Peter Ruddell, co-author of the soon to be released Public Education Finance Act, published a statement on The Center for Michigan website saying, in effect, "our position has not changed and will not the change." The Oxford Foundation draft, now the "PEFA" draft (same draft, different website), outlining a new financing scheme that ultimately will gut top school Districts like Birmingham, Bloomfield, and Troy.
For those hoping The Center for Michigan could provide some grounds for meaningful dialogue to the statewide school debate this is depressing -- but not entirely surprising -- news.
Rather than attend to The Center for Michigan survey that showed little -- if any -- public support for his radical readjustment of funding that, in Richard McLellan's words, destroys public education as we know it in order to fund charters and on line schools, Mr. Ruddell is interpreting The Center for Michigan survey as in full support of his project.
He calls his plan for on line schools "more personalized education" and mocks current K-12 with a photo of a pre-war (WWII) photo saying this "isn't your grandmother's" education. There isn't much else in the statement to read that hasn't been posted before by The Oxford Foundation or Governor Snyder. With the Oxford Foundation and PEFA you have their position. Period. This is not really a dialogue.
We are indeed in the land of Orwell.
One hopes the Governor and responsible folks in Lansing will continue their cautious approach to such "reformers." But given Ruddell's position and Lisa Posthumous Lyons (apparently vexed) decision to return to Chair the House Education Committee one can only expect another long an antagonistic year in terms of public education. (A post forthcoming next week on Mr. Pavlov, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, who has much in common with Lisa Posthumous Lyons).
At some point, I think, parents and concerned citizens may simply say "Basta!" (enough) and insist that the Governor step in to address what is fast becoming an intractable debate and simply a hostile working relationship between Lansing, its extremists, and public schools.
The last time that happened, though, the Governer -- having said he would avoid the issue -- signed Right-to-Work legislation or, to take another example, vetoed concealed weapons legislation. In short, we now know his way of addressing seemingly intractable political debates: decide quickly and suddenly for the position he thought best in the first place. Many in the local papers still like very much the idea that the Governor is "pragmatic" in such matters but the evidence is now pretty clear. In the case of School Reform Governor Snyder already has made his position known.
He gave Mr. McLellan and Mr. Ruddell their charge.