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An urgent call to action from Superintendent Rob Glass

The proposals in Lansing are expected to move very quickly. Learn how they could impact our local school system and your investment in Bloomfield Hills Schools.

While many residents have seen the recent letter from Superintendent Rob Glass, some people are still unclear about the current proposals in Lansing.  The district encourages all residents, with and without children, to become informed on these important bills and contact your legislators with any concerns, questions, or requests you may have.  These proposals are expected to move very quickly and it's important to make sure your friends and neighbors are aware of how they could impact our local school system and your investment in Bloomfield Hills Schools.

 

The following letter from Superintendent Rob Glass was emailed and posted to our website on November 28, 2012:  http://www.bloomfield.org/news/item/index.aspx?pageaction=ViewSinglePublic&LinkID=215&ModuleID=167&NEWSPID=1

Dear Parents and Citizens: This is an urgent call to action affecting your Bloomfield Hills Schools and public education in Michigan. A package of bills designed to corporatize and dismantle public education is being hastily pushed through this current ‘lame duck’ legislative session. If we do not take immediate action, I believe great damage will be done to public education, including our school system. We have just three weeks to take action before it’s too late. The bills are:

  • House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 1358- Would expand a separate and statewide school district (the EAA) overseen by a governor-appointed chancellor and functioning outside the authority of the State Board of Education or state school superintendent. These schools are exempt from the same laws and quality measures of community-governed public schools. The EAA can seize unused school buildings (built and financed by local taxpayers) and force sale or lease to charter, non-public or EAA schools.
  • House Bill 5923- Creates several new forms of charter and online schools with no limit on the number. Bundled with HB 6004/SB1358, many of these schools could be created by the EAA. Public schools are not allowed to create these new schools unless they charter them. Selective enrollment/dis-enrollment policies will likely lead to greater segregation in our public schools. This bill creates new schools without changing the overall funding available, further diluting resources for community-governed public schools.
  • Senate Bill 620- Known as the ‘Parent Trigger’ bill, this would allow the lowest achieving 5% of schools to be converted to a charter school while allowing parents or teachers to petition for the desired reform model. This bill will not directly affect our district, but disenfranchises voters, ends their local control, and unconstitutionally hands taxpayer-owned property over to for-profit companies. Characterized as parent-empowerment, this bill does little to develop deep, community-wide parent engagement and organization.

I’ve never considered myself a conspiracy theorist—until now. This package of bills is the latest in a yearlong barrage of ideologically-driven bills designed to weaken and defund locally-controlled public education, handing scarce taxpayer dollars over to for-profit entities operating under a different set of rules. I believe this is fundamentally wrong. State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan and State Board of Education President John Austin and others have also expressed various concerns, as has the Detroit Free Press.http://www.mlive.com/opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/11/john_austin_new_school_choice.htmlhttp://www.freep.com/article/20121120/OPINION01/121120056

We embrace change, innovation and personalization. We’re passionate about providing choices and options for students. We compete strongly in the educational marketplace. We must never stop improving. This is not a laissez faire plea to defend the status quo. This is about making sure this tidal wave of untested legislation does not sweep away the valued programs our local community has proudly built into its cherished school system. If you are concerned about these bills, please do the following:

  1. Attend one of the following grassroots legislative meetings.http://www.bloomfield.org/news/item/index.aspx?pageaction=ViewSinglePublic&LinkID=201&ModuleID=113&NEWSPID=1
  2. Stay informed by registering for updates through ‘Capwiz.’ http://www.tricountyalliance.org/
  3. Call and e-mail your legislator and respectfully ask them to OPPOSE these bills (see contact information below).
  4. Enlist ten others to do the same, and please remain active.

Public education in Michigan can and must remain strong, but it will only happen if we act NOW.

