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Posted on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Ann Arbor schools' Pat Green, other local leaders oppose school reform bills, EAA

By Danielle Arndt

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that EMU College of Education Dean Jann Joseph was appointed to the EAA board.

Ann Arbor schools Superintendent Patricia Green issued an urgent statement to the Ann Arbor community Friday morning opposing a package of bills that is being pushed through the State Legislature during the lame duck session.

Patricia Green.JPG

Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green

Green joins a growing number of school leaders to speak out against the bills, House Bill 6004, Senate Bill 1358 and House Bill 5923, which would drastically change the definition of public education in Michigan.

The bills propose reforms such as “any time, any where, any place education” and a voucher system that would call for funding to follow the student to any district or educational entity. Ann Arbor school board Vice President Christine Stead said essentially, the law would allow parents to send their children to one district for math, another for language arts and another for some completely different program, all within the course of a single school year and even a single school day.

The package of bills also would give more authority to an entity called the Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

The EAA was unveiled in June 2011 as a way to redesign public education in some of Michigan's lowest performing districts. The bills would allow the EAA to take over schools in the bottom 5 percent of schools academically.

Currently, there are 146 schools in the bottom 5 percent and the EAA already has assumed control of 15 in the Detroit Public Schools system. The bills would allow for the expansion of the EAA.

K-12 school leaders in Washtenaw County are scrambling to express their disdain for these education reforms. Chelsea, Dexter, Milan and Ypsilanti superintendents have sent letters to their staffs about the bills and have discussed them with their school boards, as well. All are encouraging parents and community members to contact their legislators.

In a letter published on, Dexter Superintendent Mary Marshall called the expansion of the EAA “dangerous” and “reckless.”

“The absolute worst part of the plan is that some of these schools will be managed by for-profit operators and even corporations,” Marshall said. “And only some of our state’s students will be allowed to attend some of these schools.”

The legislation also could have an impact on Eastern Michigan University. In establishing the EAA, Gov. Rick Snyder chose EMU to partner with Detroit Public Schools to reform the lowest-performing schools. The idea was that EMU would help organize and operate a laboratory or “university school” at one of the 15 DPS schools that the EAA is operating and possibly appoint or assign faculty and other staff to assist the education authority on a limited basis.

None of these steps yet has been taken, as EMU waits for the state to flesh out the exact role of the university and its agreement with the EAA, said EMU Spokesman Walter Kraft.

EMU also was asked to appoint two representative to serve on the 11-member governing board for the EAA. It appointed Dean of the College of Education Jann Joseph and Regent Mike Morris.

Stead has testified in Lansing twice on the bills. Her testimony was read before the House Education Committee on Nov. 19 on behalf of 50,000 students and the Washtenaw Alliance for Education. The alliance was established in early 2012 and includes both school board member and superintendent representation from the county’s 10 traditional districts.

She also testified in the State Senate on Tuesday.

It was announced the same day that the EAA is one of 41 finalists eligible for a portion of nearly $400 million in federal funds from President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program. The program was intended for school districts that agree to implement specific school reforms, but this year’s finalists also include the EAA, some public charter schools and charter school networks.


Christine Stead

The Washtenaw Alliance for Education signed a letter written to Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan opposing the possibility that the EAA could be awarded millions in federal grant funds.

Stead said she is disgusted with how quickly the new reform legislation is being pushed through the Michigan Legislature. She said it appears the Republican leadership doesn’t want the public to be aware of the EAA or to have a chance to digest the bills and respond to them.

Stead said the EAA is remarkably similar to an emergency manager situation, yet almost scarier. She noted voters passed Proposal 1 on Nov. 6, which repealed the emergency manager law.

“It’s interesting. Voters just gave feedback to the state saying they think the state overstepped its bounds with (the emergency manager law). … So here we sent a message, or so I thought, to Lansing saying we’re opposed to these types of takeovers. And in just a rapid amount of time, this is being rushed through the Legislature,” Stead said.

