Playlist: Michigan

Randy Liepa: An update on efforts to build a strong, thriving public education system in Michigan

November 19, 2018 1:12:00
Kaltura Video

Dr. Randy Liepa, Superintendent of the Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency, discuss es the current state of K-12 education in Michigan and how a unique collation of business, education, labor, philanthropy, and state and community leaders called “Launch Michigan” has joined forces to promote research-based strategies for educational excellence and equity for all Michigan students, with a goal of bridging partisan divisions and transcending election cycles.


Good afternoon I'm really glad you were
all able to join us this afternoon

my name is Deborah Horner and this lecture
is actually a part of my course that I

teach here in the foreign school
called Michigan politics and

policy but
instead of hoarding our speaker.

Dr Randy leaper.

Also ourselves we thought we'd open up the
doors and invite the rest of you to come

in and share in Dr Lee I thin
sites into the current state of K.

through 12 education in Michigan and
where we're hoping to go in the future so

really a plan is one of the steering
committee members of launch Michigan

this is a new partnership of
Michigan businesses education labor

philanthropy civic leaders as well as
parents who are interested and can try to

work in a bipartisan way to move
the needle a needle that has been very

obstinate on improving quality education
the state Dr Lee up also happens to be

the superintendent of the Wayne County
regional education service agency Wayne R.

Yes he's been that since
August of 2015 Wayne

is the largest education services agency
serving 33 public school districts and

academies in Wayne County.

Also Serve has served 30 years in public
education prior to heading is our E.S.A.

or reset part of Headingley So he was the
superintendent of Livonia public schools

which was one of the largest
school systems in the state and

in 2014 he was honored as Region one
superintendent of the year in Michigan

as well as administrator of the year for
the Michigan P.T.S..

Dr Leopold a bachelor's from Hillsdale
College a master's in educational

leadership from Wayne State University and
a doctor in educational leadership from.

But despite his spartan affiliation we
have to have him join us here today thank

you so much for coming speak to us I

know it's great to be here I mean I can
already hear me OK All right how many

of you even know what an intermediate
school district is already so anybody.

All right I like an honest crowd I
like an honest group that's good.

The state of Michigan actually has set
up entities across the state of Michigan

there are 56 of them across the 83
counties that provide support for

their local school districts within their
region and so their intermediate school

districts are actually sort of between
the State Department of Education and

the local school districts and we provide
a variety of different support and

resources for local school districts we
have Wayne Risa train about $20000.00

plus teachers a year in a variety of
different areas we have expertise and

educational services we have content area
experts we have assessment experts we have

school improvement exorcists experts they
all work with the local school districts

to help provide support as they're doing
their work in their classrooms and so we

have that educational services support we
also provide oversight for the G.S.R. P.

pre-state wide preschool program we have
about $480.00 classes of 4 year olds in

Wayne County that participate and
that we provide overall support

service to all of the special education
programs in Wayne County so a countywide

special education plan we have what we
call active teen programs with which of

the more severely disabled students we
actually have regionalized programs for

them so they can receive better service we
have the same types of programs for E.L.

learners and
then we do a lot of back end stuff for

school districts and so when you think
about instruction when you think about

technology in schools
the software programs that run

all the finance systems of software
programs are run report cards attendance.

So if you get a report card from Wayne
County that actually comes from our system

that our local school districts use along
with all the backup services we provide

internet access etc So there are all sorts
of back and services that we provide we

train bus drivers we provide support to
business offices and then we also play

a very important role in advocating for
local schools so I do a lot of policy work

here a little bit about some of the things
that I do as a release the policy but

I'm there advocating for the 33
school districts 108 charters 270000

kids in Wayne County on behalf of those
of those school systems and so that's

a little bit about what we do I say were
many of you will remember this the O.B.S.

of commercials we don't actually provide
and provide the service we actually make

a better that's what we do at Wayne Reese
and so that's my background I've been in

public schools for quite a while actually
I'm not a teacher my background is finance

I was actually a C.P.A.
that's when I came out of school as a with

a bachelor's degree I started working for
a C.P.A. firm in C.P.A. firm I worked for

did a lot of work as a relates to
public school public schools and

publicness Balinese and so I had variety
of clients and started working for

the WAYNE WEST plan schools because
they were a client of mine and

so that's how I got into the field of
education my advanced degrees have all

been in leadership but I actually have
a finance background and so school funding

is one of the areas of expertise
that I bring to the table when we

talk about policy here in Michigan so
what I thought I'd do today

with the topic I had in regards to
Michigan policy you know where are we

going I thought it would be important to
provide context in regards to how we've

gotten to where we're at today so I want
to paint a picture of a variety of things

that have been important from a policy
standpoint over the last several years and

talk about how that's impacted
where we're at a Michigan today and

then potentially how we
might move forward so.

