What's On Michigan's Schools' Plate Post-Election?

The elections are over. In all the discussions about the national level, you may not have noticed some of the state-level results.

[Did you notice the local results? Two of the candidates who endorsed the Educate Ann Arbor platform--Jeff Gaynor and Harmony Mitchell--were elected. Donna Lasinski won a state representative seat, and has vacated her AAPS school board seat. The board will appoint a replacement.]

On the State Board of Education, two GOP activists took the open seats, formerly held by Democrats. One of them was formerly held by Board President John Austin, who lost his bid for re-election. (Kathleen Straus had decided not to run again, and Democrat Ish Ahmed lost.) The winners are former state Rep. Tom McMillin and Whitmore Lake GOP activist Nicolette Snyder. McMillin and Snyder are on record as opposing Common Core standards.

The House of Representatives maintains the same balance of Republicans and Democrats, although with term limits, some of the faces change. 

Ally and Advocate: Michigan Parents for Schools

Here is where we mention a wonderful state organization, Michigan Parents for Schools. If you haven't checked out their web site or Facebook page, now would be a good time to do so. 

Don't Blink, You Might Miss Something!

Earlier this year, the DeVos family ("education reform" activists and bankrollers) indicated that they felt "pension reform" should be the number one priority for the legislature

According to Michigan Parents for Schools, there is a good chance that this will come up in lame duck session. Writes Steve Norton of Michigan Parents for Schools: 

Two topics may come up in lame duck, one of them being a long-simmering proposal to replace the state school employee retirement plan (MPSERS) with individual 401k-type accounts. For the last few years, new hires have been covered by a hybrid system (part pension, part 401k, with no retirement health benefits). However, the proposal to end MPSERS entirely is much more sweeping and would involve huge costs as current employees and schools no longer paid into the system. (Emphasis added.)

If you thought that would mean saving money (even though it is clearly an attack on teachers and their benefits), you would be wrong. In the short-term, it would cost a lot--and it isn't even clear it would save money in the long term. Read more from the State of Michigan's Office of Retirement Services

According to MIPFS: 

The other potential issue is raised by a package of bills just introduced by Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton). These bills (SB 1165-1169) would create a "Parental Choice In Education Program," replacing the current school funding system with "education savings accounts" for each pupil, funded primarily with tax dollars, which they would use to purchase instructional services from "authorized providers."
This proposal closely mirrors the "Oxford Foundation" and "skunk works" proposals from a few years ago, both of which were designed to make school districts a thing of the past and to encourage purchases of online courses from various providers.

Follow Michigan Parents for Schools (you can get on their email list) for regular updates on state-level legislation.