Virtual School Meanderings

January 30, 2017

​Wear Red for Public Ed on Tuesday to Oppose Betsy DeVos

Note this request for tomorrow…

Wear Red for Public Ed on Tuesday to Oppose DeVos

On Tuesday, January 31, a U.S. Senate Committee will decide if the full chamber should vote to confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary despite being unqualified and unfit for the job. Join AFT Michigan and Michigan Education Association members in demonstrating opposition that day—Wear Red for Public Ed on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

DeVos is no stranger to Michigan educators and students who have suffered under policies pushed by her and her billionaire family’s contributions to Republican politicians for years. Her support of unaccountable for-profit charter schools in Michigan has harmed children and communities.

Both of Michigan’s U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, have announced plans to vote against her.

“Betsy DeVos and her family have a long record of pushing policies that I believe have seriously undermined public education in Michigan and failed our children,” Stabenow said. “Therefore, I cannot support (her).”

In a speech on the Senate floor, Peters pointed out DeVos’ only education experience has involved lobbying for the transfer of taxpayer money to private schools and the rapid expansion of charter schools without sufficient accountability to parents and students.

“I stand with the many educators and parents in Michigan and across this nation when I say: Mrs. DeVos lacks the experience, qualifications and the right vision to oversee our nation’s education system,” Peters said.

Keep up the fight against her confirmation by sending a letter to your senators here.

Wear Red for Public Ed on Tuesday to show we remain united by our common belief in great public schools for all of our students!

January 13, 2017

Stand Together Against DeVos for Education Secretary – Wear Red for Public Ed on Tuesday, January 17

An update on this item from earlier in the week…

Dear Michael,

The date of the Wear Red for Public Ed action is now next Tuesday, January 17. The Senate confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, has been delayed until January 17, after public education advocates demanded the DeVos’s incomplete financial disclosures be examined and an ethics review finished.

DeVos and her wealthy, right-wing family are no strangers to Michigan educators and students, who have suffered for years under policies the DeVoses have pushed as mega-donors to the Republican Party.

That’s why AFT Michigan and the MEA are asking all Michigan school employees to join together on Tuesday, January 17 and Wear Red for Public Ed.  Trump and DeVos can only succeed in undermining and privatizing public education if we let them.  Wearing red on Tuesday along with your colleagues will show that we remain united by our common belief in great public schools for all of our students.

And please take a moment to contact Michigan’s U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, regarding the Senate’s consideration of DeVos. While both have already said they will not support her nomination, they need to hear from you as constituents with stories from the front lines about how the DeVos family’s education policies have harmed students and schools.  Your input can help them make the case in the Senate against Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as the next Secretary of Education.

In solidarity,

David Hecker

January 10, 2017

Stand Together Against DeVos for Education Secretary – Wear Red for Public Ed on Wednesday

Note this for tomorrow…

Dear Michael,

This Wednesday, Jan. 11, the U.S. Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.  DeVos and her wealthy, right-wing family are no strangers to Michigan educators and students, who have suffered for years under policies the DeVoses have pushed as mega-donors to the Republican Party.

That’s why AFT Michigan and the MEA are asking all Michigan school employees to join together on Wednesday and Wear Red for Public Ed.  Trump and DeVos can only succeed in undermining and privatizing public education if we let them.  Wearing red on Wednesday along with your colleagues will show that we remain united by our common belief in great public schools for all of our students.

And please take a moment to contact Michigan’s U.S. Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, regarding the Senate’s consideration of DeVos.While both have already said they will not support her nomination, they need to hear from you as constituents with stories from the front lines about how the DeVos family’s education policies have harmed students and schools.  Your input can help them make the case in the Senate against Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as the next Secretary of Education.

In solidarity,

David Hecker

February 2, 2016

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Tell Senators to Vote NO on Punishing Teachers

This showed up in my inbox a few hours ago.

As you read this, keep in mind that in the past month the actions of teachers in Detroit Public Schools has brought national attention to a problem that has been made worse by the Republican Governor’s failed market-driven reforms, all under the watchful eye of his hand-picked emergency manager (as opposed to an elected school board).

Much like the Flint toxic water crisis, this is a Republican-made problem due their unwavering belief in the free market as a solution to every social problem (and to a lesser extent their war on the poor and non-white

).

Dear Michael,

Lansing politicians are trying to punish teachers and school employees for standing up for their students.

The Senate Education Committee rammed through three bills despite overwhelming opposition testimony and they’re now on the fast track in the Michigan Senate.

If these bills pass, if one or more public school employees is found to have engaged in an illegal work stoppage to effect change in working conditions, the following would happen:

  • The union would not be allowed to represent employees for at least five years
  • Individual teachers engaging in illegal strikes would lose their teaching certificates
  • School districts would be fined five percent of their state aid payments if the administration failed to fine them

We need you to send an email and call your Senator ASAP to urge them to oppose the bills.

Click here to send an email.

To amplify your voice, make a call by looking up your Senator’s phone number here. Make sure to call on break time, not work time.

In solidarity,

Julie Rowe

August 26, 2014

Michigan And Charter School Authorizers

Last week – or the week before – this came across my electronic desk.

Michigan charter school authorizers face suspension

LANSING, Mich. – State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is putting 11 of Michigan’s 40 charter school authorizers on notice of possible suspension.

If suspended, the public universities, community colleges and school districts couldn’t open more charter schools. Their current schools could stay open.

Flanagan said Monday the authorizers are deficient in transparency, accountability and fiscal governance. Their schools as a whole rank in the bottom 10 percent academically.

Authorizers at risk of suspension have until Oct. 22 to remediate their deficiencies. Flanagan will decide in November whether to suspend them.

Authorizers at risk are Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, Kellogg Community College and school districts in Detroit, Highland Park and Muskegon Heights. The state-run Education Achievement Authority and Macomb Intermediate School District also are in jeopardy.

I should note that Ferris State are the authorizers for the Connections Academy cyber charters in the state, and Grand Valley are the authorizers for the K12, Inc. cyber charters.

At about the same time, these entries came across Diane Ravitch’s blog:

Interesting read, with K-12 online learning overtones…

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