Michigan school funding, choice policies hurting local districts | MSUToday | Michigan State University


School districts in Michigan get into financial trouble almost entirely based on factors outside their control, finds a study led by an MSU education scholar.

Source: Michigan school funding, choice policies hurting local districts | MSUToday | Michigan State University

School districts in Michigan get into financial trouble almost entirely based on factors outside their control, according to a study from Michigan State University.

Chief among those factors are

  • declining enrollment
  • higher shares of special education students and
  • drops in state funding – a matter in the hands of policymakers.

And these forces have made the hardships in Michigan’s low-income urban districts like Detroit even worse, argues David Arsen, professor of education policy in the MSU College of Education.

The research, to be published in the Journal of Education Finance, is the most comprehensive study to date to determine what causes school budget deficits in Michigan. Arsen and colleagues estimated the relative influence of multiple factors on the fund balances of all Michigan public school districts over nearly 20 years.

“Michigan has focused on policies to mostly reprimand school districts in trouble with their fund balances, assuming the problem is attributed to poor decision-making by local leaders,” said Arsen, pointing to the state’s emergency manager law and other policies that place sanctions on districts. “In terms of local spending, some decisions matter but overall the impact is small. What does matter are changes in the school district’s per-pupil foundation allowance and their enrollment, especially where school choice and charters are most prevalent.”

Since Proposal A passed in 1994, Michigan has seen one of the nation’s most dramatic shifts in financial responsibility for public schools from local tax revenues to a centralized per-student funding system.

In recent years, the state has experienced a significant increase in the number of school districts facing financial stress.

Nowhere is the impact more apparent than in Detroit Public Schools, Arsen argues, where the district faces over $500 million in debt after decades of enrollment loss and six years of emergency management.

Michigan allows more far-reaching authority for state intervention than most places, Arsen says.

“We put the policy in place and it didn’t work,” he said. “If the state had a hand in creating the problem, then it has a responsibility to fix the problem.”

The three-year study was partially funded by the ACLU of Michigan and the U.S. Department of Education. Arsen’s co-authors, all graduates of MSU, are Thomas A. DeLuca of University of Kansas, Yongmei Ni of University of Utah and Michael Bates of University of California, Riverside.


David Arsen, Education office: (517) 432-2276arsen@msu.edu

Nicole Geary, Education office: (517) 355-1826 ngeary@msu.edu

Andy Henion, Media Communications office: (517) 355-3294 cell: (517) 281-6949 Andy.Henion@cabs.msu.edu

The Real Numbers: New Jersey!

As always, John does an excellent job of recapping the unfolding results and realistically assessing the road to Philadelphia.

The Writing of John Laurits


Greetings, my friends — and a very special kind of welcome to you, as well, my trolls! Today, we’re going to talk about New Jersey. The Garden State — the state where Bernie Sanders’ most-awesome message of people-powered democracy has yet to be reflected positively in the polls and a state which only the wildest dreamers, poets, & optimistic fools believe Sanders could win –!

Well, first, I’d like you to know that I’m fully aware that — right after I say what I’m about to say — my opponents, detractors, & trolls will be blowing up the comment section (& my inbox) with cynical laughter and cruel derision but —

I believe that we have a chance in New Jersey — and I say that with a straight face.

And why not? Those who have eyes, let them see & those who have ears, let them hear! Doesn’t the very existence of this movement…

View original post 520 more words

From CURMUDGUCATION: “How To Blackmail a Teacher”

How To Blackmail a Teacher
Posted by Peter Greene: 02 Jun 2016 07:34 AM PDT

This is not a post about some reformster program or educational policy. This is about just how low someone can go. This is about one of the worst websites I have ever come across.

TeacherComplaint.com is a site that looks clunky, but makes an offer that seems appealing: CURMUDGUCATION: How To Blackmail a Teacher

The Baylor Crisis Isn’t About Football. It’s About Women’s Lives. | reposted from Sojourners

“This is not a story about the demolition of the Baylor football team. This is a story about how Baylor failed hundreds of women.”


In the past week, we’ve all seen the news of upheaval at Baylor University: its president Kenneth Starr reassigned (he later resigned as chancellor), its star football coach Art Briles suspended with intent to terminate, its athletic director Ian McCaw sanctioned (he later resigned) — all after an independent review summarized the administration’s failure to properly investigate reports of sexual assault over a number of years.

This has been largely passed off as a sports story — fallout from the sexual assault convictions of former players Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu. The fact that there was more to the story:

The Baylor Crisis Isn’t About Football. It’s About Women’s Lives. | Sojourners

The latest from “Electablog”… Trump, Vets, elections, Snyder, rights & wrongs, and straight ticket voting

‘This I can tell you: One veterans group that
(finally) got its Trump #VetGate cash is a shady operation out of Michigan’, at

You may view the latest post at


‘This would be the most satisfying result of the
2016 election’, at Eclectablog

You may view the latest post at

‘ACTION: Tell Gov. Snyder to veto
irresponsible ‘abortion coercion’ bills’, at Eclectablog

You may view the latest post at

‘Michigan Dems test GOP’s claim that
elimination of straight-ticket voting wasn’t political, a test they’re sure to
fail’, at Eclectablog

You may view the latest post at

Flint water, city schools on agenda at Mackinac biz conference

Dear Lawmakers,

Here’s the agenda:

Get out!