Green highlighted in her letter the financial difficulties public school districts already face and stressed the negative impacts the government-run EAA would have.

“These bills completely bypass our constitutionally created and publicly elected State Board of Education, leaving the Education Achievement Authority with no elected oversight,” Green said.

Read Green’s message to the community below, or on the district's website to see contact information for local legislators.

Dear Ann Arbor Parents and Citizens:

As Superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools, I want you to be aware that as our district and others across the state continue to face enormous fiscal challenges, three bills are being rushed through the legislature that will have significant impact on the future of local public education. The bills are:

A. House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 1358

These two bills will establish an Education Achievement Authority (EAA) in Michigan that would operate entirely outside the authority of the State Superintendent of Schools and the State Board of Education. Funding would go directly to the EAA district without any oversight from the legislature. The bills are clear that this new government-run statewide "super district" has the ability to take any school in the state into the new EAA district. These schools could then specify which students they would serve. 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. These bills completely bypass our constitutionally created and publicly elected State Board of Education, leaving the Education Achievement Authority with no elected oversight.

If these bills are approved there would be negative impacts upon the funding of existing local public school districts as well. Local districts like AAPS are already financially compromised and legislation like these two bills could further impact AAPS, and with the legislation moving so quickly, not all citizens are aware of it. I urge each of you to notify your representatives of your opinion about these bills.

B. House Bill 5923

This bill creates several new forms of charter and online schools with no limit on the number. Selective enrollment policies could lead to greater segregation and the bill creates new schools without changing the overall funding available, further diminishing and compromising resources for local public schools and providing unequal access to quality programming.

C. What Can We Do?

Our School District has signed testimony to the State Legislature opposing these bills as part of the Washtenaw Alliance for Education (WAE) and we have written to our state legislators opposing the proposed legislation. We are on record as opposing these bills with both the House and Senate Education Committees. As part of the Washtenaw Alliance for Education, we have also sent a signed letter to President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan opposing statewide support being given to the EAA in the form of a Race to the Top federal grant. This letter appears in today’s edition of the Washington Post. The link is below. School Superintendent Mike Flanagan and State Board of Education President John Austin have also expressed concerns.

With less than 10 days of the legislative session remaining this year, there appears to be a rush to pass this legislation through the lame duck session. Passage of these bills could impact public education as we currently know it and most of the state residents are unaware. Please contact your legislators and voice your opinions regarding this legislation as soon as possible. I am providing you with links below to our state legislators and hope that you will also share this information with others.

Dr. Patricia P. Green
Superintendent of Schools

Ypsilanti reporter Katrease Stafford contributed to this report.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

If there was no "teachers union" I would be in favor of the public schools. But since the union is only concerned about the benefits, lifetime tax supported benefits of teachers, I consider the competition a good thing. Only reason kids do so well in affluent districts is because they have homes built on success. The model in less affluent communities is not working hard at your studies, but wasting time on your smart phone, in front of a tv, or hanging out with friends. This fix starts at home. Quit blaming business for the woes of a broken society.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

What AAPS needs is more discipline in the classrooms, and a consistent discipline policy across the district. And AAPS needs to get a backbone and stand up to some A2 parents who intimidate the district by threatening lawsuits at every turn when they don't get their way. Will any of these proposals accomplish this?

John of Saline

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

If the numbers don't come out right, discipline is "racist." So guess what.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

"The absolute worst part of the plan is that some of these schools will be managed by for-profit operators and even corporations," Marshall said. "And only some of our state's students will be allowed to attend some of these schools." For profit organizations undrstand how to live within a budget and not give away something they cannot affrod. I can certainly understand the opposition and wanting remain status quo whioch is unsustainable. 'Stead said she is disgusted with how quickly the new reform legislation is being pushed through the Michigan Legislature. She said it appears the Republican leadership doesn't want the public to be aware of the EAA or to have a chance to digest the bills and respond to them." Kind of reminds me of Obamacare. As Nancy Pelosi said "I guess we'll have to pass the bill to see what's in it." Funny how the response of the unions and liberals is different when the shoe is on the other foot and it affects their pocketbook..............


