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Proposed State Education Overhauls ‘Radical and Dangerous,' Superintendent Says

The Oakland Schools superintendent told a forum Tuesday that bills in Lansing would put students at risk with untested, untried forms of schooling.

Area superintendents, including Rob Glass of the Bloomfield Hills Schools, collectively expressed grave concerns Tuesday regarding a 300-page bill drafted for Gov. Rick Snyder that would overhaul how public education is administered in the state of Michigan.

Calling Senate Bill 1358, House Bill 6004, and House Bill 5923 “radical and dangerous,” Oakland Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch told attendees at the Royal Oak Middle School gathering place “unbelievable things are happening in Lansing.”

Superintendents from Royal Oak, Lamphere, Clawson and Southfield joined Glass and more than 350 people during the afternoon and evening sessions of what was billed as a “call to action.”

“There is really important work that has to be done,” said Markavitch. “What’s worrying me about this work that has to be done is it’s being pushed forward so quickly, so fast and in such a rushed order that it’s almost faster than people can learn about it.”

The bills sitting before the lame duck session of Lansing would put students at risk with untested, untried forms of schooling, Markavitch said.

The warnings echoed at a meeting for residents hosted by officials with the Bloomfield Hills Schools with special guest Dave Randels, Assistant Director of the Office of Government Relations and Pupil Services for Oakland Schools Tuesday at the Doyle Center.

"Great night, well attended. Time to contact your legislators regarding the proposed "education reforms " on the fast track," commented Deb Shoultz on the district's Facebook page.

Talking points

Of HB 6004 and SB 1358 Markavitch had this analysis:

  • The bills require the Michigan Department of Education to collect a list from all school districts of their unused buildings so they can be leased or sold to charter, nonpublic and EAA schools.“It’s about seizing buildings paid for with tax payer dollars,” Markavitch said.
  • The EAA and its schools would not be subject to the same laws and provisions of public schools. “Maybe there is an agenda for special interests, who avoid prerequisites for quality and requirements of transparency…and who have no recognition or concern for research based best practices,” Markavitch said.
  • The bills are also tied to HB 5923 or the “New Forms of School Bill," which would allow charter schools to specify the student body they want to serve. “How many of you on any given day would like to specify the student body that you serve? But we don’t. We serve them all. We love them all,” Markavitch said. “The bill allows for discrimination against students on any number things. A new and dangerous move and that is why I call it undemocratic and un-American.”

Podcast available

If you were unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting you can watch Markavitch’s presentation in a podcast by clicking this link.

In addition Oakland Schools offers these supporting articles, research and resources:

Call to action

“For more than 20 years a group has been trying to get public money for private forms of education. In the old days this was called vouchers and the American people defeated this soundly. And, in Michigan it was defeated not once, but twice,” Markavitch said.

But the folks pushing it are persistent, and profiteers, Markavitch said, have since joined them trying to corporatize public education.

“How do we compete with a $1 million, maybe with a million voices,” the superintendent said. Markavitch asked people to take action and contact their legislators through the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education Legislative Action Center website, which helps users craft emails and encourage others to do the same.

“In education we can never afford to spin the data because we have real problems to solve. They look at us every day with real eyes. They listen to us with real ears. And, we can’t give them false data," said Markavitch.

For More:

  • Your Guide to Michigan Education Reform Proposals
  • See the list of remaining meetings scheduled throughout Oakalnd County
  • Patch Blog:
  • Patch Blog: Oxford Foundation posts draft on-line/seeks comments
Mary L. December 06, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I am for (most of) the reforms the Governor is proposing, but it is guys like Marik that is giving the movement a bad name.
Ken Jackson December 06, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Mary L. I agree. I resist (most of) the reforms of the Governor. But in the spirit of keeping alive some hope for true K12 improvement through political compromise I would be remiss if I didn't point out that many current public school teachers and administrators can't represent themselves anymore effectively in writing than Mr. Marik. Still, his garbled grammar and equivocation on credentials should signal a need -- at minimum -- to slow down the "reform" process now being rushed through lame duck legislation. There aren't nearly enough safeguards in place to prevent Mr. Marik from hanging a shingle, getting state money, and starting an academy.
Brad December 06, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Problem with your statement is the indictment on the teachers and administrators! Fact is the main indicator of child achievement is parental involvement. Good and bad teachers exist in both public and private schools. Private schools as well as some charter schools have two factors going their way; higher parental involvement and the ability to oust students who do not live up to their standards. I am a product of private schools from grades k-12 and I can say my parents involvement had more to do with my success than the private school system.
Brad December 06, 2012 at 11:55 PM
I agree lets make government bigger and implement a statewide district that is void of checks. There are problems with the current education system and recent laws have been passed that make it truly easy to get rid of bad teachers. The idea that a unproven system that has no way to compare its future success to current schools, i.e. they won't take the meap, is just further proof that this is a money and grab by the Mr. Snyder.
Bloomfield1876 December 11, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If Lone Pine is the best building ( think you mean Pine Lake) why isn't it being used instead of shuttered? That is the better question. BHSD has been overcapaticized for some time.....someone has to do the job our board refuses to address. by the way what's so wrong with an empty building being used as another school anyway...better transitin empty.

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