Well go ahead and
get started with these key policy areas.

In Michigan curriculum instruction
finance staff management and

you'll understand a little bit more and

I get into it accountability in school
choice these are key policy areas where

there's been a variety of policies
implemented here in the state of Michigan

that has impacted how our schools function
and how they how they performed and so

curriculum in the struction in 2006 that
we actually had a significant change

here in Michigan in regards to high school
graduation requirements there are a lot of

graduation requirements now that are tied
into content and that was a big change for

local school districts we believe it or
not before then the only requirement was

a half a credit in the state of Michigan
that was the only requirement to have

a high school diploma and so
that changed significantly in 2006.

Pros and Cons certainly focus more on
content much more of a pre college

type of curriculum that kids would
have coming through high school and

the offset of that is there are a lot
fewer a lot of for kids to take in so

now kids are choosing between for
example C.T.E. classes and

other electives that are of interest to
them we see that pendulum starting to

switch back now because businesses want to
see kids they have more opportunities for

real life experiences in the classroom but

that was a big change in 20062010 we
adapt to the Common Core State Standards

these are standards in regards to what
kids should know what every great every

grade level as they go through
their high there are 12 experience

we actually partnered with 41 other states
as related to our adopting these common

core standards they have actually you
know as you may have heard there's been

some controversy around the Common Core
standards a lot of misunderstanding but

really just again relates to the types
of standards that we would expect kids

things for kids to know what each grade
level going up through the grades so

that was adopted in $2010.00 and
what happened were a variety of.

Dominoes after that because school
districts then had a start changing their

curriculum to meet the Common Core State
Standards and a good chunk of that sort

of ended up with the assessment process
for local schools we had to have a.

Test called the meet test in Michigan and
that switched in

to use the standards that were more

aligned to the Common Core and so they
went to a new test that was called the N.

step test that's been changed
multiple times in 201516 or

changed from the a.c.t as being

the basically the high school test and

from the old meet test provided
before then that went to S.

that it was more aligned to
the Common Core standards.

And the other thing that I would say from
a from a policy change standpoint that was

been a big issue in the last few years has
been the 3rd grade reading and retention

bill trying to focus on the fact that
we're struggling in Michigan as relates

to 3rd graders being proficient in reading
and what should we do about that and so

there is quite a bit of debate that one
and from a policy standpoint in Lansing

and eventually what came out of that
was a reading and retention bill so

from a big picture as I look at
this what I see are as we've

progressed in Michigan higher standards in
regards to what the expectations are for

our students but at the same point in time
for the practitioners in the field for

teachers for our principals for our
building leaders what they have seen as

a lot of change and so one of
the frustrations has been what they would

describe as a moving target over
the last certainly the last 10 years and

in Michigan want to move on to
finance because that's another area

that people are talking a lot about here

in Michigan in regards to where add insult
to history the history behind that really

has to do with the significant change that
happened in 1904 it was called proposal

a who's heard of proposal a OK we've
got a few here that have heard of for

foldaway in 1904 we went as a state
from reliance on a property tax system

in local communities funding your schools
to a statewide system why was that

because there were 2 really big issues
number one there was quite a disparity

between school districts in regards
to how much money they received and

the other was there was a significant over
reliance on property tax that was starting

to tax people out of their houses.

And look in at that point in time
I was the assistant superintendent

in when West land for business and

operations we had a the highest milage
rate in the state of Michigan 47 Mills.

