Sunday, January 20, 2013

Governor Snyder's Education Proposal and Center for Michigan Analysis

Advocacy Training and Next Friends Meeting 1-31

On Tuesday, January 15, 2013, Christie Ramsey, parent advocate from Rockford and Elizabeth Lykins, parent advocate from East Grand Rapids, presented a lively overview of education advocacy.  200 people came from all over West Michigan to hear this wisdom.  The presentation included an overview of the history of Proposal A, cuts over the last several years and how to advocate in Lansing.  We found ourselves in a positive atmosphere with an opportunity to really do something to protect our schools.  We learned that many of our districts that are doing things well need to be celebrated and publicized by the constituency that has not had much of a voice in Lansing, PARENTS!!  Parent advocacy is going to be the new voice in the struggle in Lansing for preservation of what is going right in Lansing.  We need to preserve local control of our schools.  We need to preserve how our schools maintain our communities.  Go to the next GRASSROOTS/Friends of Kent County Schools regular meeting Thursday, January 31, 2013 in the KISD building 2930 Knapp Street NEGrand Rapids, MI 49525

Comparing State funding with School Performance

While it is not all about the money, this article shows that states with highly funded schools have some of the best schools.  We need to remember this when the "choice" options in Michigan drain money from our districts.  Remember that Michigan has lost funding over the last 7 years.  We are currently funded at the same level as 2006.  School expenses (including teacher retirement) have only gotten higher since then, just like your household expenses.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Positive Parent Opinion

Here is a positive letter from a parent in Philadelphia.  She is supportive of the local public school which her kids attend.  She is not supportive of parent triggers and the other education fads that seem to be thrust upon us.  Please take a look.  Please consider attendig the Friends of Kent County Schools meeting Thursday, January 31 at 7pm at KISD, 2930 Knapp, GR.  Lucy

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Minutes of the last meeting

EGRPS Legislative Committee Minutes
Monday January 07, 2013
Present: Dr. Shubel, Kevin Phillips, Steve Edison, Tina Murua, Lucy Lafleur, Anne Grobel, David Bair, Elizabeth Lykins, Melissa Janes, Amy Turner Thole
  1. It was a challenge to keep up with all of the bills being introduced during the lame duck session.  Thanks to an aggressive response from parent groups across the state and especially from West Michigan, the EAA bill did not pass out of committee and the mega-school choice bill languished as well.  We expect these bills, as well as the Oxford Foundation’s funding recommendations to be reintroduced early and aggressively in the new legislative session.  We are prepared to respond as swiftly as we did in December.  Just to summarize:
    1. EAA:  expands from 15 schools in Detroit to the whole state
    2. Mega School Choice: expands charter schools to include new types of schools run by new types of entities
    3. Oxford Foundation: unbundles funding for public schools—to allow children to take classes at multiple public school locations and have the districts divvy up the foundation grant

  1. The school board and administration have written a letter to Governor Snyder in response to a request for public input on the Oxford Foundation’s recommendations.  No official response was made to the letter by the Governor’s office The school board and administration plan to submit this letter to the new House Education Committee once the new appointments to that committee have been made in the new session.

  1. We expect the revenue sharing conference to be in the next week or so, for the Senate and House fiscal agencies to predict shortfalls and for the governor’s budget to have cuts.  Watch the State of the State (expected to be early this year) for details on the Governor’s ideas about public schools and his support of the Oxford Foundation’s recommendations on revamping the School Aid Fund.
      4.  We are working well with our new House Rep., Peter MacGregor.
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
(517) 373-0218
5.          We are working with other parent and education advocacy groups to come up with positive        statements and plans for legislation to improve public schools so we are not only about naysaying the legislation.  We are trying to underline what schools are doing right, what innovations are being made while supporting progress towards improving failing schools.  We want to emphasize the importance of public education as a public good which is valuable not as a commodity that makes profit, but as a process of educating citizens in a working democracy.  We need the input of all parents and community members who find public education valuable.   Watch the blog for further information.