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Where have I been? Not watching Glenn Beck, who is famous for taking the quote out of context to rile up the people who don't have the patience to try to look at it objectively:


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

sh1, Where have you been? Everyone knows the infamous Pelosi line! March 9, 2010- "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it, away from the fog of the controversy."


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

The Nancy Pelosi quote........ "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

Can you cite the original Pelosi quote?


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Ann Arbor Schools definitely need reform. They are failing and are among... Oh, wait a minute. The majority of Ann Arbor schools perform at the 90th percentile or higher. We don't need reforms aimed at struggling districts to be aimed at all of Michigan's schools. This is just another excuse to weave charter/for profit schools into Michigan further weakening our public education system.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

Why would the system feel threaten, maybe if they did what they supposed to do they wouldn't be in this position. When you have competition it normally brings the best out of the competitors. Since the union opposes it must be a good thing?


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

I'm surprised she could be bothered with this....why didn't she just have Liz Margolis issue the statement for her?

Basic Bob

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

She uses Ms. Margolis for "official" statements. Perhaps she is voicing her opinion as a citizen - of Pennsylvania? And people get irate when conservative out-of-state one-percenters like Karl Rove try to manipulate our public policy.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

According to the article, In a letter published on, Dexter Superintendent Mary Marshall called the expansion of the EAA "dangerous" and "reckless." What I find dangerous and reckless is perpetuating the hold that the teachers' union, administrators, and the clique that manage to be elected to school boards holds over students and their parents. It is about time that the so-called professionals in education realize that they are stuck in the 19th century no matter how many computers they bring into a school. My great aunt graduated form a one room school at age 16 and taught the school the next year. That was 100 years ago. Yet she could walk into any school today and feel quite at home: room full of kids, teacher standing in front, only the board color seems to have changed. We even follow a calendar which 19th century agriculture necessitated. Business has changed, technology is used to do work differently, the way information is delivered, learned, and debated is different everyplace except public school. I developed a curriculum for my daughter one summer, so she could learn things she didn't get the first time around during the school year. I based it on a spread sheet and geographic data from the CIA Fact Book on the web (nice, consistently developed data). With that tool we worked on fractions, percentages (all of which she had to calculate by hand before checking her work with a cell formula), plotting data, gaining knowledge about the world form plotting the data, and drawing conclusions about the world. She was twelve at the time, but remembers this summer exercise to this day. That's just my personal example of doing something "out of the box". I'll bet others have developed innovative approaches, too. What I find sad is that the education establishment is digging in its collective heels to preserve their monopoly on education without regard to what we can do to improve the situation for the next generation.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

To sh1..... If it doesn't look like this, then maybe here lies the problem.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

If you believe education looks like this today: "room full of kids, teacher standing in front," you haven't been in a classroom in a long while.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

The last person I want to hear from about this is Pat Green, who has done nothing to show her bloated pay is justified. She offers nothing of substance here that proves this legislation will not help students learn better. If it does not work, parents can return to the public schools. That is the problem, parents are not satisfied with the public schools and have every right to demand their taxes go to any plan that can be more successful. It is called competition and to survive you must put out a superior product.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Way to go Joe!


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Our children's education and our tax dollars. Two very important things. We cannot afford to waste or chance either. Maybe the legislation is fine, but if so then let it stand up to public scrutiny and debate. Rushing it through a lame duck session is needless and, frankly, irresponsible.


Sun, Dec 2, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.

As I sit and watch the Big Ten championship game, it is clear that Nebraska is the lamest of ducks.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Lame duck session? Who is the lame duck?

