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How do I react?

Nancy: Joe, did Barack just endorse charter schools as an example of what’s working in public education?
Joe: I think he did.
Nancy: Everyone looks like they are about to applaud. What should we do?
Joe: Do you think the cameras are on us right now?
Nancy: I don’t know. Maybe they’re taking a shot of Landrieu. She’s all over charters down there in Louisiana.
Joe: My state has given charters a real rough time lately, and I don’t think my constituents donors would appreciate my showing any support.
Nancy: Mine neither. What should we do?
Joe: Let’s just scowl. It always worked for Cheney. I don’t know if he ever smiled at these things.


How low can you go?

Congratulations go out to Detroit Public Schools who seem to have finagled a bailout from a friendly state legislature. Surely the Michigan House of Representatives has much to admire about their largest school district – dismal achievement scores, distressing drop out rates and mismanaged budgets on a scale even a Wall Street bank executive could admire.

So, in the face of all that accomplishment, and with nothing else seeming to occupy their legislative agenda, what could responsible elected officials do other than reward DPS?

1) Allow for more choice and educational opportunity for Detroit children and their parents.

2) Tighten financial accountability to ensure money is going where it should.

3) Throw more money and resources at the problem in hopes that it will go away. 

House Democrats have seen fit to lower the standards of what defines a “first class school district” from 100,000 students to 60,000 students, allowing for continued funding and other perks.

One perk the teachers’ union has fought for is blocking charter school growth in the city. With a current enrollment of just over 94,000 kids, Detroit is poised to lose its “first class” standing under current law. Without a legislative re-definition, the restriction on community colleges authorizing new charter schools would be lifted.

The House may consider the new definition of a “first class school district” today, and with a party line vote expected, congratulations to DPS and the teachers’ union on your victory. If you lower expectations enough, perhaps one day you will be seen as successful.

Keep up the good work.


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