Tired of watching the various news channels discuss Michigan's "Right to Work" legislation day, I switched to local cable programming.
I caught 40th District - elect Mike McCready talking with outgoing state Representative Chuck Moss ("Eye on Oakland") about a number of things, including school reform.
I am now following Mr. McCready's political career with great interest as, like him, I have two kids in school and live in Bloomfield. I really didn't track Mr. Moss as closely as I should have even though he was a seemingly ubiquitous presence. As the state is interested in managing schools I need to watch Mr. McCready as closely as I watch the schoolboard, my kids' teachers, and their administrators. Just part of the parenting job.
At any rate, Mr. McCready told Mr. Moss he had been hearing about school reform legislation for sometime now (thank goodness -- unlike his predecessor, his receiver seems to work better than his transmitter). And then he asked Mr. Moss what he thought about pending reforms.
Mr. Moss gave his standard talking points about HB6004 and expressed, again, his deep concern for Highland Park and why HB6004 will finally help Highland Park. Mr. Moss supports this bill, of course. Given this was a taped broadcast, though, we don't know what Rep. Moss thinks about the sensible revisions members of the State Senate have provided (the bill will probably pass this week in a modified form -- not everything Richard McLellan wanted but perhaps it is enough for the man the Governor has decided will decide the fate of public education in Michigan). In its amended form HB6004 may not help Highland Park as much as Mr. Moss desires. We just don't know.
Mr. Moss did take the moment to say this bill isn't related to his District (although the bill's author, Richard McLellan thinks otherwise). Birmingham Schools, Mr. Moss says, our "fabulous." BHSD? "Fabulous." Rochester and Troy? Great, too.
This flirtation with reality was fleeting, however.
Mr. McCready then asked about HB5923, the bill that really threatens BHSD and Birmingham schools in that it will over time shift increasingly limited state funds to charter and "cyber" schools for K-12 kids. Mr. Moss explained he supports this, too, and explained he does so, in part, because his kids weren't well suited to public schools so they went to an "alternative" school.
The alternative school? Cranbrook.
Now Mr. Moss is gracious enough to acknowledge not every family can afford an alternative like Cranbrook. And this is why he likes the bill. Mr. Moss told Mr. McCready that he wants all parents to have options for "alternatives" like Cranbrook and he believes HB5923 will provide this. A thousand Cranbrooks? Cranbrook on line? We just don't know.
Mr. McCready, to his credit, kept a straight face.
He will need the straight face in the days ahead.