Report: Michigan’s school funding cuts among deepest nationwide | Michigan Radio


A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranks Michigan 12th worst in the country when it comes to education funding cuts.

The report says Michigan has cut per-pupil K-12 funding by 7.5 percent since 2008.

According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, the cuts have already had a negative impact on the state’s education system.”We have a state that is still lagging in the number of students who are reading by third grade.

We still don’t have the high school [graduation] rates that we want,” said League CEO Gilda Jacobs. Jacobs said education funding is directly connected to the state’s economic recovery.

“If we want to have a strong, educated workforce, then we’re really going to have to front-load our system and put money into the K-12 education system,” Jacobs said.

The League is calling on lawmakers to invest more in per-pupil funding, work harder to close racial disparities in education, and reevaluate its school funding formula.

Source: Report: Michigan’s school funding cuts among deepest nationwide | Michigan Radio

Application Deadline of January 20 for “Schools of Opportunity” Recognition of Top High Schools | National Education Policy Center

BOULDER, CO (December 11, 2015) – High schools from across the nation are now submitting applications to be recognized as part of the School of Opportunity project of the National Education Policy Center. The project recognizes public schools for what they do to give all students the chance to succeed, rather than turning to test scores to determine school quality. The application deadline isJanuary 20, 2016.

The Schools of Opportunity project highlights schools that use research-based practices to close the opportunity gaps that result in unequal opportunities to learn, in school and beyond school.

For example, although schools cannot directly integrate neighborhoods by race and class, they can do their best to integrate classrooms by race and class. And although it is difficult for schools to increase learning resources in neighborhoods or homes, they can ensure that rich, engaging learning opportunities are provided to all students while they are in school.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed in the CU-Boulder School of Education, designed the Schools of Opportunity project as a way to highlight the nation’s best schools and practices. The project is led by NEPC director and CU-Boulder School of Education Professor Kevin Welner, and Carol Burris, director of the Network for Public Education, who was the 2013 New York State High School Principal of the Year.

Source: Application Deadline of January 20 for “Schools of Opportunity” Recognition of Top High Schools | National Education Policy Center

CURMUDGUCATION: Can Principals Turn Around Rural Schools

Can Principals Turn Around Rural Schools

Posted: 11 Dec 2015 11:52 AM PST

Rural schools are often left out of discussions of ed reform and public schools and all the rest. I’m acutely aware of this because I teach in a rural district, centered in a small town of around 7,000 people, but spread across many townships. We don’t think of ourselves this way, but if you look at the map, we are on the northern end of Appalachia, and many of the issues that are stirring the educational pot across the country play out far differently here.

So when the School Turnaround Learning Community ran a piece about rural school leadership, I was interested.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Can Principals Turn Around Rural Schools

Rep. Upton addresses my concerns about our national park system

From: <>
Date: Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 11:22 AM
Subject: Response from Fred Upton

Dear Jeffrey:

Thank you for contacting me about support for our national park system.  Like you, I care deeply about our nation’s public lands and natural resources, and appreciate this opportunity to respond.

I too, enjoy our national park system and agree with President Reagan’s assessment that they remain the “envy of the world”.  Michigan has five National Parks within our borders and they see over two million visitors annually. The state receives almost $160 million in economic benefit from tourism at these sites each year.

In July, the House Appropriations Committee advanced the fiscal year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill which includes funding for the National Park Service (NPS).  The legislation contains $2.7 billion for the NPS, an increase of $53 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level.  Within this amount, the legislation prioritizes funding for park operations and maintenance to reduce the NPS’s backlog of maintenance projects.

As you know, Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 which sets spending levels for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.  Under the agreement, spending caps for discretionary spending are raised $80 billion, $50 billion in the first year and $30 billion in the second year, while reforms to mandatory spending programs and additional saving are made to fully pay for legislation.  With the agreement in place, Congress can now move forward with the appropriations process and allocate funding under the new spending levels, including funding for the NPS.

Having grown up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I know full well the beauty of our state and the importance to preserve it. I have a long history of supporting initiatives to safeguard our state’s most precious natural resources and protect our public lands for future use.  Last Congress, I was proud to cosponsor legislation that designated Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS), adding over 32,000 acres to the NWPS.  I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 799, the North Country National Scenic Trail Route Adjustment Act, which would improve the nation’s longest hiking trail of which Michigan is home to the longest segment.

As Congress continues to find balanced solutions to our economic needs, rest assured I will keep your support for our public lands in mind.  I believe it is important that we protect our national parks and believe that we can do so in a manner that also allows us to meet other public needs.  We owe it to future generations of Americans to ensure that our National Park System can maintain the beauty and appeal of our public lands.

Again, thank you for contacting me. As always, I appreciate hearing from you and look forward to your continued input. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I may be of assistance in the future.

Very truly yours,

Fred Upton
Member of Congress

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) To Replace “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) | VAMboozled!

