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Farmington Area Parents, Educators Jam Meeting on Proposed Education Reform Bills

Oakland Schools Supt. Dr. Vicki Markavitch says participants at county-wide meetings are surprised to learn the extent of bills that will radically change education in Michigan.

About 200 parents and educators from Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Walled Lake and Northville jammed into a meeting room in Farmington Thursday to hear more about legislation that school officials say will create "radical" and "dangerous" changes in Michigan's public education system. 

While it may have seemed she was preaching to the choir, Oakland Schools Supt. Dr. Vickie Markavitch said after the meeting that people are surprised by the depth and breadth of the proposed reforms. The bills "create a super school district, totally removed from oversight" by state and local elected officials and taxpayers.

"Forty-six years in this business, and I have to tell you, unbelievable things are happening in Lansing," said Markavitch, who started her teaching career with Farmington Public Schools. 

Senate Bill 1358 and House Bill 6004 would expand an Education Achievement Authority (EAA) currently in place to help improve failing Detroit schools, Markavitch explained. The new "super district" would operate without oversight by the state superintendent of schools or the state board of education, she added.

The bills, along with House Bill 5923:

  • Exempt the EAA from laws that govern community public schools
  • Designate the governor and a board he appoints to oversee the EAA
  • Allow the EAA to take in any student in the state
  • Allow the EAA to create new categories of charter and on-line schools
  • Require local school districts to turn over a list of empty school buildings so they can be leased or sold to charter, nonpublic and EAA schools. (Markavitch said this requirement may have been eliminated or softened in negotiations.)

The new legislation also allows the EAA to operate charter schools that specialize in the student body they wish to serve, selected by any criteria except religion. Markavitch said this "allows for, and will actually promote, discrimination against students" and will increase segregation by race, ability and economic class.

Markavitch stressed that lawmakers across the country, on both sides of the aisle, are promoting this kind of education reform. She urged attendees to contact their state lawmakers, even those who already oppose to the bills. Their offices keep track of how many constituents contact them about the issue. 

Markavitch’s presentation is also available in a podcast on the Oakland Schools blog.

Read more: 'Million Voices' Critical to Fight Sweeping State Education Reforms

David Anderson November 30, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Can this be seen as a logical extension of the Common Core Standards - the homogenization of our education?
Jon Awbrey December 01, 2012 at 04:47 PM
More like the Corporate Exploitation of children by Pearson, UK and Murdoch, Inc. See this post for more information about Common Core: http://dianeravitch.net/2012/11/30/wireless-generation-wins-common-core-contract/
Jon Awbrey December 01, 2012 at 06:26 PM
The continuing destruction of public education in Michigan is just a small part of a nationwide pattern driven by private corporations, hedge fund operators, opportunists like Michelle Rhee, Rupert Murdoch, and a host of others, and orchestrated by shadow bill mills like ALEC. Citizens concerned about public education can begin keeping up with breaking developments across the nation by reading Diane Ravitch's blog: ► http://dianeravitch.net/
Denise Nash December 01, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I wish that people would have respect for the teaching profession. The state should never have a non-educational foundation and lawyer write proposed legislation that effects our public schools! What do they know about education? I sincerely doubt that any of them have ever stepped into a classroom - although I'd love to see them try to accomplish what our teachers do every day.
Sue Burstein December 02, 2012 at 12:54 AM
The State has already ceded authority to ObamaEd when they received a waiver for NCLB. None of this will matter because we are already part of a National common core standard that will be one size fits all for the whole country. Teachers will have no say in what they teach under ObamaEd as it will all be predefined and designed . And where was FPS in fighting this? They were absent as usual. So what's all the whining about? Local control was usurped first by the Feds, but it has wholly been ignored by our district. Then Zurvalec in her latest missive vilifies Wall Street? Where did that come from. Here's my take in this, you reap what you ignore. And FPS has ignored much over the years.
Darren Whittaker December 02, 2012 at 02:53 AM
*eye roll*
Jon Awbrey December 02, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Here is a related Facebook page ... • http://www.facebook.com/SaveMIPublicSchools About — “Aiming to chronicle the massive opposition to the Michigan EAA, Selective Enrollment Schools, & Parent Trigger bills (HB 6004/SB 1358/HB 5923/SB 620).”
Alissa Katz December 03, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Well gee Ms. Sue Berstein- KAHN..wife of school board member Murray Kahn..where was YOUR husband in this fight you are asking about? Where was your husband in taking the lead in something in FPS? Where was your husband who takes up space on the Board and whines? Where IS your husband who campaigned for whatever you told him to campaign for and has yet to show ANY leadership? You ran him for the Board for what reason? The community is still waiting to see any contribution he may attempt to make for this district he cares so much about..we aren't holding our breath. Your husband is part of the Board you live to criticize, yet there is never any action from him. I was at the meeting as were other Board members, but your husband, a FPS Board member, was absent.
Max Brown December 06, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Bravo Ms. Katz, well said. I am a board watcher, active in the community, a parent, and I attended Dr. Vicki Markavitch's presentation at the Ten Mile School. Was Sue Berstein-Kahn or her husband present? Not that I saw. It seems the loudest most critical members of this district are the most effective at doing nothing. If she is so outraged, why hasn't she volunteered with her husband Dr. Murray Kahn, school board member, to head up a team and work with the district to fight this proposed legislation by Governor Snyder? Instead, Berstein -Kahn as usual takes the opportunity to criticize Zervolic and the Board, yet it is the inaction's of her husband that shriek the loudest. He does seem to be "absent." Her take is "you reap what you ignore".Her husband Dr. Murray Kahn has chosen to ignore his sworn duties as a FPS board member to represent this community.

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