To make our legislative process more accessible to parents and concerned citizens, MIPFS is making video of important legislative hearings available online.
Latest: last hearings in House on EAA and committee vote
One obstacle for concerned parents trying to track what’s happening in the Legislature is that the process itself is not accessible to most people. Hearings are generally held during the work week, and access to video of the meetings is spotty at best. Now that the Legislature has ended its contract with Michigan Government TV, committee meetings are televised on a rotating basis and only available for live streaming from the House and Senate television services. Copies of meetings are not available for later viewing or download.
To partly remedy this, MIPFS will be video taping important committee hearings on education issues whenever possible. Details of the meetings and the available video segments will be available on this page.
Testimony on the Fiscal 2014 School Aid Executive Budget proposal
Prepared for House Appropriations subcommittee on School Aid, 19 February 2013
Drawing on the data we used in an earlier article about the Governor’s budget proposal – Eleven percent increase in schools since 2009-10? Not so much. – MIPFS testified before the Michigan House Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid earlier this week. Our purpose was to point out that the executive budget proposal did not represent an increase in funding available for school operations, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Funding levels were actually much lower than in previous periods, especially after taking inflation into account, despite the smaller number of pupils.
MIPFS called for a significant, real investment in preschool through secondary education so that our public schools could do the job we have asked of them.
“I love empowering parents” – interim House Education chair Tom McMillin (R-Rochester) on passing SB 619
I am furious and disgusted.
Furious that once again, the education budgets now under discussion continue to strangulate our community-governed, local public schools. Disgusted that the raft of policies enacted in the last year which erode public education and public schools are described by their supporters as somehow “empowering parents.” Orwell couldn’t have done better.
Let’s review the last year in legislation, shall we?
After a welcome break over the holidays, our Legislature is back at work. Unfortunately, these days, that's not a good thing.
In this issue:
- School Aid Budget - Magical numbers from the CPA-in-chief
- EAA - We know how to turn schools around. Trust us.
- A la carte school funding proposal not so popular on the menu
- A parents' vision for public education
FLASH - The pressure is working! Help stop the EAA "state takeover" bill in committee!
To all of you who have sent messages regarding HB 6004 - the EAA or "state takeover" bill: Thank You!!
For those of you who haven't yet had a chance to contact your State Representative, the time is NOW.
Call House Education Committee members TODAY!
Click below to read the latest alert!
Legislative leaders have committed to push through a long list of bills during this "lame duck" session, including two that could be devastating to public education as we know it.
I realize that sounds over-the-top, but take a look at the bills on the fast track:
- House Bill 6004 makes a new state-wide school district, the Education Achievement Authority, which can take over the "bottom 5%" of schools, and perhaps others - while the local district has no say. The EAA is free to hand these schools over to for-profit charter management companies, and in fact it can charter new schools anywhere in the state (whether the schools there are failing or not). The EAA would be run by a board appointed by the Governor, and even the elected State Board of Education would have no say in its work.
- House Bill 5923 would create a host of new forms of charter school, including selective admission schools, boarding schools, single-gender schools, and potential store-front schools operated by cultural organizations, businesses and other groups. Part of the mission given to the EAA in HB 6004 is to implement these provisions.
Find out more! Click below to read the full alert.
We’ve updated our legislative briefing on the “school choice” package of bills to reflect the passage of both SB 618 (charter caps) and SB 619 (“cyber” charters), as well as other legislative action.
The update document is in PDF format, and we will be updating it regularly as the bills make their way through the Legislature. The download link is at the end of the article.
The document is current as of 6/15/12, reflecting the bills as reported from committee or as passed by the Senate or House.
One of the things we hear over and over are calls to run our public schools “like a business.” The basic argument is that if schools were run in a more businesslike manner, they would not have the budget problems we are seeing today. It sounds like a simple argument, and that gives it great appeal. The reality is more complex. Let’s take a look at how it plays out in the real world.
One of the interesting things about doing local advocacy work is that it gives you a whole new perspective on how the public views school funding issues. It can also give you a detailed look at the fuzzy thinking of those who argue that our schools can’t, or shouldn’t, be given the resources to avoid major cuts to programs and personnel. As part of our “Project Washtenaw,” MIPFS volunteers have been engaging the communities in Washtenaw County about the crisis their public schools now face. One year, a failed county millage proposal, and a bundle of desperate budget cuts later, we’ve learned some important lessons about how school funding is often treated in the public discourse and how that might be changed for the better. We’d like to share them with you.