Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It Should Be An Interesting Year!

The Willow Run/Ypsilanti consolidation passed, and so did the accompanying millage. (In Willow Run, the consolidation millage passed did not pass by very much.) Over the next year, we'll see how that will play out in many different ways.

The emergency manager law was repealed--it is unclear what that will mean for school districts that have emergency managers, but there are several districts that currently have emergency managers--although none in Washtenaw County.

Deb Mexicotte won in the Ann Arbor school board election, which means that we have the same school board that we have had for the past year.

Diane Friese and Karen Delhey won in the Saline school board election, which is interesting because they each ran on a slate with someone else, so essentially one person from each "slate" won. Friese is a retired teacher who now illustrates children's books. Delhey works as the senior director of marketing for The Guild of Artists and Artisans, a non-profit artist membership organization that produces five art fairs, including the Ann Arbor Art Fair. She is also vice president of the Foundation for Saline Area Schools. (Can she stay on as vice president of the Foundation for Saline Area Schools? I don't know.) Given their arts backgrounds, it would be nice if that meant that the arts got a special focus in the Saline schools. (In reality, I think giving the arts a special focus is a nice thing in any school district.)

Lincoln schools were able to renew their operating millage and their recreation and education millage.

Oh, and Landau and Morton won for Washtenaw Community College--which is a good thing because I'm not really sure how someone who was barred from the campus (Figg) could serve on the board of WCC.

On the national and state level, we'll have to see how changes affect the educational landscape.

Update: Diane Ravitch points out two of the most important national votes affecting education.

She says that the most important education related vote took place in Indiana, where the Indiana Superintendent of Education, Tony Bennett, was ousted. According to Diane Ravitch's blog, he was:
. . . the face of rightwing reform in America.
His mission was to bring the ALEC agenda to life in the Hoosier State.
He was head of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change, the group of state superintendents that were most eager to privatize public education, expand charters and vouchers, turn children over to for-profit corporations, and reduce the status of teachers.
He was honored by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute as the “reformiest” state superintendent in the nation.
 In another important set of votes in Idaho, the "Luna Laws" were defeated. According to Ravitch,
Voters in Idaho gave Mitt Romney a landslide  but simultaneously voted overwhelmingly to repeal the “Luna Laws,” the brainchild of state superintendent Tom Luna...
The Luna Laws imposed a mandate for online courses for high school graduates (a favorite of candidates funded by technology companies), made test scores the measure of teacher quality, provided bonuses for teachers whose students got higher scores, removed all teacher rights, eliminated anything resembling tenure or seniority, turned teachers into at-will employees, and squashed the teachers’ unions.
The campaign to support the Luna laws was heavily funded by technology entrepreneurs and out-of-state supporters of high-stakes testing and restrictions on the teaching profession, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The voters in this reddest of red states overturned all three of the Luna laws (which he called “Students Come First”; anything in which children or students or kids come “first” is a clear tip-off to the divisive intent of the program).
Ravitch also reports on a charter schools law that (just barely) passed in Washington state.

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