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School Chiefs on Critical Assurances for School Choice

Last week, a bipartisan group of reform-minded district and state superintendents, with extensive experience with charter schools and other forms of school choice, issued a statement on any proposal for the expansion of school choice, such as the Trump Administration’s proposed budget.

In the statement, these influential school system leaders called for three critical assurances:

  • An assurance of fairness in enrollment and admission, and accountability for serving all students well. This should include low-income students, students with disabilities and English learners.
  • An assurance of quality, including enforceable standards of quality. As previously reported by Ed Trust-Midwest, Michigan has no minimum quality bar for opening, expanding or renewing charter school contracts.
  • An assurance of resource equity, so those schools serving students with the greatest need have the necessary resources to meet those needs.

As Michigan has clearly demonstrated, choice without quality is no choice at all. We applaud Chiefs for Change for their leadership on this issue, and hope that Michigan’s Superintendent of Education will stand with this group in demanding quality for all students in all schools, and hold schools accountable for the learning of all Michigan students.

New U.S. Education Budget Proposes to Gut More Than $150 Million For Michigan’s Rural and Urban Students, Teacher Support

Last week, the Trump Administration proposed a $9.2 billion dollar cut to the federal education budget. If passed, this devastating cut would impact Michigan students, especially students of color and low-income children who often live in rural and urban neighborhoods.

The budget plan proposes to repurpose $1 billion of Title I funding, currently used to support the education of low-income students, to follow low-income students to charter schools. This is concerning in a state like Michigan, where charter schools have largely failed to live up to their promise of providing a better education than traditional public school options. Also included is $250 million for private school vouchers. Michigan currently receives more than $450 million each year in Title I funding.

Additionally, the proposed cuts would have a far reach and cut hundreds of millions of dollars from Michigan students. Proposed cuts include:

  • The elimination of Title II funds, which help reduce class size and provide professional development for teachers. Michigan stands to lose more than $120 million as a result of this cut.
  • Elimination of a program, currently providing $35 million to Michigan districts for after school and summer programs for students attending high-poverty and low-performing schools, largely in urban and rural communities.
  • Significant cuts to the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, currently providing more than $37 million each year for CTE programs in Michigan.
  • Several changes that will make it more difficult for all Americans to access higher education, including: ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which enables many to go into teaching, instead of a higher-paid profession; and raiding nearly $4 Billion from the Pell Grant Reserves, used to help low-income students pay for college.

Noteworthy News

An Assault on the American DreamJohn King, Jr, U.S. News & World Report

Betsy DeVos Refuses to Rule Out Giving Funds to Schools That DiscriminateErica L. Green, The New York Times

Closing Michigan’s teacher pension system to new hires would cost billions, analysis showsBrian McVicar, MLive

Detroit’s renaissance depends on success of schoolsRochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press

Capitol Update

No education-related committee meetings are currently scheduled for next week. For an updated committee schedule, click here.

Tweet of the Week

@NatUrbanLeague: 63 yrs after #BrownvBoard, we’re still dreaming about a day when the achievement gap is nonexistent. -@sharirunner bit.ly/2lDe6Gj

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