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Here is the Superintendents’ Association response:
Secret education work group: Wrong work, wrong process, wrong people
Educating our citizens is too important to Michigan’s future to exclude the people who make education their life’s work.
LANSING, MI-Reports today of a secret work group charged with developing a lower-cost model for K-12 public education should alarm anyone who values the state’s youngest citizens. Leaving, for now, the plan’s striking resemblance to earlier failed voucher initiatives, it appears that this clandestine team has embarked on the wrong work, using the wrong process, involving too few people at the table.
It’s the wrong work in that the effort is focused on lowering education’s price tag rather than on building a quality system for all students, putting the work at odds with the desires of the majority of Michigan’s citizens, who call for a higher investment in student learning (Center for Michigan, 2013).
“This is not a child investment strategy,” said William H. Mayes, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of School Administrators. “It’s just another experimental plan to provide education on the cheap.”
The group is using the wrong process in that it violates the core democratic values of its citizens. Americans believe that public systems thrive in an atmosphere of transparency.
“It appears the Oxford Foundation has simply gone underground to hatch schemes that failed to win legitimate support last year,” Mayes said.
Finally, this effort is being undertaken by the wrong people-or at least not all the right ones. Conveners have intentionally shut out career educators, who are the very people who will be charged with leading the change. If it’s true that the Governor “is always interested in seeing what people can come up with in education innovation,” why shut down dialogue with the people whose life work is getting better results with students while simultaneously slashing budgets?
“Fresh voices are always welcome,” Mayes said. “But I wonder…would laymen design a hospital where fewer patients died? It’s a sad day when we look to well-intentioned amateurs to lead Michigan forward.”
If you have never been politically active about trying to save public education, now is the time!