Letter to the Editor: State Education Legislation is 'Bad for Birmingham'

Birmingham Board of Education argues house bills 6004, 5923 and state bill 1358 "create a new Lansing bureaucracy that tells Birmingham and other high performing schools how to operate."

This letter was received by Birmingham Patch Editor Laura Houser.

Kill HB 6004, 5923, and SB 1358 — It’s like a federal takeover of state’s rights

Representative Moss and Senator Pappageorge, please do not support the school district ruining bills which are snaking their way through the lame duck legislative session. These bills will gut the competitive educational excellence our communities expect and undermine the very structure which supports strong property values. They create a new Lansing bureaucracy that tells Birmingham and other high performing schools how to operate.

Please don’t support bills fueled by the mutation of a single interlocal agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University. From this single LOCAL agreement the legislation authorizes the type of unrepresentative command and control structures we fight to prevent when the federal government imposes unfunded mandates upon our state.

The bills allow for the state confiscation of locally funded school properties, they override local control funded by local taxation, they create public vouchers, they enable provisions for uncontrolled charter schools, and they throw open the borders of our district. How can a new level of government, not elected or responsible to the local constituency (itself an anathema to the sponsors of the legislation), be a good thing?

School improvement can and does work under the current system of locally elected, locally responsible, and locally involved representatives. If legislators want to help struggling districts then establish TEMPORARY, proportionally representative boards that bring voices from the state superintendent, the state board of education, and Michigan Department of Education to the table. Do not add new, unrepresentative levels of bureaucracy and costs to Michigan’s education system. Do not take our buildings, do not mandate open borders, and do not impose a state-sponsored “federalization” of our local school districts.

HB 6004, 5923 and SB 1358 are bad for Birmingham and other high performing schools. The bills subvert local control and attack the foundation of the strong property values we’ve help to build. The bills add costs, bureaucracy, and complexity.  Worst of all, the bills assume faceless bureaucrats in Lansing know what’s better for our kids than we do and that’s not right. We represent tens of thousands of voters who elected us to protect their schools, educate their children, and enhance their communities; do not ignore our voices. Kill these bills.

Birmingham Board of Education: Michael Fenberg, Robert Lawrence, Susan Hill, Steve Scheidt, Chris Conti, Geri Rinschler
Birmingham Superintendent Daniel Nerad

The viewpoints in this letter are those of the writers, and Patch is not responsible for any ideas portrayed as facts. For questions and clarifications, please leave a comment below or contact editor Laura Houser at laura.houser@patch.com or 248-534-9780.

Ken Jackson November 26, 2012 at 02:46 PM
It would be useful to circulate this letter to "other Patches" (Patched in?) like Bloomfield, Troy, etc.....as their districts are at risk from this lame duck legislation as well


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