With more assets than Koch or DeVos, the Bradley Foundation also impacts policy in Michigan and the Midwest

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

We all know what influence that the Acton Institute and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy had in making Michigan a Right to Work state a few years ago. Funding from the DeVos Family certainly played a role in pushing for Michigan to become a Right to Work state.

However, new research coming out of the Wisconsin-based group, the Center for Media & Democracy (CMD), has uncovered the influence of a little known entity known as the Bradley Foundation. According to the CMD: 

Documents examined by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) expose a national effort funded by the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation to assess and expand right-wing “infrastructure” to influence policies and politicians in statehouses nationwide.

The documents open a window to the behind-the-scenes workings of one of America’s largest right-wing foundations. With $835 million in assets as of June 2016, the Bradley Foundation…

View original post 753 more words


CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

The Long Run

Raising tiny humans is nuts. It is nuclear space brain science jumping-over-the-Grand-Canyon-on-a-tricycle nuts. And yet I am hopeful.

I come at that hopefulness from a not-entirely-usual perspective. I am, aa of yesterday, the father of two new twin boys, and my wife and I are contemplating the tremendous challenge we have been set. These tiny humans are fraught with all sorts of possibility and promise and potential and somehow we area supposed to unlock all of that without making a hash of things.  It’s scary.

I’m not whether I have it better or worse than my wife. These are her first kids, but I have been the clown at this rodeo before. My children from my previous marriage are now thirty-something, married, and working on (or about to work on) the parenting thing themselves. I can remember when they were as tiny as the twins are today,  But I can also remember the things that I regret, the moments that were serious missteps as a father, the ways large and small that I have failed them over the years. The good news– despite my shortcomings, they have grown up to become two of the best people I know. How did that happen, exactly? I have no idea.

So I am in the unique position of having a good view of the rough drafts of two future grown humans, and the final product of two others. And I could not claim to have any more than the slightest idea o. f the road from Point A to Point R.

All parents contemplate the long and twisty road. Is there anything more hilarious to a parent than listening some not-yet-a-parent talk about what their child absolutely will or will not do when that child is in the world. It’s hilarious because every parent knows that there is no simple cause and effect– if you want a child to develop Quality A, you simply pull Lever 4. Raising a child involve a million hard-to-read details and factors and moments of unexpected surprise and grace Sitting here in the hospital room, we have no way of knowing what the twins will be like in ten years; heck, we aren’t sure how we’re going to spend next Wednesday.

These are the kinds of things I think about every time I hear an educational whiz wonk declare that to get kids with Quality A, you just press Buttons 3, 5, and 11. Fat  chance. I would love to raise these two boys to be as great as their older brother and sister, but I can’t do what I did before, and I wouldn’t want to if I could.

So when you tell me that if I just implement your program and keep performing it year after year, I will keep producing row after row of students with the same skills and the same qualities, I’m going to laugh at you, because what you are proposing is patently ridiculous. What you’re proposing is silly and wrong. It’s a long road, with many turns nd corners, and we never travel the same stretch of it twice. Imaging we can standardize our travel plans reveals a limited understanding of education, and of human beings.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: The Long Run

Lead plaintiff in 3% retirement case fought for fairness but died waiting for Snyder to return her money

One year ago, Lansing teacher Deborah McMillan pressed Gov. Rick Snyder to stop appealing the 3 percent retirement court case.
The 40-year veteran teacher was a lead plaintiff in the 2010 lawsuit seeking the return of money involuntarily taken from school employees’ paychecks.
McMillan marched in protests last summer and helped to deliver 33,000 petition signatures to Snyder’s office on behalf of MEA members who want their money returned, as three separate court rulings have ordered. 
“The longer this case drags on, the more that school employees like myself feel even more dissed, demeaned and devalued by those who were elected to represent us,” the longtime educator and union activist said at a press conference last June. 
Unfortunately, McMillan did not live to see the final resolution of the case, which has continued for nearly seven years as Snyder filed multiple appeals of trial and appellate court rulings in favor of MEA and AFT-Michigan. 
McMillan died in March from complications following a knee replacement surgery.
“She was supposed to be retiring this month, and everything is upside down now,” said her husband of 43 years, Chuck McMillan.

