BHS Urges for Local Presence in Education Reform Debate

A series of meetings across the county is planned to educate and mobilize public school supporters, starting Tuesday in Bloomfield Hills.


Officials with the Bloomfield Hills Schools are urging residents concerned about potentially sweeping education reform in Michigan to attend a series of informational meetings starting Tuesday across Oakland County.

The series begins with Dave Randels, Assistant Director of the Office of Government Relations and Pupil Services for Oakland Schools, who will speak about Gov. Rick Snyder's Education Funding Proposal from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Doyle Center.

"Michigan is embarking on a very radical experiment with our children - one that is untested and untried," the alert on the district's website said. "We need to come together to learn about this movement and what we can do about it."

This proposals, if adopted, will have a significant impact on school systems and funding, and thus every child slated to attend public school statewide. Specifically, the method for how students are counted for state aid and removing restrictions on funding for each pupil that could be shared by districts, are in the proposal. It also calls for expanding online education program and removing school district stewardship of a student's per-pupil allocation by geographic boundaries.

Local fears intensified over the past two weeks as it became clear the changes were scheduled for consideration during the 'lame-duck' legislative session before the end of the year.

"Make yourself informed and understand what's coming our way, and educate your neighbors," BHS Trustee Ed Ford said at the board's last meeting. "Where ever you fall (politically) on what they’re doing, you have to understand what they’re doing. We're going to keep watching, and will be motivated to engage, but we can’t really do anything if the parents are not informed."

Ford also called for a meeting with local legislators to discuss the proposals. It was unclear Monday if one with them was scheduled.