Right now you pay 6 mills for
your for your and your house for

we had a 47 mil levy at that point in time
I knew and a home in Wayne West land and

so they reduced that the increased sales
tax that's how they made up the difference

in the money so the increased
sales tax from $0.04 to $0.06

they reduce property tax and so
that was the way they address that and

then what they started to do is they
started to try to get the the dollar

amount that was really vary between school
districts closer and closer in regards to

how much money on a per student
basis every school district had so

this the slide that you see in your
package just shows the significant change

that occurred in 1904 you can see
the vast majority of money in 1903

came from the local property tax in local
communities and then you can see it one

significantly the other way and now the
state really controls school funding so

that was really the thing that I
would highlight as relates to one of

the big pieces is the state really
took over the responsibility for

funding schools once this
happened it was no longer

as much a local locally
controlled issue and so

you can see what happened in the amount
of money school districts had across

the state of Michigan if you go back to
$9495.00 you can see the lowest funded

districts had about $4200.00 the highest
funded where at that point in time or

richest school systems in the state of

Michigan the Birmingham's the Troy's
they were actually above and

beyond that when 93 when the new
law went to place the state said

look at we're going to
cap you it's $6500.00 but

then you can levy still some local
tax in the local community to keep us

$79000.00 per student that was allowed but
you can see for

the math vast majority of districts
there's about a $2300.00 difference and

you can see on the far right that's down
to about a $600.00 per student difference.

So the 2 things that they
tried to do under proposed way

really did happen they did reduce reliance
on property tax and they did close

the gap in regards to the school districts
in regards to how they were funded but

there are a variety of other things that
were going on in local schools over that

period of time that have really impacted
them and so if you look at this chart you

can see that at one time we were quite
about a quite a bit above the national

average in regards to how much money
we spent in Michigan and education and

that has that has slowly creep to
where we're now in a position at least

as of 201314 where we had actually fallen
slightly below the national averages and

so that's had an impact on
local school districts but

there are some other things
that are really bent.

That have really put pressure on
local school districts in Michigan

that have caused funding problems for
the school districts So

enrollment decline big big issue
enrollment is king when you're doing

a school budget because basically you
get that amount of money per student and

you multiply it by the number of kids they
have that's the way that Usenet the way

that we fund the vast majority
of schools in our state so

when I was a superintendent Livonia I
used to say well we have $25.00 buildings

in our in our community if we lost one
student in every building OK that would

be about $25.00 kids you multiply that by
about a 1000 dollars per kid we were down

almost $200000.00 in funding
what cost could we reduce

so gotta have a principal still gotta
turn the lights on so gotta run the water

can't even cut teachers with $1.00 just
losing one to a student in the school and

so declining enrollment has been
a significant challenge for

local school districts in Michigan and

as you know the economy especially
going back 220-082-0020 extension 10.

People were leaving our state and so the
streets were having a tough time reducing

as their funds were going the other thing
from a policy standpoint that happened at

this time back in 2011 was we took
the check cap off of charter schools and

so while our role was going down we were
actually creating more schools across

the state of Michigan there were
$300.00 charter schools and so from

a funding standpoint that put pressure
on local school districts because again

if they lost one kid in every building to
a charter school they lost the money and

they could reduce their costs so
that was a big thing that put pressure on

the retirement system has been a killer
for the state of Michigan we now

pay our little over 30 percent of every
dollar that we have coming in to fund

the retirement system there are a variety
of reasons that that pressure is there.

A part of it again has to do with
fewer people in the system paying into

the system it's almost all
over like full security and

so school systems are now responsible for

that cost back in 1903 by the way prior to
proposal a they were not responsible for

that that was a sage responsibility local
district responsibility now and so their

budget was getting crapped in regards
to retirement costs on an annual basis

special education funding same thing
the costs were increasing greater than

the increases in the amount of money they
were getting on a per student basis so

that was putting admission pressure
on local school districts.

School aid funds diverted
to higher education so

when you think about the school a pot OK
Remember the state took over funding for

schools they basically said OK when that
happens we're going to put sales tax into

the pot We'll put some income tax in
the Pat we're going to put the lottery

right the lottery goes into the pot and
so that pad was there for

the state of Michigan but what happened
over time as there were struggles

in the state as relates to their budget
they started to divert think that

used to be paid for outside of the school
a budget into the school a budget.

