While there are many more men involved in their kids’ education than in my father’s day, women (moms) still pretty much run the show. At my daughters’ elementary school in Birmingham there were at least twice as many mothers as teachers in or around the school at any hour of the day.
Such is life in top Districts like Birmingham, Bloomfield, Troy, and, “up north” in Ada, Forest Hills.
As many school administrators are themselves moms, I suspect they understand the intensity of this activity which blurs together extraordinary civic volunteerism and unadulterated advocacy for an individual child. Administrators know what the moms know. The 21st century is not the 20th . Competition in a newly globalized context is incredible and this competition starts as early as preschool. Even after finding your way in to a top district any parent worries constantly about preparing your child for success. Many who grew up in Michigan can remember the days when admission to the U. of Michigan required only residency, a 3.0 GPA, and a 21 on your ACT. Those days are long, long gone. Consequently, many moms work feverishly to know their child’s school, its teachers, its administrators, its dynamics and then insert themselves into that milieu in a way that best benefits the school – and, of course, their own kid or kids.
In that spirit, then, I think it important that Birmingham, Bloomfield, and Troy moms of public education students get to know perhaps the most important woman in their child’s educational future: Lisa Posthumus Lyons, 32, of Alto, Republican member of the Michigan House of Representatives.
State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto was appointed in her first stint as a representative in March 2012 to chair the House Education Committee and serve as assistant majority floor leader just as Governor Snyder was ramping up his promised school reforms, reforms his chosen educational guru – Richard McLellan – agrees will “destroy” public education as we know it, including Birmingham, Bloomfield and Troy schools. Her powerful position stems, in part, from her father, former Lt. Governor Dick Posthumous and primary campaign advisor and supporter of Governor Rick Snyder.
She was re-elected this fall and, while unsuccessful at moving major school reforms through committee in December’s rather remarkable lame-duck session, she gets back to work on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The first order of business will be to try and pass the much amended HB6004 that sought to establish the Detroit based 4 month old EAA as a new statewide school “District” with enormous power to, amongst other things, seize various school properties to help fund new charter schools.
Lyons grew up – the fourth generation – on the 800-acre family farm in Alto. Fittingly, then, at Michigan State she received a BA in Agricultural and Resources Communication. Before taking office, she served as director of public policy and community outreach for the Grand Rapids Realtors Association (although I don’t know what such a post involves). She also worked on the Board of Directors of Alpha Women’s Center in Grand Rapids, a crisis pregnancy counseling center whose “mission is to show compassion . . . and to seek mercy for the unborn.” Other leadership experience she cites: she was the point guard on her high school basketball team (Lowell). Not surprisingly, given her upbringing, she likes hunting, fishing, and exploring the woods and is an NRA member. She has four kids, four and under. She attends Ada Bible Church, an ever expanding congregation with a vibrant social network for families and children. She identifies her husband as a Sheriff’s Deputy in Kent County. I say identifies as Lyons ran in to a tiny bit of bad press when, during the brief discussions about right to work legislation in December, she tried to get an amendment through that would give her husband’s union (to others he is identified as a Corrections Officer) the same exemptions as police and firefighters. This failed.
She likes George Strait and her favorite movie is the late Chris Farley vehicle Tommy Boy.
Potentially, again, her thoughts on public education will influence your child’s education more than your child’s current teacher or principal.
If, as a very busy mother of a child in a top district, you have something to say to Representative Posthumous Lyons you can write her as “Chair of the House Education Committee.”