Live chat on Michigan school finance reform
11:54
[Comment From Meegan Holland|MLive.comMeegan Holland|MLive.com: ] 
Hi everybody! Meegan Holland here, statewide news editor for MLive.com. I'll be moderating today's chat with Jen Eyer, MLive's statewide community engagement specialist. The chat will start in a few minutes.
Friday November 30, 2012 11:54 Meegan Holland|MLive.com
11:55
Jen Eyer | MLive.com: 
Hi everyone! This is a moderated chat, which means your questions will be held for approval. We'll try to get to as many questions as we can.
Friday November 30, 2012 11:55 Jen Eyer | MLive.com
11:56
Jen Eyer | MLive.com: 
If you have just a comment rather than a question, we'll post those as we get them.
Friday November 30, 2012 11:56 Jen Eyer | MLive.com
11:56
[Comment From Tim Martin - MLiveTim Martin - MLive: ] 
This is Tim Martin from MLive. Welcome, folks
Friday November 30, 2012 11:56 Tim Martin - MLive
11:58
[Comment From Meegan Holland|MLive.comMeegan Holland|MLive.com: ] 
Joining us is Richard McLellan, whose Oxford Foundation authored proposed education reforms at the behest of Gov. Rick Snyder. McLellan was part of Gov. John Engler's kitchen cabinet and is a well-respected Lansing-based lawyer.
Friday November 30, 2012 11:58 Meegan Holland|MLive.com
11:58
[Comment From Dave Murray MLiveDave Murray MLive: ] 
Hello everyone!
Friday November 30, 2012 11:58 Dave Murray MLive
11:59
Jen Eyer | MLive.com: 
We're getting some great questions so far. Just waiting for our guests to get all logged in and ready to go.
Friday November 30, 2012 11:59 Jen Eyer | MLive.com
11:59
Richard McLellan: 
Richard McLellan has logged on.
Friday November 30, 2012 11:59 Richard McLellan
11:59
[Comment From Meegan Holland|MLive.comMeegan Holland|MLive.com: ] 
Also on the chat is John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education and a Democrat.
Friday November 30, 2012 11:59 Meegan Holland|MLive.com
12:00
[Comment From Janet WatkinsJanet Watkins: ] 
Good day everyone.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:00 Janet Watkins
12:00
Richard McLellan: 
Good day.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:00 Richard McLellan
12:00
john austin: 
Hello
Friday November 30, 2012 12:00 john austin
12:01
Jen Eyer | MLive.com: 
Welcome Richard and John, thanks for joining us!
Friday November 30, 2012 12:01 Jen Eyer | MLive.com
12:01
[Comment From Tim Martin - MLiveTim Martin - MLive: ] 
For Richard: Why was this rewrite of school finance law proposed? Why is it needed?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:01 Tim Martin - MLive
12:01
[Comment From Jan EllisJan Ellis: ] 
Is there an audio component to this?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:01 Jan Ellis
12:02
Jen Eyer | MLive.com: 
Jan: No, there is not an audio component to this. It's a text-only chat.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:02 Jen Eyer | MLive.com
12:02
[Comment From MichiganMan21MichiganMan21: ] 
With the advent of modern technology (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.), what is Michigan doing to keep up with technology and education trends?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:02 MichiganMan21
12:02
Richard McLellan: 
Why are we proposing this? I was asked by the Governor to help draft his annual school finance proposal as part of his budget. In summary here is what we are trying to do:
o Fundamentally: make sure our $14 billion annual investment in education produces citizens that can thrive in a new economy for Michigan.
o Primary objective: Career ready students.
o Use technology to drive more and better student choices: “any time, any place, any way, any pace” learning.
o Create processes to allow the use of individual learning styles through improved use of technology. Includes on-line learning, computer adaptive testing.
o in all public schools Michigan that can improve the use of technology Move from school system based on 19th century agrarian society calendar and an early 20th century industrial factory model to a 21st century global information age system of schools.
o Allow students early access to college level courses and career opportunities: Dual enrollment in community colleges, robust online opportunities, and scholarships for early high school completion.
o Give taxpayers more value for their taxes. Move to a performance based funding approach, not just payment for having children show up at school.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:02 Richard McLellan
12:04
Jen Eyer | MLive.com: 
MichiganMan, we'll get to that question in a bit.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:04 Jen Eyer | MLive.com
12:04
Jen Eyer | MLive.com: 
John is responding to Richard right now.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:04 Jen Eyer | MLive.com
12:04
Meegan Holland|MLive.com: 
Glad to see Dave Murray on the chat. Dave was our longtime education reporter and now is a community engagement specialist for MLive and the Grand Rapids Press. Welcome Dave!
