Board position overlaps with the above mentioned meeting to review this proposed legislative draft. The new candidates will be available from 6p-7p for individual discussion, followed by a special meeting of the School Board, where they will formally interview each one. Sorry, but this parent is VERY interested in who is potentially filling our local leadership coffers with their varied qualifications... I'll be attending that, and encourage all to do the same. Get involved!! With a strong School Board, we can weather whatever 'storm' comes our way educationally-speaking in this State.
Michele Manhire November 28, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Thanks Mike! I received her video pod cast in an email from Oakland Schools, and attach it here for anyone who wishes to hear a condensed version of what I assume will be her presentation next week, and perhaps wants to attend the RCS School Board meeting instead (hint, hint!). C'mon parents... let's use our voices and attend the Special Board Meeting being held Dec 3 at 6pm to interview the candidates for the vacated seat on our School Board!! http://www.schooltube.com/video/83edb442197a46939bc9/NEEDED:%20A%20Million%20Michigan%20Voices%20for%20Public%20Education
Lynn November 30, 2012 at 05:26 AM
There is an earlier session, as Dorothy noted factually, to be held at 4:00pm. Do not scare off individuals who are interested in being informed on these topics by calling this a "Sky is Falling" presentation. And if we are truly interested in our local school board, we should all attend this Forum on Dec 3rd, because our participation in the district and the district's accountability to us are at risk with this legislation. If these bills pass, our interest and involvement within our schools may well be mute.
Dorothy November 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Go to the meeting. Talk to Rochester, Troy, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills Superintendents. Plans to corporately privatize public education in Michigan has taken nearly two decades. In this time, both Republicans and Democrats has played this game in Michigan, when political parties felt they could reward portions of a "friends, partners and family cash benefit plan" at the expense of Children in our great state, seeking K-12 primary education. School Districts lacking robust minorities within their "head counts" failed to care, fight or stand up when this "takeover experiment" was in Detroit, Muskegon, Benton Harbor or Inkster Public Schools Districts, just to name a few. Famous last words of "The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost". Since your suburban school district(s) are targeted to shift tax dollars out of public education, directly into open hands of the "highest corporate bidder", will you care NOW?
Dorothy November 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM
You wouldn't know a fact if one fell on you.
Dorothy November 30, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Plans to corporately privatize public education in Michigan has taken nearly two decades. In this time, both Republicans and Democrats has played this game in Michigan, when political parties felt they could reward portions of a "friends, partners and family cash benefit plan" at the expense of Children in our great state, seeking K-12 primary education. School Districts lacking robust minorities within their "head counts" failed to care, fight or stand up when this "takeover experiment" was in Detroit, Muskegon, Benton Harbor or Inkster Public Schools Districts, just to name a few. Famous last words of "The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost". Since suburban school district(s) are targeted to shift tax dollars out of public education, directly into open hands of the "highest corporate bidder", will they care NOW?
Dorothy November 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM
In evaluating some of the statistical studies that seek to compare charter vs. public school performance, recent investigations conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University reveal that students' test scores may prove that public schools are now outperforming charter schools. As CREDO, a national organization devoted to charter school research reveals, the Stanford analysts compared reading and math state-based standardized test scores between charter school vs. public school students in 15 states, as well as scores in the District of Columbia. In fact, in further evaluating the data, experts found that 37 percent of charter schools posted improvements in math scores; however, these improvement rates were significantly below the improvement rates of students in the public school classrooms. Furthermore, 46 percent of charter schools experienced math improvements that were "statistically indistinguishable" from the average improvement rates shown by public school students. Ultimately, this data surmises that in the category of math alone, only 17 percent of charter schools have reported achievement rates that surpass public school performance results. Similarly, charter school students' reading scores improvement rates were also below their public school counterparts. http://credo.stanford.edu/
Dorothy November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Like Mitt Romney, you right wingers and corporatist just say whatever it is you want to hear. The only government money and programs you are opposed to are those that you don't get.
Joshua Raymond November 30, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Dorothy, I will be there on Monday. I absolutely believe that Dr. Markavitch should take this opportunity to speak about bills that will affect Michigan's schools. However, I am extremely disappointed that these events will not be panel discussions representing both sides. I strongly prefer to hear facts and opinions from both sides in a forum that allows for scrutiny of statements rather than one-sided talking points. I also believe that our residents would prefer to not be told what to think, but given information from both sides and allowed to make their own conclusions.
Joshua Raymond November 30, 2012 at 04:25 PM
MLive will host a live chat regarding education reform today at noon with school policymakers Should parents have broader choices when it comes to enrolling their kids in public schools? How should the quality of those new choices be evaluated? And how should state money flow through the public education system? Michigan lawmakers will be asked to consider those questions next year with a series of Republican-supported proposals. In fact, the debate has already started – and MLive.com readers can get a glimpse into the developing debate at noon Friday. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder asked a group led by Richard McLellan, a Lansing lawyer, to head up an effort to make school finance and choice recommendations to be considered next year. The developing plan from the Oxford Foundation has elements that concern John Austin, a Democrat and president of the State Board of Education McLellan and Austin are scheduled to participate in a “live chat” with MLive.com readers, moderated by MLive.com statewide news editor Meegan Holland and statewide community engagement director Jen Eyer. LIVE CHAT DETAILS • What: A moderated live chat/debate on education reform with Richard McLellan (Oxford Foundation) and John Austin (State Board of Education). • When: Noon on Friday, Nov. 30 on mlive.com/education • More information: An overview of the proposed education reforms: http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/11/michigan_school_choice_policy.html
Joshua Raymond November 30, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Sorry, I know this is a competing media outlet to Patch, but it is an opportunity for people to hear perspectives from both sides from key players.