Sincerely, Rob Glass Superintendent

Legislative Contact information

Governor Rick Snyder P. O. Box 30013 Lansing, MI 48909 Email Address: Rick.snyder@michigan.gov517.335.7858 (Constituent Services)

41st State Rep District (Troy) Representative Marty Knollenberg (R) N0890 House Office Building P. O. Box 30014 Lansing, MI 48909 E-mail Address: martyknollenberg@house.mi.gov 517.373.1783

13th State Senate District (City BH) Senator John Pappageorge (R) 1020 Farnum Building PO Box 30036 Lansing, MI 48909-7536 E-mail Address: SenJPappageorge@senate.michigan.gov 517.373.2523

40th State Rep District (Blmf Twp/City) Representative Chuck Moss ( R) S0889 House Office Building PO Box 30014 Lansing, MI 48909 Email Address: chuckmoss@house.mi.gov 517.373.8670

15th State Senate District (West Bloomfield) Senator Mike Kowall 305 Farnum Building P. O. Box 30036 Lansing, MI 48909 E-mail Address: SenMKowall@senate.michigan.gov 517.373.1758

39th State Rep District (West Bloomfield) Representative Lisa Brown (D) S0888 House Office Building P. O. Box 30014 Lansing, MI 48909-7514 E-mail Address: lisabrown@house.mi.gov 517.373.1799

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Charles Gaba November 29, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Thank you for this. Mr. Glass is not known, to my knowledge, to be prone to hyperbole or panic. For him to speak out this boldly and clearly against these bills should tell every resident of the Bloomfield Hills School District something.
Amy Cardin November 29, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I agree Charles. We as a community need to support our children and our local public schools. Contact your representatives and Governor Snyder today! The window for comment on these issues is very short. Make your voice and comments heard.
Mike Reno November 29, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Yes, this threatens the public school monopoly. Mr. Glass is protecting the institution, which is presumably his responsibility as it's CEO.
Joe Judge November 29, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Happening NOW. Here's the info I have from a well-connected friend: "Senate Republicans are planning to ignore Senate rules and bypass a vote by the Senate Education Committee on the EAA bill. This means that the full Senate could be voting as soon as the next hour on the bill." The provisions regarding the right to take property (the provisions I really care about) and give to charter schools are apparently still in there. Happening fast enough for you Mike?
Mike Reno November 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Did you call anyone and offer suggestions? If so, did you do it in constructive way? (For example, the bill does not TAKE... it requires buildings that have been shuttered FOR YEARS to be used again as schools if another PUBLIC educational institution can make a case for it. The PUBLIC educational institution would either BUY or LEASE the property). As I said before -- multiple times -- I am not in favor of that provision.
Joe Judge November 29, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I did call and they answered right away. They were very nice and professional, as I would like to think, was I. I was able to suggest this provision be taken out. When I say "take", I mean a "taking", as in a Kelo ... for a "public purpose" (like a charter school), with compensation, sure, but against our desires. We don't want the STATE dictating to us when we should sell or lease. What if we want to control a property b/c we think in 10 years we may need it. Why should the state's decision to take the property (even if with compensation) trump what we, locally, want to do? What if a lawsuit ties up a piece of property for 3 years? I appreciate that you don't support this provision either. Did you pick up the phone and register your objection?
Joe Judge November 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM
"...like to think I was." Sorry, mistakes happen when you move TOO FAST. :)
R Gibson November 29, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Charles I agree with you. Rob Glass has always struck me as a cool cucumber. time to stand up.
Rose Pikor December 05, 2012 at 01:35 PM
clearly appears that Lansing is moving towards a total "for profit" form of education. Where is the clarity of uniform evaluations of children, educatiors, school actions, etc.? Where is transportation, special education addressed? Nothing this massive in change can be done in weeks.That is the first clue that this is going to be a shoddy, money making scheme. I think we need to mention all the teachers and schools which are doing a terrific job. These proposed bills are a sham and must be stopped so that clearer, more sensible actions can be taken in the future with a great deal of debate. Stop this nonsense. Self-serving Lansing should be ashamed of themselves.

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