The schedule for the other county-wide meetings:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 4 p.m. Royal Oak Middle School
  • Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m. 709 N. Washington Ave., Royal Oak 48067
  • Wednesday, Nov.28, 4 p.m. Novi High School
  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 6:30 p.m. 24062 Taft, Novi 48375
  • Thursday, Nov. 29, 4 p.m. Farmington Schools– Ten Mile Building
  • Thursday, Nov. 29, 6:30 p.m. 32789 W. Ten Mile, Farmington
  • Monday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. Rochester High School
  • Monday, Dec. 3, 6:30 pm. 180 S. Livernois, Rochester 48307
  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, 4 p.m. Clarkston Jr. High School
  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, 6:30 p.m. 6595 Waldon Road, Clarkston 48346
art November 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM
I wonder how much "objective" information we will be getting from Mr. Randels
Cathy O'Connor November 27, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Art, There is a meeting tonight for BHS Tuesday, November 27th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Doyle Center (7273 Wing Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301. Cathy O'Connor
Marcia Robovitsky November 27, 2012 at 01:16 PM
http://oxfordfoundationmi.com The DRAFT of the legislation did not appear on the website until Nov. 19 and public comment can be sent to the Oxford Foundation by December 14. New input and concerns will aid in a REVISION of the draft. The schools have been opposing the VISION of Governor Snyder's education financing reform long before the draft of the School Aid Financial Act was even written. Yes, there are changes. However, the FACTS of the proposed legislation need to be discussed. I hope that Mr. Randels will do that tonight.
Marcia Robovitsky November 27, 2012 at 01:51 PM
taken from: http://bridgemi.com/2012/11/school-choice-not-your-fathers-old-classroom/ Legislative puzzle Michigan legislators have before them a variety of public education bills that could fundamentally alter how the state oversees and funds local classrooms: House Bill 5923: Referred to as the “super choice” bill by some, this measure would significantly rewrite the state school code that governs public education. A variety of special designations could be issued to organizers that, among other things, want to create single-gender schools, or offer classes to tuition-paying foreign students or provide an online school. The bill was introduced in September, but has not received action in the House. House Bill 6004/Senate Bill 1358: These bills are designed to codify in state law an education oversight authority first brokered via an interlocal agreement between Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan University. The legislation also would mandate a statewide inventory of public school buildings and allow a statewide educational authority to control, use and modify vacant school buildings now under the control of local school districts. The bills were introduced in early November, but have not received votes in either chamber. CONTINUE on next comment space....
Marcia Robovitsky November 27, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Continued...... Senate Bill 620: Known as the “parent trigger” bill, this measure would allow parents to petition the state to “convert” a traditional public school that is among the 5 percent worst-performing to a “conversion” school with a new operator. It passed the Senate 20-18 in June, but has not received action in the House. “The Oxford bill”: This document isn’t an official piece of legislation, but rather a draft measure developed and presented by Richard McLellan and the Oxford Foundation at the behest of Gov. Rick Snyder. The focus of the draft is a rewrite of the state’s School Aid Act, which governs how money is distributed to public schools.
Marcia Robovitsky November 27, 2012 at 01:57 PM
the below quote was taken from this article: http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/17970 "The school funding proposal introduced here does not provide any public funds for private schools, and with good reason: If it had, the bill would be unconstitutional. Article VIII, section 2 of the Michigan constitution states: No payment, credit, tax benefit, exemption or deductions, tuition voucher, subsidy, grant or loan of public monies or property shall be provided, directly or indirectly, to support the attendance of any student or the employment of any person at any such nonpublic school... This means that the state would first have to amend the Michigan Constitution to implement anything that would even remotely resemble a genuine school voucher program. But this fact does not stop the public school establishment from trying to use the threat of vouchers to stir up opposition to any and all education reform ideas. "
Mac November 27, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Today's Bridge article: "Michigan’s current cyber school – the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy – has a spotty academic record. Low-income students scored worse on 8th grade math than similar students in Detroit, or Grand Rapids; among 11th grade students at the cyber school, not one student scored at a proficient level in math." http://bridgemi.com/2012/11/bills-would-turn-michigan-into-super-choice-state/
Marcia Robovitsky November 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM
That is why CHOICE is important. Parents....don't choose that for your child! Choose to stay at BHS or whatever school you are currently happy with. From what I read, BHS and other school districts do not have to admit students from outside their boundaries. I hope to hear more about that at tonight's meeting.
Ken Jackson November 27, 2012 at 02:33 PM
There is a nice article on this event on Birmingham Patch. Nice letter from a Bham parent, too. As this involves shared issues across districts I wish the patches would patch things together. Apparently Mr. Moss doesn't know much about all this school reform business ("there is gambling at Rick's") but does generally like the idea of local control (bully for him) -- one hopes that will restrain his enthusiasm, at least, for a lame duck vote. One would hope local legislative would be able to provide all the "facts" for their constituents involving a whole sale change to school funding and a redefining of school districts. Maybe in January
Linda November 27, 2012 at 08:09 PM
This legislation to improve education will likely being out the worst in the educational establishment monopoly....wise voters will see the merit in Smyder's proposals just as they did with Maroun's bridge.
Neal Charness November 27, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Linda: Are you agreeing or disagreeing with the Governor's proposals? Your last sentence looks like you're equating the ill fated attempt to preserve the bridge monopoly with the governor's proposals. Is that correct? Also, do you think throwing buzzwords like educations establishment monopoly is helpful in a discussion of local control of schooling? That seems to indicate that the proposals may be political payback rather than considered thoughts about improving education.
-Elizabeth- November 28, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Like Neal, I don't understand what you mean. If you are looking for an educational monopoly, then look to the Educational Achievement Authority (EAA) in the proposed bills. They will have far more power than any individual school district.
-Elizabeth- November 28, 2012 at 03:44 AM
I wish you had gone to the meeting.
Neal Charness November 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM
The answer to all of your questions is NO. I do not have a conflict of interest. I do have an interest because I have two children in BHSD. Your comment was just another personal shot. Lets talk about the issues without the invective.
-Elizabeth- November 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM
I didn't see you. If I am mistaken, then I am sorry. Based upon your opinion above and the one that speaks out most to me is 'questionable educational outcomes to cost value' I respectfully disagree. You have a right to your opinion as everyone does. I urge you to look at the many different bills before the House and Senate Education Committees. If in the end we still disagree, then it will be what it will be. I personally find the actions being taken by the State Legislature, Governor Snyder and Mr. McLellan are not measured or inclusive.
-Elizabeth- November 28, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Since suppliers of education has been brought up, lets look to see what connections are there with online instruction providers and the other 'Special Designation Schools' as outlined in House Bill 5923 currently in the Committee on Education. Lets look to see who or what provided the dollars to the Oxford Foundation for this rewrite. Since it is a not-for-profit, we won't know until they file their 990 next May and if they file the EZ form, I am not sure it will be there. But like Linda said, only then will what is proposed and happening be understood in the proper context. Business contacts go both ways.
Neal Charness November 28, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Linda: I took the time to reread your post asking whether myself or any member of my family was involved in school administration, a school district partner, a union activist, etc. None of my activities or associations are within the ambit of your questions. Can we speak to your motives now: Have you or any members of your immediate family attended a K-12 school other than a public school? Have you or any members of your family donated money to a private school or private school foundation directly or through a family foundation? Are you or any members of your family a member of a local, state, or national Chamber or Commerce? Have you ever had business experience dealing with union negotiations as a member of management? Please answer so that both of our cards are on the table. Thank you.


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