Susie Q

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

My concern here is the Republican push to shove more and more "regulation" down our throats. Snyder and his ilk claim to want to get rid of loathsome regulations are a deterrent to the "job creators". Yet they have no qualms about totally taking away ANY local control of school taxes and local school policies. Or no qualms about piling on hundreds of new rules and regulations and hoops that public school administrators must jump through (at great cost to districts whose budgets are cut by Lansing every year). I notice that most the of "new" schools or cyber-schools will not be subject to similar accountability. Stop the state takeover of our public education.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 6:40 p.m.

Susie Q - There has only been 1 budget cut from Lansing in recent history. Most years schools get more money from the state. The problem in many schools is the build in assumption that they get 3 or 5 percent additional money each year and they build that into labor contracts with unions and other assumptions. For years (until this year) average household income in the state has been declining, and the school budgeting process did nothing to take this into account. If we look at the increase in household income in the state this year and do a hypothetical exercise on pay... It will only take 9 years for household income in the state for non-public employees to catch back up with public employee income if we don't give the public employees any raises during that 9 year period, on average. Not a good place to be. Then there is the $40+ billion dollar hole in the state pension funds, helped along by the 8 years that the Granholm administration decided not to contributed. Local governments are in worse shape in many cases. As to regulation, yes more of it should be reviewed and dumped, if it does not make sense - including regulation on how schools are run. Probably 50% of the regulation in the state is in conflict with Federal rules and/or other state rules - even for schools. Consolidation of the regulations under one body (which Governor Snyder did) and cleaning up the conflicts is a good first step, replacing outdated regulation is a good second step, even for school districts. More for anyone is not always better.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

Susie Q, Please provide the "hundreds of new rules and regulations and hoops that public school adminstrators must jump through." Please list them.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

So what do we do? There are schools that are really failing children in the state. In Detroit some 70+ percent of students never graduate, could that failure be part of why the city is in such trouble? Oh, that's right it is all the fault of parents, parents in Detroit that have not completed school, their children are now trapped because the parents...and the children of these children will also be trapped and since only the parents matter in education schools and teachers are at most 30 percent of the equatoin for education (per various comments on other threads) nothing will ever change... But...but...what do parents know about education say the people commenting here. LOL - which way is it? Are the parents responsible for their children's ability to learn or the schools, If it is the parents - then why should they not have a large say in where the children go to school. If the parent's don't understand modern education - then why is it they are such are large part of the equation and schools don't really matter? We need a solution for Detroit and other districts that are throwing away children by the bus load. If you don't like the current proposal, but a plan on the table that is better. The current solution in Detroit and several other districts has failed. Bashing someone who has proposed a plan is easy, coming up with a better plan take guts, I don't see any guts here.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 6:32 p.m.

Cette - Forgive me, but I did not see a plan in your first two responses, hence mine. I would love to see accountability for teachers and students. But, when I look at the teacher ratings that just came out from the public schools, I can only shake my head in disgust. In AAPS not a single teacher exceeded expections and not a single teacher was below expections. 100 percent of the teachers are just....well....average. We pay one of the top salaries to administrators and teachers in the state, and all we can get is average teachers. This farce is created by the board and the administration. I have met and worked with a number of teachers I would rank very highly. I have also met a few that I would rank very low. So how do we make your plan work?


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

No, that is the plan. Accountability as the kids and teachers work, that's what's needed...there's magic plan, or plucking these kids here and putting those's just elbow grease, methaphorically speaking.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

Cette - Thank you for proving my point, you are tearing down the plan without offering an alternative that fixes the problems.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

How come no one is blaming teachers for the fact that so many children are failing? Teachers spend 8 hours a day with our children, and if the kids are not grasping the material, or passing their classes, the teachers have to take SOME of the responsbility.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