Friday November 30, 2012 12:04 Meegan Holland|MLive.com
12:05
[Comment From Tim Martin - MLiveTim Martin - MLive: ] 
John: What are your general thoughts on the Oxford Foundation proposal to date?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:05 Tim Martin - MLive
12:05
[Comment From JrwquattroJrwquattro: ] 
Mr. McClennan - how do these changes being proposed improve the quality of education for families that are unable to overcome the barriers to making a "choice" for their children's education? Barriers include POVERTY, transportation, ESL, homelessness, single or no parent involvement. When we divide systems and take resources out of public schools it is the families that do not have access to "choice" that suffer most. Is it not our responsibility to insure we provide ALL children with the best possible education? How can we take over a school that does not meet AYP standards, hand it to a private operator with limited transparency, take full foundational funding (plus whatever grant funds) and then exempt these schools from future testing all while we want to financially penalize schools that are mandated to test according to state law for any student not meeting AYP?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:05 Jrwquattro
12:06
john austin: 
We definitely need to improve college and career readiness, help students move at their own pace, and figure out how we fund schools and students to increase performance and better learning. the challenge with what's been proposed to date is a) if we are changing funding while opening up a host of new schools, unlimited on line learning vendors and for profit vendors --we might get a lot of "bad" new choices that don't improve learning and may be worse education options. and b) we could defund existing schools that are already struggling to give a quality education
Friday November 30, 2012 12:06 john austin
12:07
[Comment From Dave Murray MLiveDave Murray MLive: ] 
Thank you, Jen, and I'm glad we have Mr. McLellan and Mr. Austin here, two very well-respected people in Lansing.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:07 Dave Murray MLive
12:08
[Comment From Tim JonesTim Jones: ] 
With this new education finance reform, how will teachers specifically be effected? Also, I am a masters student at Wayne, I will be moving into the job force in the next year, will I have a job with a decent pay?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:08 Tim Jones
12:08
Richard McLellan: 
Responding to Jrwquattro: We have focused on the barriers that exist today and could be exacerbated by our proposals. The hope is that increased technology, including computer assisted learning, more robust online learning opportunities for rural students, and other techniques can help. But these are serious issues facing public edcuation.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:08 Richard McLellan
12:09
[Comment From Joe J-Conservative VoterJoe J-Conservative Voter: ] 
Funding is based on academic performance. Traditional public schools cannot reject students based on average academic scores. At the same time, HB 5923 permits "globally competitive charter schools" to select the only the best student and reject others. In a competition for dollars (zero sum game), how can the public schools win against cherry-picking charter schools? I have no problem with charter schools, I have a problem with an unfair competition for limited resources.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:09 Joe J-Conservative Voter
12:09
john austin: 
re Jr quatto-- if what is being proposed is de facto vouchers, with students shopping for pieces of education--who is it helping, not all parents and families are able shop, to provide transportation to new choices, -- so if we are making a "market" for education--we have to have people be able to actually make the choice--lots will be left behind and we will be helping the most advantaged do better

Plus the proposal lets districts NOT accept students--that is not choice!
Friday November 30, 2012 12:09 john austin
12:09
[Comment From Jarrett SkorupJarrett Skorup: ] 
Mr. Austin has been saying that the proposal is a "voucher system" that would be "absolutely destructive." Mr. Austin is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Brookings has produced a lot of research on actual voucher systems - and almost all of it is positive: http://www.brookings.edu/research/topics/school-choice#/?tab=1
Friday November 30, 2012 12:09 Jarrett Skorup
12:11
john austin: 
Re Tim Jones---i got an email from a great teacher saying --it sure is hard to focus on looking ahead and doing better when we feel like the rug is about to be pulled out from under us...that is a big problem we are demoralizing the very people we need to improve schools, with the prospect of less funding for their schools as people pursue unproven, perhaps poor quality "vendors" of learning taking their money....
Friday November 30, 2012 12:11 john austin
12:11
[Comment From StephenStephen: ] 
For John Austin: Why do you oppose more choices for our children's education?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:11 Stephen
12:12
Richard McLellan: 
Response to John Austin: I disagree with your assertion "if we are changing funding while opening up a host of new schools, unlimited on line learning vendors and for profit vendors --we might get a lot of "bad" new choices that don't improve learning and may be worse education options."

We are not allowing an unlimited online learning vendors. The job of curating online resources will continue to be a critical responsibility of public school officials, in the same way school officials select textbooks and teachers.