Joanna Matzinger VanRaaphorst November 30, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I would urge everyone to attend one of these sessions on Monday. Though my children have already successfully gone through our public school system, my home value is based on the high quality of our local schools. I am looking forward to learning more facts about the situation.
Jon Awbrey December 01, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Citizens concerned about public education who want to get a clue about the coming tsunami of Corporate Plantation Schools are hereby advised to read Diane Ravitch's blog every day. ► http://dianeravitch.net/ Hear me now and believe me later ...
Dorothy December 02, 2012 at 12:09 PM
From the Huffington Post: Rob Glass, Michigan Superintendent, Asks Parents To Oppose 'Ideologically-Driven' Education Bills The superintendent of a tony Metro Detroit suburb posted an alert on his official school website, warning parents about "a package of bills designed to corporatize and dismantle public education" that are now being considered by the state legislature during its current lame-duck session. Bloomfield Hills School Superintendent Rob Glass posted a letter asking parents and citizens that slams House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 1358, House Bill 5923 and Senate Bill 620. "I’ve never considered myself a conspiracy theorist—until now," Glass states in the letter. "This package of bills is the latest in a yearlong barrage of ideologically-driven bills designed to weaken and defund locally-controlled public education, handing scarce taxpayer dollars over to for-profit entities operating under a different set of rules. I believe this is fundamentally wrong."
Dorothy December 02, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Do you even have kids in the Rochester School District? It isn't perfect, but they do run schools of excellence. Maybe somebody ought to knock down your whole house when you need new windows.
Dorothy December 02, 2012 at 12:14 PM
You want balanced? Look at the list of legislation that has poured out of Lansing and none of it has done a damn thing to help or support public education or employees in any way. These people have an agenda, and it is purely ideological. If it wasn't why isn't there any accountability or requirements built into the legislation, like you have to serve all kids that apply? This effort is a boondoggle.
Dorothy December 02, 2012 at 12:15 PM
This story ran in the Washington Post yesterday. Apparently the EAA is a finalist in the current so-called "Race to the Top" competition. The Ann Arbor Public School district (as part of the Washtenaw Alliance for Education) and many other organizations and individuals have signed on to a letter sent to President Obama and Sec. Ed. Duncan objecting to the EAA's candidacy, and urging its rejection. This is the key passage: The EAA, a “state reform” district modeled after the problematic New Orleans Recovery School District (RSD), was established through an August 2011 interlocal agreement between then-Emergency Manager of Detroit Public Schools Roy Roberts and Eastern Michigan University under the former Public Act 4 of 2011 (“The Emergency Manager Law”), an act that was repealed by the Michigan electorate in the November 6 election. Shortly thereafter, the Detroit Board of Education voted to disband the EAA and to sever ties with Eastern Michigan University. Despite the voice of the electorate, our Michigan state legislature is pressing forward with bills during the lame duck session that would codify the EAA into state law. We oppose the establishment of the EAA and ask that you stand in support of Michigan voters who are deeply concerned with its impact on our children’s education and on our rights as citizens to advocate for them.
Mike Reno December 02, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Why would it matter if she has kids in the schools, Dorothy? I suspect you don't... You mentioned in another post about looking into options for a grandchild... 12 years ago.
Mike Reno December 02, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Written by people whose jobs might be impacted. Oh, and the PTA, who simply parrots.
Mike Reno December 02, 2012 at 02:58 PM
The legislation is there for out kids, not for the adults.
Jon Awbrey December 02, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Here is a related Facebook page ... • http://www.facebook.com/SaveMIPublicSchools About — “Aiming to chronicle the massive opposition to the Michigan EAA, Selective Enrollment Schools, & Parent Trigger bills (HB 6004/SB 1358/HB 5923/SB 620).”
Mike Reno December 02, 2012 at 11:05 PM
OMG, there are hundreds of "likes", and a few of them are even people,who are not employed by a public school.
Jon Awbrey December 03, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Yes, Mr. Reno, I understand your concern. Making a modest income through honest labor at one's chosen profession represents such a conflict of interest that no such person should be allowed to assemble with others and communicate his or her concerns about the future of that profession, much less its proper place within the life of the community and the nation. We all know, of course, that it is only when absentee lords of investment are washed in the purifying waters of untrickled-down billions and billions of dollars earned the newfangled way through the unbearable labor of moving electronic chits around on virtual stock boards that they can once again attain the purity of motive — like a virgin, as it were — to dictate policies for the grubby, sweaty, professions they know not of. Perhaps some specialists in voter suppression should find a way to deny them a right to vote on matters that concern them. Perhaps two birds could be killed with one stone by scheduling future elections on high-stakes testing days. Let us all petition the Secretary of State and have her look into it. Oh, and maybe she could add a “Not a Parrot” check-box to the ballot application. (That might take out a lot of TEA Party Parrots, though.)

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