If this EAA had any integrity, they would have a plan for documentation of what they are doing all day long, and they would accept all comers, because it's public money, and why do some get to go and not others and why?, and they would try to do what everyone else tries to do, which is to educate everyone on the budget they have. Hey look, they don't have unions to blame, so if the problem in schools is just all about the union problem, every thing should be just fine.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Read that mlive chat that happened today. These schools are for getting smart kids career ready. The schools are just locating themselves in the failing 5 %, they have no interest in high maintenance, high cost kids, or producing documentation for anybody. It's surreal. I'm all for meeting a kid where they are at and then moving them along at their pace, but that also means the kids are doing something during the school day, and some adult looked at what they did, at some time during the school day and gave that kid feedback,and either praised or corrected it or both, and that there is a record of what is going on in there that others can look at, and understand. However, this EAA has decided it doesn't owe anybody anything, but pay them, and they promise, cross their hearts, they'll make magic happen. Wow, this is under the category that there's a sucker born every minute.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

If nothing else, folks should be upset by the blatant attempt to push through poorly drafted legislation at the last minute, hoping that it sneaks under the radar. But more importantly, this is a blatant attempt to transfer a huge amount of power and money to a private group with absolutely no proven track record. Michigan voters already rejected this type of state-level take-over. So now the "Governor knows best" is going ahead with virtually the same idea anyway. It's a slap in the face to voters and it takes power from parents.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

These bills do NOT take power from parents....they GIVE POWER TO PARENTS. Parents can decide where they want their children to go to school and not be dictated to by artificially drawn population lines. When a school fills to capacity, then there will be other schools to choose from. Why are the administrators so afraid of losing control??? They will still have a school to report to. They will just be held MORE accountable for the success of their charges...your children.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

If people can take off their "political" hats and mind sets and really become as informed as possible about the pending legislation and what all it entails in association with the already approved EAA, it would be helpful for all. There are real concerns with the expansion of the EAA at this point because this program has yet to even be evaluated. How do we know it is going to be effective and helpful for a statewide implementation? Very hasty decisions are being made and this process needs to be slowed down so that we all can understand what the implications are. Is it true that the EAA will allow for a proliferation of new schools without any oversight in terms of educational quality? What are the financial implications of expending more monies from a School Aid budget where $500 million dollars was cut? The passage of the "Parental Empowerment Package" lifted the cap on charter and cyber schools which may or may not be damaging to our state's overall public school resources. Michigan currently has 80% of its charter schools being operated by private, for profit education management companies (EMOs), reportedly more than any other state in the country. Is it really in our best interest as a state, to turn over millions of dollars to for profit outfits versus keeping our education dollars in Michigan for public education. For- profits are not necessarily going to be too interested in the poor students and that is a major problem . Charters operated by our public schools are being successful. The assault on public education by private companies who want to make money for their CEOs and investors is problematic. The actions of the politicians who are pushing for the privatizing of Michigan schools is repugnant. The money spent on privatizing is better spent on improving our public school system of which many innovative and positive changes have already been made in communities that have the resources and interest.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

"Is it really in our best interest as a state, to turn over millions of dollars to for profit outfits versus keeping our education dollars in Michigan for public education?" Of course it is. You use the evil term "for profit" like it is bad. The fact is a for profit anything in order to be successful, have to provide a product, here a school that is successful, i.e., something people want to buy. Whether its a car or a school, if it is good people will buy it. Do you really think anyone is in the business of running a school purely to become rich?

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

If that kind of profit can be made, that shows you how much waste there is in Michigan's public school system.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

More proof, as if any were needed, that Republicans are trying to destroy the state's public education system, with the ultimate goal of creating separate and unequal educational systems. Took 'em 60 years to undo Brown. Appears they've finally figured out how.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

@ Macabre you hear yourself? Separate and unequal systems is what the EAA wants, but without documentation, but they have no plans to handle special ed kids, (which is against IDEA and thus against federal law, lawsuit number one coming down the pike,) and they are looking to make career ready kids, and so I would ask, what jobs are they defining careers as? doctor, lawyer, engineer. Do plumbers count as career ready types? What about electricians, office assistants, welders? What about others? Can they not go?

