TO: Parents and Taxpayers interested in maintaining the top rated schools in the state and the property values that are tied to those districts
FROM: A BHSD parent of two selfishly interested in maintaining his kids’ top rated schools and the property value of his recently purchased home.
RE: You get to choose nothing and risk everything if you follow The Oxford Foundation.
Governor Snyder’s Oxford Foundation Group is not interested in having a debate about curriculum or what kind of schools work best in the state.
They are interested, first, in providing a political screen for pending House Bill (5923) that could be taken up in the "lame duck" session after Thanksgiving. Ask friend of the local schools Chuck Moss. They provide that screen by “assuming” said school code will be rewritten to include language like this:
“Within available resources, the parent or legal guardian of each child is entitled to choose among available public or non-public schools for some or all of the education necessary to develop the child’s intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment.”
If so amended your top rated and highly functioning District – Birmingham, Bloomfield, Troy, etc. – will be obligated to spend some of their per pupil allocation on whatever educational business venture comes down the pike.
Your District won’t get any more of the state’s 14.6 billion total education budget than it does now. There is, after all, only one chunk of change and we aren't going to cough up anymore state tax mone. But you will have to give some of what your District already gets to, for example, Bill and Tony’s Math Academy.
Why? Because The Oxford Foundation thinks you should have a “choice.”
In moving to Birmingham, BHSD, etc. you didn't make a REAL choice. The Governor wants to help with that. So do Bill and Tony.
If you choose to send your kid to Bill and Tony’s Math Academy instead of Seaholm or the new Bloomfield High School and Bill and Tony’s Math Academy – like a lot of new restaurants – goes under in a year or two scuttling your kids’ chance at a good university? Well, you done plain made a bad business choice. The assorted contractors and office supply folks that got state money to get Bill and Tony’s up and running? They made a good business choice. Mom bad at business; contractor good at business (insert Tim Allen in Detroit Lion's jersey grunting).
Will your District get back the money that went to fund Bill and Tony’s and caused your District to cut a program (it is always art and music to start so let’s assume huge cuts in arts and music – we want to be “career-ready” in Michigan and who has a career in the arts or music in a global economy in a digital age)?
No money goes back to the District but there will be some consequences. Since your District’s funds were cut its “performance” dropped. Since its performance dropped your District will get less per pupil allocation because the governor and his folk want to reward the winners (yay! Winners! Boo losers!).
Now, when Tina and Mary’s Science Academy opens up your District will have less to give them because of poor performance cuts, but your district will still have to ante up so that there can be “choice” and competition.
Don’t worry, though, Tina and Mary won’t need as much. Tina and Mary’s Science Academy is on line and therefore less expensive. They don’t know anything about science but they are very energetic and excited so you shouldn’t be a hater and plus they always so wanted to open a business. They went to school, right? Degreessmegees. Courses will be taught by “adjuncts” at local community colleges who are willing to do what used to be called “piece” work for ridiculously low sums (The Oxford Foundation loves adjuncts!). Adjuncts are a fairly demoralized group, moving from spot to spot so don’t expect terribly encouraging parent teacher conferences.
Sorry: the plug gets pulled on Tina and Mary’s Science Academy after 6 months. Tina married a dentist, one of the adjuncts got a tenure-track job in Alabama where higher education funding exceeds Michigan's, and the other one was hospitalized for depression and anxiety trying to meet the demands of “24/7 education" while being paid 4k per term.
Surely your District will get compensated? No, no, no, no.
In Governor Snyder’s Michigan we demand transparency and accountability of schools. What happened was this: When the money to pay staffers at your District to help manage the 25 page monthly teacher evaluation forms didn’t get turned in on time you took a “penalty” from the state.
The state was that accurate in its record keeping to assess a penalty/late fee for tardy teacher evaluations?
Oh yes. You see another part of the 14 billion went to create the massive Database system that will monitor and manage these start –ups and how well the “District of Enrollment” – that is, the District you used to know as Birmingham, BHSD, Troy – handles the massive administrative work of “seamless” education. Think the DMV, only for your kids’ education. How much will that take out of the 14 billion? Let's worry about that after we amend the law and open up the budget so there can be "choice."
Good. We can move on to either Al and Bill’s Physics Academy or John’s Jamboree of Genius Junior Engineers.