Random thoughts on specific things

Pension Plan Deceptions and DeVos Diversions

Michigan’s Republican governor and its Republican legislature are at odds over finalizing the state budget for upcoming fiscal year. The main hangup for pols is the state teacher retirement system and whether the current system should be maintained or turned into a 401k styled plan. Politicians favoring the 401k system are falsely arguing that Michigan cannot maintain the current system. Taxpayers should not be fooled. Republican leaders are following the marching orders given to them […]

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Implausible Solutions for Michigan Education

Ross Douthat of The New York Times has been presenting a series of articles that suggest ways of approaching difficult national challenges that he calls, “deliberately implausible ideas.” These particular columns approach topics with answers that are sure to irritate all sides of any selected issue. Today I am presenting solutions to Michigan’s education matters in a similar manner.

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Your Taxes are Paying for Hobbies

The following article was written collaboratively with Craig Allen, who is the Superintendent of Breitung Schools. The opinions expressed here are our own. Our tax dollars are increasingly paying for boutique classes attended in segregated settings for homeschooled families. Homeschool parents, who do not want their children to attend school with children in their communities, are being catered to by public school districts who are finding workarounds and loopholes in Michigan’s school funding rules. The

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In Praise of Politicians

The disappointing, soul-crushing cynicism about politicians and politics has left no oxygen and no apparent energy for discussion of what a good politician is and the importance of politicians in general to a healthy democracy. If democracy is to survive, politicians are a necessary and required element of the system. The desire to serve the public good is a respectable and honorable goal which merits more credit than it receives. It is likely that there

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Home Schooling and Child Neglect

One function of public schools is to assure the safety of children. The school choice movement, with its lack of oversight, makes a mockery of this aim. As a principal and now as superintendent I have seen the neglect unmonitored school choice makes possible. Public schools are responsible for tracking attendance and for reporting suspected abuse. One way for lousy parents to fly under the radar of intervention on behalf of kids is to pull

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GOP plan would disband state education board

I read with interest Ingrid Jacques’ column about Michigan Rep. Tim Kelly’s plan to dissolve the State of Michigan School Board and replace it with a board appointed by the Governor. Rep. Kelly’s reasoning for wanting to eliminate the School Board are a repugnant example of the poor quality of political leadership Michigan residents are seeing too much of.

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It’s spring and testing season is soon upon us!

High stakes testing and whether once annual tests are worth the time, effort, and costs of such testing has come under a great deal of scrutiny and question throughout our nation. Michigan recently changed from administering the MEAP test to grades 3-9 in the fall to the new M-Step exam which is now given in the spring. Despite the change to a new test, the same questions about the value of any test given one

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Technology, schools, and kids

Because students in our district are issued iPads between grades 3-12, we get a lot of questions about electronic devices in school.  While individually issued technology is a new wrinkle in school for parents, for the generation of kids in school expect to live and work in tech rich environments, it is just the way the world is.  Schools vary in their approaches to technology, here is what we have decided to do in our

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