Get out of Flint!

Get out of Detroit!

Get out of local governments of all shapes and sizes!

Look, you’ve messed up everything you’ve touched since the 1990s. What you’ve done is in no way, shape or form, “progress”

Michigan’s public schools are not better for Proposal A…

Flint is under an state of emergency owing to your emergency managers…

Detroit’s schools are further in debt than they were and worse off in every way since you took over in 1999… so…

Clean up the mess you’ve left behind and then, just get out.

Get out!


The annual conference on Mackinac Island, a wonkfest of deep policy discussion and open bars, will address some of the state’s most vexing infrastructure and education issues.

Source: Bridge • The Center for MichiganFlint water, city schools on agenda at Mackinac biz conference

Education cannot become the “great equalizer” without strong investments and supports


News from the NEPC: Truing the Balance Wheel

BOULDER, CO (June 2, 2016) – The father of the common school movement, Horace Mann, proclaimed universal education to be the bedrock of democracy. Education is the “great equalizer of the conditions of men” and the “balance wheel of social machinery,” he said, and it deserves significant public investment. Mann passionately argued for education to be “universal, non-sectarian, free, and that its aims should be social efficiency, civic virtue, and character, rather than mere learning or the advancement of sectarian ends.”

In a new brief released today, The Purpose of Education: Truing the Balance Wheel, William Mathis explores the belief in the power of universal education as a core requirement for democracy, and how this vision has been undermined by substantial disparities in educational resources, opportunities, and outcomes.

  • With the ascendance of test scores and international economic competitiveness as education’s most loudly proclaimed purposes, the nation has forgotten that universal public education was established primarily for the benefits it provides to the common good.
  • Disparities in American family incomes have been increasing over the past five decades, leading to an ever-widening income gap between families in the top and bottom of income distribution.
  • The resulting opportunity gap implicates a range of social and economic factors contributing to the current divide. Mathis points to a dozen factors that must be seriously addressed if we hope to provide a true balance wheel—if we hope to equalize educational opportunities.

“Given the broad scope of inequities in schools and in society writ large, the most sensible approach would be to inventory the full range of social and economic needs, and address the multiple factors—which extend well beyond the traditional boundaries of schools—that contribute to the enduring and increasing opportunity gap that children experience in schools,” Mathis concludes.

Dr. Mathis is Managing Director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. This brief is one in a series of concise publications, Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.

Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/research-based-options

Source: Truing the Balance Wheel | National Education Policy Center

Civil rights icon James Meredith: ‘We are in a dark age of American public education’ – The Washington Post


Answer Sheet

Civil rights icon James Meredith: ‘We are in a dark age of American public education’

By Valerie Strauss June 1 at 11:41 AM 

James Meredith, right, attends class for the first time in Peabody Hall on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford, Miss., on Oct. 2, 1962. (Ed Meeks/University of Mississippi Public Relations via AP)

In 2014, civil rights icon James Meredith launched the “American Child’s Education Bill of Rights,” a 12-point declaration of education obligations that he says the United States owes every child. (You can read that declaration here.) He said that the country was spending too much money on standardized testing and “so-called education reforms.” Now, 50 years after he was shot in Mississippi during his one-man Walk Against Fear to highlight racism in the South and encourage voter registration, he is speaking out again on the state and responsibility of public education in the United States — and the dangers of not changing course.

Meredith spent nine years in the Air Force, was the first black student to graduate from the University of Mississippi, and earned his law degree at Columbia University. In 2013, he was awarded the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the school’s highest honor. He is the recipient of the 2014 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. placed James Meredith first on his own list of heroes in his 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” writing:

“Some day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, courageously and with a majestic sense of purpose facing jeering and hostile mobs and the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer.”

Here is a new piece by Meredith about public education, co-written with William Doyle, a 2015-2016 Fulbright Scholar and the author of several books. Doyle and Meredith are the co-authors of “A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America.”

By James Meredith with William Doyle

Fifty years ago, on June 6, 1966, while making a one-man Walk Against Fear, I was shot down on a Mississippi roadside.

That episode and the events it triggered inspired thousands of black Americans to register to vote, and helped free many Americans from the tyranny of segregation and fear.

Four years earlier, in 1962, I forced my way into the segregated University of Mississippi with the help of 500 federal marshals and 10,000 American combat troops, an event that helped open the doors of higher education for all Americans.

Today I have a new mission — to improve the public school education of our nation’s children. I support public education because it is a pillar of our democratic society.

We are in a dark age of American public education. We are losing millions of our children to inferior schools and catastrophically misguided and ineffective so-called education reforms that are wasting billions of dollars, destroying the teaching profession and causing widespread chaos in public education. We are, in effect, destroying the future of our republic.

Our public school children, rich and poor, do not need toxic stress, unqualified temp teachers, unreliable and universal standardized tests, system-wide disruption, eliminated arts and recess, excessive screen time, and schools forced to compete with each other instead of collaborate. There is no evidence that any of this improves learning, yet this is what we are forcing on our nation’s children.