Keep out "bad" operators, teachers, etc. is a fundamental part of improving quality.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:12 Richard McLellan
12:12
[Comment From Stephen DadelusStephen Dadelus: ] 
Mr, Austin, Why do Michigan Democrats appear opposed to reform and vigorous efforts to improve our children outcomes while the national Democratic party line seems to embrace reform. Michigan seems out of alignment with the rest of nation, why?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:12 Stephen Dadelus
12:13
[Comment From Dave Murray MLiveDave Murray MLive: ] 
Question for Mr. McLellan -- Does the draft bill do anything to close the gap between the extreme high-spenders like Bloomfield Hills and the districts at the base foundation grant?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:13 Dave Murray MLive
12:13
[Comment From Rod RockRod Rock: ] 
It seems most fair and expedient to allow for existing structures of public schools and community colleges to partner together to allow equitable access to all students in Michigan. Why not support such an approach?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:13 Rod Rock
12:14
[Comment From Mary ValentineMary Valentine: ] 
Jarrett, positive for who? The ones who are left behind in failing schools with no opportunity for choice?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:14 Mary Valentine
12:14
Richard McLellan: 
You are correct, the proposal does not revisit or change what is know as Proposal A. It was not part of our charge.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:14 Richard McLellan
12:14
[Comment From tiggs1tiggs1: ] 
At a time when all the legislators and the governor endorses "consolidating" all of our Smaller public schools as a cost cutting measure, how can you justify opening so many TINY little Charter schools all over the state? Isn't that counter productive to the State of Michigans overall policy?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:14 tiggs1
12:14
john austin: 
I support more choices for our kids education! My own kids are in new and great schools that have been created as better options within the public school context...we don't need more choices if they could be run by for-profit operators, that don't deliver good learning. Backers of these ideas have been unwilling to limit the new schools created to make sure we DONT let operators with poor records of educating kids -- open more schools....the last thing we need is more bad schools taking public money. We have enough schools we are trying to fix already.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:14 john austin
12:14
[Comment From Gary NaeyaertGary Naeyaert: ] 
The use of the word "voucher" is meant to incite folks and bring up previous attempts to use tax dollars for private schools -- which were defeated by voters and isn't the case here, and I suspect Mr. Austin knows that. At the same time, since Proposal A we've determined that state funding will follow students to the public school of their choice. That's all this proposed school aid re-write will accomplish.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:14 Gary Naeyaert
12:15
[Comment From RFRF: ] 
If a student is given a menu of choices...a "choose your own adventure" in education as it were... Who will monitor that they are actually progressing? It may encourage the current "I was home schooled" idea, where really nothing happened at the home, and now the student must be remediated (on our dime btw).
Friday November 30, 2012 12:15 RF
12:15
[Comment From Mary ValentineMary Valentine: ] 
Stephen, that is because the national Democrats are being influenced by people who don't know anything about education.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:15 Mary Valentine
12:15
[Comment From Stephen DadelusStephen Dadelus: ] 
Mr. McCllan, Thank you for your leadership. As a former teacher, I believe the status quo only limits teachers. To curate a respectable profession teachers should embrace differentiating performance. I don't want to be treated like a widgit. Some of my colleagues are pathetic, low lifes that need to be removed from the lives of students.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:15 Stephen Dadelus
12:16
[Comment From Paula LancasterPaula Lancaster: ] 
Richard McLellen said, "The job of curating online resources will continue to be a critical responsibility of public school officials, in the same way school officials select textbooks and teachers." Yet, you you assert that all that occurs under those current administrators is children just showing up. This argument doesn't make sense.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:16 Paula Lancaster
12:16
[Comment From Gary NaeyaertGary Naeyaert: ] 
Responding to Joe J-Conservative Voter: There are many "selective enrollment" public schools within the Detroit Public Schools (Cass Tech, Renaissance, Bates Elementary, etc). Should these be abolished? Also, charter public schools are public.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:16 Gary Naeyaert
12:16
john austin: 
I am absolutely committed to reform, and have been: high standards, strong accountability..new school models, teacher tenure reform, and i am pro-charter and pro-choice...but where we need new choices because schools are failing, NOT new schools everywhere in the state with no quality control....that sap resources from existing public schools.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:16 john austin
12:17
Richard McLellan: 
Response to Red Rock: Read the details of the proposal re public schools and college partnering. This is one of the most active areas of education change: dual enrollment, middle colleges, online access to college credits. Their are barriers and the Governor wants a "seamless transition" between high school and college.
Friday November 30, 2012 12:17 Richard McLellan
12:19
john austin: 
I ask Richard re above commitment to quality--why have you and backers of new choice not been willing to have quality standards for new school operators?

Last year when we lifted the cap the legislature resisted any quality standards for new schools---the EAA law sought to eliminate its schools from testing and accountability like other schools (until we got that changed)--hence we already have a lot of new schools and charters, many of which don't deliver learning and outcomes-----and you are proposing that authourizers like Bay Mills should open more
Friday November 30, 2012 12:19 john austin
12:19
[Comment From Dan QuisenberryDan Quisenberry: ] 
Question to John Austin, your concerns don't seem to reconcile with the high performance we see in higher ed, where Michigan has a very diverse variety of institutions, opportunities, unlimited on-line, for and not for profit providers, even faith based education instruction and it is the model for the world. Why won't the same approach work in K-12?
Friday November 30, 2012 12:19 Dan Quisenberry
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