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Ruddell "Orwells" The Center for Michigan Survey

Peter Ruddell, author of the Public Education Finance Act, has decided he really isn't interested in meaningful dialogue with those who oppose his efforts change public education as we know it.

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.

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.

Mike Reno January 30, 2013 at 03:11 AM
I think "reformers" are open to reasonable discussion. But the status-quo folks offer nothing to discuss. They criticize, offering absolutely no alternatives, other than more stall tactics, such as "we need to study other states" or "we can pull together a list of best practices". Never mind that this sort of work should've been going on since, well, since forever (if they are as professional as they profess to be). They offer nothing more than platitudes pretending to acknowledge the need for improvements, but always ultimately concluding the it's someone else's district that needs improvements. Ours is just fine, thank you. Or, they claim they are making changes, but stress the need to go slow. Give us another 10-20 years... We'll get there. They greatly exaggerate the proposed changes, tossing out words like "decimate", and attempting to frighten people with nonsense like "this will DESTROY" public education. Never mind that there is not one single shred of tangible of solid evidence that it will do so. Oh, and by the way... we need more money, a lot more money. It's the same song... the same dance... over and over and over.
R Gibson January 30, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Mr. Reno with all due respect, how are you any different than those you insult and diminish? Time and time again, you use the same arguments, platitudes, and exaggerations. Simply embracing change for change sake doesn’t make your position of "throwing the baby out with the bath water" any better than those who wish to keep the status quo or enhance it. Fine you don't like the status quo, we get it, in spades. But that doesn't mean that your position, other than in your mind, is any better or superior to those who wish to make small and incremental changes. Only with hindsight, in 10-20 years will you really know if one way is better than the other. You are a perfect example of what is wrong with this country right now. Just like the Liberals on the ultra-left and the tea partiers on the ultra-right, you believe that only one way is right and you will not hear anything that conflicts that. You are unwilling to listen to anything anyone else has to say and when someone disagrees with you, you resort to insults. Frankly, the result of your behavior is that many of us think you a total joke. In my case, I am very pleased that you live in Rochester and are part of their school system and not ours. We have enough nuts over here to deal with.
Neal Charness January 30, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Mr. Gibson: We have had our disagreements from time to time but you are spot on regarding Reno pretends his diatribes are discussion. Thank you for saying it. I wish him well but elsewhere.
Neal Charness January 30, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Regarding what Ken posted that Ruddell seems to have made up his mind regardless of input from the citizenry it seems imperative that if we don't want this to take place we need to engage our legislators before it's too late. They need to realize that backing the governor and the Oxford/PEFA's preordained decisions will affect how people vote, in our day that's what works with politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Jenny Greenwell January 30, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Mike, I thought you'd like to know that I recently met a new young teacher who has hired into the RCS system. She (enthusiastically!) teaches third grade in one of 9 RCS elementary schools, and was happy to report that there is no discussion about closing schools in your district. She lives here in BH, and follows district issues closely. Seems like all we do, here in the BHSD, is close schools to SAVE MONEY, yet we retain "closed" buildings and re-purpose them, even expand and renovate them, often for uses not related to K-12 ed. I'd love to see a time when our school board spends more time working on education outcomes and academic achievement; less on fancy facilities and new taxes. It seems that this is not likely.

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