So, the past couple of days I was frantically updating everyone on the devastating power grab attempts to destroy the Michigan Public School System by Gov. Snyder and the state GOP-run legislature.
Well, I have a couple of new developments to report:
First, as a side note, I was the featured guest on Diane G's internet radio show last night; check it out (I'm on from around 3:00 to around 50:00 minutes in). Hopefully I don't sound too goofy.
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.Third, some (relatively) positive news from Steve Norton of Michigan Parents for Schools from last night:
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and Eastern Michigan University under the former Public Act 4 of 2011 (“The Emergency Manager Law”), an act that was repealed by the Michigan electorate in the November 6 election.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.
Steven Norton: No action yet. Clearly they don't have the votes to get it out of the House committee, and even the Senate committee seems stuck. They do have the option of discharging it straight to the floor, but right now it seems they don't have the votes there either. Lots of Republican members are working to find changes that will salvage the bill(s). But there is no amount of tweaking that can make this a good law.Sounds like the pressure is on and is having some effect, but they'll be right at it again first thing Monday morning, so we can't let up.
Finally, however, is the source of the title of this diary: The letter posted by my own school Superintendent, Rob Glass strongly opposing these bills has gone viral; from my own diary here at dKos it has now been covered by Eclectablog, Rachel Maddow's blog and as of today, 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."
Finally, this media advisory (PDF) was just released last night; please alert anyone you think might be interested in attending to protest these draconian bills:Update: From ShoshannaD, here's the Save Michigan's Public Schools FB page
Michigan for Quality Schools
Supporting proven education reform
What: A news conference unveiling new coalition of education, parent and business leaders opposed to continued experiments on Michigan children and supporting proven education reform.
When: 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3
Where: Room 424, Michigan Capitol
Who: Steve Norton of Michigan Parents for Schools, Michigan Association of School Boards Executive Director Kathy Hayes, State Board of Education President John Austin, Michigan Association of School Administrators Executive Director William Mayes and others.
Why: To reject efforts to experiment with Michigan children by ending locally controlled school systems and introduce a for-profit education system in Michigan.
To support proven quality reforms by examining policies of states with a track record of
success in Gov. Snyder’s education dashboard metrics.
To call for public hearings across Michigan to expose these issues to the parents of
Michigan, not shove them through the lame duck session of the Legislature with
A wide coalition of varied interests have been galvanized by campaigns to pass major education experiments in the lame duck legislature, including bills to allow for-profit education companies to cherry pick students and to give the still-unproven Education Achievement Authority the ability to create an unlimited number of schools without regard to quality. The organization also opposes the Oxford Foundations’ plan to gamble with Michigan students, which would end locally controlled school districts.
For more information contact David Waymire at Martin Waymire Advocacy Communications, 517-485-6600
The Superintendent of Birmingham Public Schools (right next door to Bloomfield Hills, and just as high-income/upper-class as Bloomfield Hills) also posted a similar letter on their own Facebook page:
Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012A h/t to dehrha02: A similar letter from the Superintendent and Board of Education of Flushing Public Schools:
Dear Parents and Community Members,
As we make plans for the holiday season, Michigan legislators are busy making plans to overhaul the Michigan public education system as we know it. During the lame duck session, the Michigan House and Senate are making moves to further erode local control and the financial base for Michigan’s traditional public school system. These proposed plans look remarkably like a public voucher program, add unnecessary cost and complexity, and allow Lansing appointees to shift control away from the local school board trustees that you elect. All of these elements create a very concerning picture. We encourage you to learn more about HB 5923, HB 6004, and SB 1358 and help us open a dialogue with our elected officials.
I urge you to take a moment to contact your elected officials. You can find their information attached to this letter, or on the BPS website, here. You can also sign up for Capwiz, a service that will keep you informed about potential action in Lansing, and give you the ability to contact your legislator with the click of a button. Additionally, contact information and a sample letter are provided on the next page. Contacting your representative is a critical step as our elected officials prepare to make decisions for the future of our public education system.
Informational meetings are scheduled throughout the week, including this evening, Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 4 and 6:30 p.m., at Royal Oak Middle School, 709 N. Washington Ave., Royal Oak, 48067. On Monday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m., residents are also invited to attend an informational meeting to learn more about these plans. The event will be held at Rochester High School, 180 S. Livernois in Rochester Hills. The legislature hasn’t given us much time to act, but we know that informed constituents are the best line of defense we have to combat this pending legislation.
Also included in this letter are talking points. We know that you’ll find your own voice in this, but these talking points can serve as a way to help us present a united message to our legislature.
Birmingham Public Schools currently serves over 8,300 students. We offer students choice programming, opportunities to earn college credit through a vast Advanced Placement program, and world language and resources to create global, life-long learners. These bills target both high-achieving and struggling districts alike. We hope that together with our residents, we can suggest a statewide solution that helps all children, without turning public education into a public voucher program.
Birmingham Public Schools
Dear Parents and Community Members:A h/t to stas61690 for this: From the Superintendent of Chelsea Public Schools:
We are deeply concerned about what is occurring at our State Capital and the potential erosion of local control over our schools. This is not intended to be an ideological or political statement in any way. The public schools have traditionally been a reflection of the community they represent, under the control of a locally elected school board.
These bills threaten local control:
Dear Community Members:Update x2: For those living in Michigan--whether you're in the Bloomfield Hills area or not--here's a list of phone numbers for members of the House Education Committee; these are the Reps who will decide whether to take these bills to the full House this week or not:
There is an urgent matter that needs an immediate response from alumni, parents and other citizens concerned about legislation that is threatening to dismantle our public educational system. I am referring to House Bills 6004 and 5923, being introduced during the lame duck session.
Rep. Thomas Hooker (Maj. VC) (517) 373-2277Use this link for a sample phone script, and remember, BE POLITE.
Rep. Jon Bumstead (517) 373-7317
Rep. Hugh Crawford (517) 373-0827
Rep. Ray Franz (517) 373-0825
Rep. Kurt Heise (517) 373-3816
Rep. Aric Nesbitt (517) 373-0839
Rep. Margaret O'Brien (517) 373-1774
Rep. Amanda Price (517) 373-0838
Rep. Deb Shaughnessy (517) 373-0853
Rep. Ken Yonker (517) 373-0840
Update x3: Another letter of protest, this time from the Superintendent of Grosse Pointe Public Schools:
As a parent of a child currently in the Michigan public schools and as the superintendent of the Grosse Pointe Public School System, I am greatly concerned regarding the current proposed legislation from our elected legislators in Lansing that will have long term detrimental effects on the health and quality of our public education system in Michigan. For some, this may be viewed as another attempt at "crying wolf" or a repeated attempt at assuming that the "sky is falling." However, the proposed legislation in the lame duck legislative sessions in December and the new funding proposals from the Governor-appointed Oxford Foundation are the new realities of a statewide governmental control system of overriding the public good in regard to the education of our youth.
These realities are frightening when considering the fragmentation and dismantling of our local community public school system that will do more harm to quality educational programs in the Grosse Pointe School System. Our schools have been identified and ranked throughout the state and the nation as great schools where students succeed and significantly grow. Our alumni have obtained life-long benefits from the educational opportunities and academic programs they received while in the Grosse Pointe Public School System.