House Members Announce Legislation on Detroit Schools

High-performing charter schools are one of states’ important tools to ensure low-income students and children of color have access to great public education – but only if they’re truly high-performing,Amber Arellano told Chastity Pratt Dawsey on Detroit Today .

Michigan needs more high-performing schools of every kind, including charter schools, she added.  Michigan’s charter sector is not as high-performing as it should be, in part because of Michigan’s lack of accountability for charter authorizers’ performance.  Indeed, one of the differences between top education states – like Massachusetts – and Michigan is a lack of such accountability.

“We’ve taken an approach of not holding charter authorizers accountable, including when they have low performance,” said Arellano.

“There is a way for the state to provide leadership in the sector, and that’s through the state Department of Education,” Arellano continued. “We’re calling on State Superintendent Brian Whiston to use the limited authority that he does have to act to ensure that these authorizers are doing a good job for their students.

Listen to the full conversation here.

Detroit’s High-Performing University Preparatory Science & Math High


The following excerpt is from Accountability for All: 2016. For more on U. Prep Science & Math High, click here.

Reflect, reset and growth are the tenets echoed when discussing the accomplishments of University Preparatory Science & Math (UPSM) High School, a high-performing Detroit charter school authorized by Grand Valley State University (GVSU). From the operator—Detroit 90/90—to its administrators and teachers, this reflective mindset permeates the charter school.

“A personal goal of mine is making academics urgent,” says Principal Zetia Hogan. That goal-setting is felt throughout the classrooms; an engaged and focused atmosphere fills the school. In 2013-14, Michigan named UPSM a top-performing “reward” school, with 80 percent of all students achieving proficiency in reading.

Hogan’s primary method of achieving this goal is by supporting teachers to take ownership of their impact on student achievement. She strongly believes that when teachers are supported, they can better serve their students. So UPSM school leaders frequently observe teachers and provide helpful, high-caliber feedback.

In addition, GVSU—the school’s authorizer—sets rigorous academic benchmarks. GVSU staff also provide teachers with professional development opportunities and convene administrators across the schools that they authorize to collaborate and share successful initiatives.

For more on U. Prep Science & Math High, click here.

Capitol Update

House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees. Last week, appropriation subcommittees in both houses considered the Governor’s recommendation for the Fiscal Year 2016-17 school aid and department of education budgets. Additional hearings are anticipated in the coming weeks.

Senate Committee on Government Operations. Last week, the committee continued to hear testimony on Senate Bills 710 and 711(Hansen – R), both related to Detroit Public Schools, for the third time. No votes were taken during the hearing. Click for video of the February 16 hearing, the February 9 hearing and theFebruary 4 hearing.

Group of House Republicans Propose Plan Aimed at Detroit. Thebroad package includes bills related to governance, finance, academics, employee retirement and collective bargaining. This proposal comes after three weeks of hearings on bills aimed at addressing Detroit Public Schools troubled finances in the Senate Government Operations committee.

Upcoming Meetings:
House School Aid Appropriations Subcommittee. Tuesday, February 23 at 10:30 am in room 426 of the State Capitol Building. Agenda: At-Risk Funding and Early Childhood Funding.

House Appropriations Committee. Wednesday, February 24 at 8:15 am in room 352 of the State Capitol Building. Agenda: Detroit Public Schools. The committee will hear testimony on the House Republican proposal, including House Bills 5382 (Pscholka – R), 5383 (Price – R),5384 (Garcia – R), 5385 (Poleski – R), 5386 (Jacobsen – R) and 5387(Garcia – R).

House Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Wednesday, February 24 at 10:30 am in room 426 of the State Capitol Building.Agenda: Library of Michigan and public libraries’ programs and services.

Click here for full update.