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

I saw they are trying to fix it.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

Don't you think Green has created separate and unequal systems with all her obsession over "gaps"? Charter schools wouldn't be necessary if this sort of crap were illegal, which it should be in a public system.

Davi Napoleon

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

Now that we've voted down our governor's attempt to take over our cities, he and his croonies want to take over our schools. This is horrific!

Stephen Landes

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

Napoleon -- let's just let the cities like Detroit file for bankruptcy and let a Federal judge take over the operation. That's just brilliant.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

You got a better idea lets hear it. Tell us how Detroit City Council can solve its problems. Ditto Detroit Public Schools.

Mulberry Bank

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

What I do not get is why is everyone is so happy about the State taking-over local schools, towns, limiting citizens recall rights, etc. Especially after we-all voted.. I am not saying the problems do not exist, but "we" voted for our local people. Again, I am not saying nothing should be done, but I am a citizen with one vote and do not like being ordered around by the state with their lobbyists. I want local citizen control.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

What do you do when your locally elected people cannot solve the problem? The emergency manager law allowed for necessary changes in contracts that local officials were powerless to do. Look at Detroit Public schools. Hundreds of millions in debt. How do you think the DPS board of education could dig out of that hole? What is disgusting is that it got so bad before anything was done and that happened when Gov Granholm assigned Robert Bobb to DPS as EFM under the former law that had no teeth. How do you let your district's deficit get to $300 million? With the repeal of the EFM law, DPS and the cities have all been tossed under the bus.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

These bills WILL give you local control,,,,you can choose the school you prefer for your children to attend. The State is NOT taking over the schools,,,they are saying that you should have a choice!


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

THIS IS SINISTER! For the Republican legislature to have the audacity and the unmitigated gall to talk about "limited government" and then push this is repugnant. This is big government dismantling smaller institutions in the name of reform. Yet the GOP says they disdain big government only to use government to interfere with public institutions. If this is the GOP/Tea Party's ideal of limited government they can keep it.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

No it's nothing of the kind. It is a fix of a big problem. The Detroit puclic school system is hundreds of millions in debt. Ypsi/Willow Run are consolidating for financial reasons. If you have a better idea, lets hear it. Raise taxes? Its easy to criticize isn't it? Where is your alternative?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

By what measure is it better to leave education decisions to parents? What special knowledge and insights do they have regarding the delivery of knowledge to young minds of various ages that is superior to trained educators? Would you ask parents in very poor neighborhoods where many have not graduated high school and some remain illiterate to design and direct educational programs for their own and other children in their school district? Enough foolhardiness! For profit educational systems will be biased in what students are accepted into their systems by pricing out poor families where student under-performance is the norm by having unaffordable tuition and locating facilities at great distances from low socioeconomic neighborhoods. Also students that perform poorly or have behavior problems can be separated from "for profit" and charter schools but must be accepted by the local public education system. In the end students who would be successful in any school system will do well in "for profit" and charter schools even if the teachers are just average and resources only sufficient. This formula produces most success for executives running the business and their investors.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

Education decisions made by parents? My God how could anyone imaging any parent, no matter how well educated should be able to question whether or not their child might do better in a different school? Please provide us some proof of what you allege in your second paragraph in regard to bias toward poor families. Students who perform poorly do not do so because of the school, it is the fault of the parents. Parents should not have to put their children in schools with students with behavior problems, especially when the school does nothing.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

It is inappropriate for a Lame Duck legislature to pass this legislation as well as all the "War on Women legislation". The Republicans lost 4 seats in the state House even with the huge Gerrymandering that the Republicans did. Two years from now, the Republicans will suffer more if they do this. From the party that brags about wanting less government, they legislate to create more. Wonderful!