Read more…Source: Lead Plaintiff in 3% Retirement Case Fought for Fairness – Michigan Education Association

How “Law and Order” Policies Inflict Violence on Students of Color, and What We Can Do About It | National Education Policy Center

BOULDER, CO (June 8, 2017) – Over the past decade, a series of publicized, tragic shootings has highlighted the reality that Black, Latinx, and Native American youth are more likely to be killed or injured as a result of routine interactions with police. At the same time, the harmful effects of zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools have been documented in research and in journalistic accounts.

A new report released today by the National Education Policy Center explores how these and other injustices inflict violence on students of color. It describes how violence within the system of public education is inextricably bound up with violence in the larger society within which schools are embedded. The authors then outline local and state policy alternatives that work to restore dignity and wellbeing.

The report, titled Law and Order in School and Society: How Discipline and Policing Policies Harm Students of Color, and What We Can Do About It, was authored by Janelle Scott, Michele Moses, Kara Finnigan, Tina Trujillo and Darrell Jackson.

“The violence and trauma inflicted upon students of color is sometimes overt and direct,” said Janelle Scott, associate professor of education at the University of California, Berkeley. “That’s what we experience with police shootings of young, unarmed people of color, which are immediate, shocking and brutal, as are disproportional police stops and arrests of people of color.” But she stressed that “ongoing, sustained traumas experienced by children in our schools are also brutal.”

Kara Finnigan, associate professor at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education added, “in urban contexts, students experience schools that are segregated and are continuously undergoing disruptive reforms such as turnaround and closure. Added to this instability and separation are policies that invite school police to actively ticket and arrest, plus harsh discipline policies focused on suspension and expulsion.”

The report highlights how attempts to achieve “law and order” unfairly target students of color with a systemic form of violence that harms their abilities to secure equitable and just schooling.

This violence is preventable, explained Michele Moses, professor of education at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“Policymakers at all levels of educational and social systems have an opportunity to design a robust system of supports that address the many opportunity gaps children of color and low-income families face inside and outside of school,” she said.

The report stresses that change must occur at multiple levels and in multiple institutions. For schools specifically, it offers eight recommendations, split between the local and state levels, as alternatives to current ineffective and counter-productive education policies.

Local Approaches

  • Coordinate communication and planning so that municipalities and school districts work together on policing, housing, transportation, and racial disparities.
  • Redirect funds currently spent on school resource officers to expenditures shown to improve student engagement and social connectivity, including increasing the number of guidance counselors, advanced-level and enrichment courses, socio-emotional learning curricula, and high-quality extra-curricular activities.
  • Invest in the creation or support of racially and socioeconomically integrated schools.
  • Integrate community-based policing programs with school restorative and transformative justice initiatives to shift the emphasis from discipline and punishment toward capacity building, relationship building, and positive behavioral interventions and supports.

State Policies

  • Require teachers, school leaders, and all security staff to receive intensive preparation, trauma-informed professional development, and ongoing training on the causes of, and remedies for, racial inequality within and outside of school.
  • Require reporting of in-school and out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for traditional public schools and charter schools, disaggregated by race and gender. Develop interventions for schools with racially identifiable, disproportionate rates of these disciplinary actions.
  • Develop multiple measures of schools’ effectiveness in place of narrowly focused test-based measures. Use these data to develop more positive, supportive interventions aimed at decreasing suspension, expulsion, and referral rates.
  • Create teacher-police collaborative networks and invest in “grow your own” teacher preparation programs that help to develop, support, and retain teachers of color and teachers committed to equitable educational practices.

Find Law and Order in School and Society: How Discipline and Policing Policies Harm Students of Color, and What We Can Do About It, by Janelle Scott, Michele Moses, Kara Finnigan, Tina Trujillo and Darrell Jackson, at: http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/law-and-order

This policy brief was made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (greatlakescenter.org).

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu