Monday, November 26, 2012

Don't Let the Legislature Take "Public" Out of "Public Schools"

Michigan Parents for Schools (whom I thanked in this post, just this past week!) has just put out an important action alert.

They write,

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 [link] 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.
This bill also requires school districts to sell or lease unused school buildings to the EAA or any other charter school, and requires the district to maintain empty buildings, at their own expense, until someone wants to use it. (Senate Bill 1358 is a twin of the House bill.)
  • House Bill 5923 [link] 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.

Michigan Parents for Schools also notes that:

On the horizon

The third leg of this effort to take away community control emerged last week in the form of a draft replacement for the School Aid Act. [link] The proposal, slated to become part of Gov. Snyder's next budget, represents a radical shift in how public schools work.

What can I say? It is really important that we contact our legislators right now. Why rush these things through during lame duck sessions? I try to be an optimist but the cynic in me says that they are doing this during lame duck session because they think if enough people find out about these bills, they will not survive.  I've written about these bills before here.

The Michigan Parents for Schools Action Alerts make things really easy.

Please click on this link and send the Governor and your legislators a note

(And you should feel free to call the Governor and legislators as well!)

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