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

And why is it "innappropriate for a Lame Duck legislature to pass this legislation?" No legislation should be passed by lame duck legislatures? And please explain who the "lame duck" is here?

Joe Kidd

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Can you describe any War on Woman legislation?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

Pat Green is doing just fine. You've heard that phrase "It's as easy as taking candy from a baby?" Yeah, that's how easy it is for Republicans to believe anything a venture capital lobbyist says about union work, and get hoodwinked themselves by people who are just making money...Why if someone told them this is anti union, that's good enough for them, where do they sign? Oh my, what a sorry state of affairs for kids in poor performing schools.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

Lots of attitude there, Basic Bob, though I have to admit, it's a fast comeback. Yes, Pat Green is doing fine,I like the letter, I'm glad she signed onto the letter that made the Washington Post today, and I think she has a very good grasp of the problem. It's a tough crowd here at and there's lots of people who have a lot of secondary gain in nailing her for her initial missteps, and they really like doing that on this setting. Again, for the crowd, that so long as it's an anti union bill, it's okay in their book, d*&^ the torpedoes, full steam ahead, I guess these are the bills for you, but for people who stop and think and want all kids to do well, and for money to be well spent, these are atrocious bills.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

Unapproved raises for overpaid administrators is not fine. Working four days a week and going home for a long weekend every week is not fine. Keeping six high schools open is not fine. Failing to respond to criminal behavior during a school function is not fine. Failing to perform real assessments of staff is not fine. Who is hoodwinked?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

For SHAME! on the AAPS administrators! Are you so afraid of letting parents make decisions about their own children? When the educational systems across the Country are failing and/or brainwashing our children to believe only a radical leftist view is the Right, it IS hightime that our educational systems are changed in favor of parents rights!! Let the parents decide!!! Do contact your Congress Reps, but insist they pass the bills!!


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8 p.m.

leaguebus, 30 years of cutting taxes to make government smaller. Really? Is our government smaller now? Actually it has grown quite a bit!


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Are these the same parents that want to ban the teaching of critical thinking in Texas, or the ones that deny the science behind Evolution and Global Warming. As a parent you can choose from many alternatives to public education, private schools, academies, different magnets in public schools, etc. All the current troubles in public education can be traced back to the Republicans 30 years of cutting taxes to make government smaller. Now there is no money for much other than basic education.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

The comments against this article show a remarkable lack of insight into what makes our state and country what it has been. A well run and adequately supported PUBLIC education that strives to give a good education has been and is the core for America's greatness. This ramming through of a set of new laws would so scatter our resources that it would leave the most challenged students even further behind than they have ever been. One of the reason that educators and boards often oppose some proposals is that they are close the problems and situations every day and know that precipitous changes are hard to undo. For profit schools have no interest in educating everybody, they simply want to make money and cream off the easy students and leave the rest in the gutter. While our sons attended a private school [without any public money], we voted yes on every millage, because we knew that is the core of a successful society.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Morris, Very interesting. You sent your kids to a private school because apparently you didn't believe in the public schools? You voted yes on every millage because you believe throwing more money at the problem actually solves the problem? We keep throwing more money after bad money and still haven't solved the problem.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

Morris, the present system has failed. Teachers unions are so strong and powerful they supersede student benefit. Your statement that the core of America's greatness, is its good education system, is sadly untrue. Other countries outrank us notably. Our students are not bilinquil and our educational system cannot keep up with many countries. Our most challenged students are holding everyone else back. I am so sick of the "teach to the lowest common denominator" model, that it will be refreshing to have a system where the lower level students do not hold everyone else back. while your son attends a private school, you are voting to stick the rest of us with less. How can you be for this if your own child is not involved in it. Before you comment put your kid in the same system my kids are in, you will be wanting change too


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

Morris - So we should leave children in low performing districts to their fate? While some of what is proposed may be a problem, there is a problem with some schools and school districts. If you don't like the current bills, what would you propose to rescue these children? I know almost every parent in Ann Arbor would be opposed to busing a few hundred to AAPS to attend the schools here, fearing that their children would suffer. So what do we do? Continue to throw away 16% of the children in the state each year? In some districts the throw away rate exceeds 70%. Does that make sense?