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) To Replace “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB)

Posted: 10 Dec 2015 08:27 AM PST

Yesterday, the US “Senate overwhelmingly passe[d] new national education legislation” called the “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA; formerly known as The Student Success Act (H.R. 5)). The ESSA passed the Senate with an 85-12 vote, and it is officially set to replace “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB), once President Obama signs it into law (expectedly, today). This same act passed, with a similar margin, in the US House last October (see a prior post about thishere).

The ESSA is to reduce “the federal footprint and restore local control, while empowering parents and education leaders to hold schools accountable for effectively teaching students” within their states, and also “[reset] Washington’s relationship with the nation’s 100,000 public schools” and its nearly 50 million public school students and their 3.4 million public school teachers, while “sending significant power back to states and local districts while maintaining limited federal oversight of education.” Peripherally, albeit substantially, this will also impact those who greatly influence (and/or profit from) the “public school market estimated to be worth about $700 billion” (e.g., testing companies, value-added modelers/contractors).

More specifically, ESSA is to:

Source: The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) To Replace “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) | VAMboozled!

Guess What? With Your Help There’s A Chance That CDC-Funded Gun Research Might See The Light Of Day.

The NRA has been claiming that armed citizens prevent millions of crimes each year.  And this claim, which has been repeated by right-wing think tanks and right-wing politiciansagain and again, is bandied about by gun-rights supporters hither and yon.  If you want the latest and slickest version of this canard, just tune into Wayne-o mouthing the same bromide to all his video fans. And what is this entire claim based on?  A telephone survey published in 1994 by Gary Kleck in which a few folks working for him allegedly spoke to 213 people who claimed they had used a gun to prevent a crime. If I had a nickel for every time this so-called research has been debunked, I wouldn’t have to work for a living, and even Kleck himself recently backed down from his own claim.  But if serious researchers can’t get financial support to validate anything that Kleck said, it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not.

The problem with public health research is that, by definition, either it’s evidence-based or it doesn’t get published and read at all. Which means you need money to dig up and analyze the evidence  before you can contribute to the debate at all. Which is exactly why the NRA managed to defund CDC gun research after 1996, and is exactly why the spurious claims made by Kleck and his followers have taken on a life of their own. Because as a country whose legal system rests on due process, the law in most jurisdictions requires that any legislation must first be debated in a public forum, which means you have to hear from both sides.  And if one side presents arguments that are nothing more than opinions and marketing claptrap, while the other side can’t respond because they can’t conduct research to elucidate the facts, guess who wins the public debate?

Source: Guess What? With Your Help There’s A Chance That CDC-Funded Gun Research Might See The Light Of Day.

A word of caution to friends of education…

Pardon my little rant this morning ed-friends…
As a retired classroom teacher (who took 13 on-again, off-again, on again years from high school diploma to college ed degree) and a proud, long-time labor leader who still dabbles in such from time to time… but as I peruse a variety of blogs, web sites and Fb groups and the comments found in, after and below them, I am troubled by the bashing that can sometimes extend beyond “Lily” and “Randi”… and which seems, at leastin some cases, to extend beyond a specific leader but becomes generalized to labor unions.
Allow me to add a dash of cautionary spice to the pot of soup…
Bash the NATIONAL leadership all you want when it comes to what we all might view as overly optimistic support for the newest national education law… but leave it there.
Local labor leaders serve the immediate needs of their membership day in and day out in myriad ways.
Point out the way egos of national leaders from all walks of labor and management – public and private sector – get in the way of logic and reason – by all means, point that out. Really. I am all good with that. Been there and done that myself.
But stop right at the precipice please of bashing labor unions, collective bargaining and workplace issues of concerns that can only be heard when educational employees with a variety of responsibilities to provide educational services (transportation, food, custodial, maintenance and classroom instruction & supervision) to children speak up (and out) aided, supported and protected by local leaders from individual buildings to entire school districts.
Be cautious in your criticism.
To do otherwise hurts and hinders but does not help educational employees at all, be they affiliated with NEA, AFT, SEIU and so on.
Thank you.
Jeffrey L Salisbury

The disturbing provisions about teacher preparation in No Child Left Behind rewrite – The Washington Post

There has been loud applause in the education world for the new Every Student Succeeds Act, the successor to No Child Left Behind that has passed the House and is expected to become federal law soon. It has been hailed as a fix-it to the broken NCLB law, and it does indeed moderate some of NCLB’s biggest problems. But, perhaps because the legislation was only made public a few days before the House voted, there has been little time to look at the details in the bill.In this post, Kenneth Zeichner, a professor of teacher education at the University of Washington at Seattle, does just that in regard to how the bill approaches teacher preparation programs — and he reveals some deep concerns.

Source: The disturbing provisions about teacher preparation in No Child Left Behind rewrite – The Washington Post