We urgently need you to email or call the following legislators regarding the Education Achievement Authority! This needs to be done this week (March 11-15) at the latest. The bill is being taken up in committee on Wednesday, March 13 at 2:30, after which it is a near certainty that it will be referred to the floor.
Phone: (517) 373-0218
Toll Free: (855) 347-8073
Phone: (517) 373-0842
Toll Free: (855) 373-0842
Phone: (517) 373-8900
FAX: (517) 373-8697
Here are the main points to include in your call or email:
1. Vote no on the EAA bill (HB4369)
2. EAA is still experimental and we don't expand programs that are still in the experimental stage
3. Although many schools in the state require urgent change, that change must be based on sound pedagogical principals, not ideas that the EAA currently espouses which are either unproven or have been proven ineffective or even detrimental to learning and student growth.
4. The process is as important as the policy. Do not allow this bill to be pushed through in the manner so many bills were pushed through during the lame duck session, with no opportunity for citizens to have their concerns heard.
Here is a sample letter that you may feel free to cut, in whole or in part, and paste into your own email:
Dear Representative ______,
I am writing to urge you to vote against the education achievement authority bill (HB 4369). Even in its current form, this bill impermissibly wrests control of public education from local, democratically elected school boards. It amounts to nothing less than a giveaway to private charters, and it is premised on an unproven experiment. This bill undermines community schools and threatens the very communities themselves. It erodes the integrity of education by putting students in front of computers for the bulk of their learning and by authorizing charters to take public dollars to do no more than the community-governed schools could do with the same resources and support.
In addition to requesting that you oppose HB 4369, I urge you to ensure that the bill enjoy the full deliberative legislative process and not allow it to be "fast-tracked" as it almost was last session, so that the people have time to have their concerns heard.. Last session, over 40% of all the legislation that was passed was passed during the 10-day Lame Duck session. That process is an affront to the democratic principal of a legislature of, for, and by the people.
But wait! There's more!
The Governor is proposing that the state eliminate the gasoline tax. The revenues generated from that tax that go to the school aid fund amount to $900 million. While Senator Roger Kahn, the chair of the Senate Infrastructure Modernization Committee, assures us that they hope to have voter approval for a 1% sales tax increase to replace that money, there is no plan if voters do not approve a 1% sales tax increase. (An interesting aside: Senator Kahn believes that people will vote for that sales tax increase if it is marketed as "for the schools," rather than "for the roads." People clearly think highly of funding schools and Lansing knows it. Nevertheless the Governor and the Legislature continue to defund and defund K-12 public education.)
Here is a sample letter you can use to write to Senator Kahn (firstname.lastname@example.org) (or you can call him at 517 373-1760) and Senator Mark Jansen (SenMJansen@senate.michigan.gov) (517-373-0797)
In making your determination regarding the elimination of the gasoline tax, I urge you to strongly consider the fact that no real alternative to the gas sales tax has been proposed. If the $900 million that came from gasoline sales taxes in the last year is diverted to roads without alternative revenue, this will be yet another deep cut to our public schools that we can not weather. We know from the Center for Michigan conversation about education that most people do respect their local school system. We need to increase funding of our local, community public schools in order to support those very communities. This shell game with the School Aid Fund is counterproductive for our schools, further impairing them from getting to the important business of educating our children.