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

Don't you think the scale has tipped, especially in Ann Arbor, toward devoting too many resources to groups where the challenge is simply parents who aren't invested in their children's education in the first place? A charter school can be better simply because it doesn't have to try and educate students who don't want to be there with parents who couldn't care less. Why should we sacrifice our children's future on the altar of political correctness?

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Great message from someone who routinely operates outside of her authority. I will blindly support anything Dr. Green strongly opposes.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Guys, blindly supporting anything when it comes to state-wide policy is just short of being a menace to society! I hope you both actually take the time to think things through. I'm sure you probably do, but just saying...


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 4:48 a.m.

Blindly opposing anything for purely political reasons, no matter the party, is useless and dangerous to the rest of us. How about you guys read the bill, read about the fact that they can force cities to sell land and buildings at a loss and stick the remaining bill on taxpayers, about how these new groups are not regulated by the state, or how these groups have little or no track record in educational excellence (not that most of the public schools do either), etc., before you make your opinions.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

And the legislature is overstepping their authority by pushing this dastardly legislation. And I will blindly OPPOSE anything the Republicans propose especially regarding public education that they never cared for in the first place.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

I received this letter (like everyone else). I think it's inappropriate to use a channel intended to give us information about our kids' schools for a personal, biased, political message. Yes, we know charter schools threaten the political power of Big Union. Provide better schools, with less obsession with various "gaps", and you have nothing to worry about with competition.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Susie Q, Can you please explain what different accountabilities there are between a traditional public school and public charter schools? What are they?


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Hey, Joe, don't Kidd yourself. For profit schools do allow the people running them to become rich in some cases (Phoenix University comes to mind). Phoenix is an expensive, on line diploma mill whose founders are wealthy, and whose students find that their courses are seldom transferable to other colleges. It's a joke of a university. If a for profit school cannot line someone's pockets, that someone has not cut enough corners and not underpaid his non-union teaching professionals enough.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

@ SusieQ: Right now, most of our money is going to Big Union, as opposed to educating our children. Now, you're worried about that same money going to "Big Money" (as if to differentiate unions and money) and you suspect our children won't get an education?

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

The ignorance here comes from ignoring the needs of the students and instead focusing on the political process that made her and her friends very wealthy women.

Joe Kidd

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

Nonsense Susie. They are accountable to the parents of their students. And I see you try to use the horrific term "for-profit." Do you really think anyone is running a school to become rich? And to be successful, i.e., in your terms, "profitable," what do they have to do? They have to provide a popular product the people want to buy, a good school. What's wrong with that?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

Macabre Sunset, Do you wish to remain ignorant of school issues?

Susie Q

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

The charter schools and many of these online entities do not have any accountability like the public schools. This isn't a political issue or a Big Union issue. This is a push yo send tax dollars to for-profit businesses. Tax money will go to line the pockets of Big Money instead of going to educate children

Top Cat

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 8:17 p.m. parents more choices over their children's education threatens the interests of public education bureaucrats and teacher's unions.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

Because with her, we ALWAYS need a translation, lol


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

The reality is the system as it stands now does not work. The "no child left behind", does not work. The schools in Michigan are not that great, and it seems the article never defines how the present system has done anything noteworthy, that would make us not want the new system. Can anyone give concrete examples of why the present system should remain, other than a benefit to teachers and the school board?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

The legislation takes power away from parents and puts in into a private, centralized group that has an extremely limited track record. The track record that does exist is not a positive one. Do some research.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

You DO NOT tear down institutions to give parents so-called "choices." This is what these pieces of legislation will do. Nor should lawmakers pit parents against teachers and administrators, which is what they are doing.