Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Can you love students and hate the schools they attend?

The Michigan legislature and Governor Snyder are pushing education reforms. Their latest proposals (HB 6004 and SB 1358) would create a state-wide school district - the Educational Achievement Authority - that would have no local oversight. These bills would allow state takeover of local unused school buildings. These bills would politicize the process of educational reform and create additional government bureaucracy. The Michigan Department of Education would have no authority in this process. Local school districts would have no voice in trying to help students in their own district.

In addition the EAA would be exempt from state testing that every other public school in Michigan is required to participate in.

Governor Snyder and certain legislators argue that this has to be because they care about students more than "government" schools, bureaucracy, and teacher unions. The Governor and certain legislators would argue that they are truly for the students while public schools care only about the institution and protecting their self-interests.

That is hogwash! 

The Governor was not on a bus two weeks ago that was returning from an 8th grade trip to Washington DC. Students had contracted the flu and were sick. Yet who was there caring for those students. Teachers! Without complaint and without an expectation that anyone would notice these teachers took care of students.

The Governor is not at any high school in the state before dawn to see teachers coming in early to work with students. 

The Governor does not see teachers give up their time on weekends to grade papers, plan lessons, and spend time preparing classroom experiences that will shape and change students lives.

I know that public education can improve. The state legislature has passed and the Governor has signed many new laws in the past year designed to improve public education. Yet the Governor and legislators refuse to allow these efforts to bear fruit.

The Governor and legislators would counter that there is no time to wait.

I would argue that knee-jerk, untried, unproven, and ill-conceived reform efforts are worse than allowing time to implement changes correctly.

Why does our Governor and certain legislators insist that untried, unproven reform efforts will work? Why does our Governor and certain legislators insist that a new state bureaucracy is needed?  

I do not have the answer. What I do know is that the Governor is trying to suggest that he loves students but hates their schools. What the Governor should be doing is loving both the students and the schools they attend.

I also know that the citizens of Michigan should not let the Governor and the certain legislators ram legislation down our throats because they claim they know best.


  1. Thank you for recognizing all the hard work teachers do. Teachers teach because they feel called, they love learning, and want to make a difference. Thank you for getting the word out there because not only are blind people making decisions, but I feel that it is falling on deaf ears. If people don’t take action now – the locally controlled districts that we love could all be but a thing of the past.

  2. Did the eighth grade trip occur without any parent chaperones? In the past parent volunteers were critical to such events. Unlike Teachers who sacrifice extra hours from their paid profession, these volunteers take time off from their jobs often without pay. On some High School trips, they even pay their costs to chaperone. Unfortunately the current school administration in Novi has been consistent in denigrating the efforts of Parent Volunteers. We are the voters, we are the customers. Mr. Matthews and his staff need to remember that.