Higher education is one of them
committed Caligiuri is and

universities when they get their money
from the state some of it if not all of it

in case of Community Colleges comes
from the school aid budget it's about

a 1000000000 dollars last year that
never was taken on the school a budget

before $2010.00 I think of 2009 actually
when it began with a $200000000.00

suppose of loan so that put pressure
on the school funding system.

We continue to face school
infrastructure funding.

Disparities between school districts
because that's basically pay for

still by property tax and so if you're
in a high proper hour if you're in

a high assessed valuation community you're
in a lot better position to fix your

buildings up than if you're in
a low S.T.V. school system and

so what's happened with all these
things that have happened over time.

Basically what you've seen is a gradual
reduction of programs and services for

kids at the same point in time when we've
seen an increase in the number of at risk

students that are better coming into our
schools that need additional support and

so when I was the superintendent
Livonia in 2003 we had our for

idea of really good programs in place
that were supporting kids especially at

risk kids we had lower class sizes we had
admission a lower class sizes in our more

at risk buildings we had a program called
Reading Recovery which is a one on one

program for 1st graders to get them
caught up to reading grade level we had

a $2500000.00 professional development
budget a $2500000.00 textbook budget and

by the time I left in 2015 we had to
get rid of all the class size reduction

reduction pieces that we had in place
our $2500000.00 professional development

budget was down to 0 we actually had
some money from the federal government

that we could do teacher training with
our textbook budget went from $2500000.00

down to $500000.00 our reading
**** recovery program has gone.

Now that's just not our story in Livonia
that's the story of our pretty much every

school system across the state of Michigan
the other thing that happened over that

period of time is the number of
students that we have coming to us

that were premier duce lunch with the sort
of our gauge in regards to students

that are going to come
in the higher poverty.

Student the more at risk they are to
have have learning disabilities or

learning needs when they come into
our schools we went from a 5 percent

accountants are free and
reduced lunch in 2002 up to over

coming in with more needs and we had

less less service surprise over time so
that's been the that's been the push or

the or the pull when it's been coming to
what's going on in school funding across

the state of Michigan these
things you may have heard of

over that period of time there are a few
things that have happened we had emergency

managers appointed that was a law that was
passed in the early read around 201-2011

that said that if your school system was
faltering financially that the school

system of the BE no longer in charge of
the actual district the school board would

no longer be a charge will be they'll
be an emergency or emergency manager

appointed and every 18 months if you still
have problems will be a new one appointed

that happened for almost a period 10
years in our largest school district

we had 2 school districts universe
in Inkster that actually disappeared

there almost started to go down so
much as I gave you that example that

their debt was way outside outside of what
they were ever going to be able to pay so

the state and of closing the school
districts and in Detroit because of

the significant increase in charter school
students they have about 50 percent of

the kids now they go to charter schools
in their community again it's the it's

whether you agree with charter schools or
not that's not my point my point is

the way we fund schools in Michigan and

because of that Quicken Roman
declined that they had.

They literally ended up going bankrupt and
so and it wasn't like well

they didn't know how to manage their money
they had an emergency manager in place for

almost 10 years and the Detroit public
school system that emergency manager

assigned to them that's supposed to be a
financial expert that would be able to and

they had all knowing powers they could
pretty much do whatever they wanted

in regards to running the school system
they couldn't balance the budget

they closed 100 schools only have 100
schools open up in their boundaries and so

number one I saw how the enrollment works
they couldn't cut the cost nearly as fast

as the loss of revenue because someone
would open up a charter school in

the neighborhood significant
pressure that led to that and.

In Detroit so let me go to the next.

The next area of policy we talked
about finance and we've talked about.

The 1st item which was the curriculum and

staff management a variety of changes that
have occurred in the last 10 years in

regards to how we manage our staff and
our ability to manage our staff and

so as you know there are tenure laws in
the state of Michigan for teaching staff

in 2007 there are significant changes that
were made to that particular tenure law

there were limits on seniority and that
had to do with rights within the contract

or many of the contracts on local
school systems as a relates to where

they could you know what their placement
would be in their local school district or

other guarantees that they may have in
their contract that would not have been

a management choice but would have been
something that was found in the contract

so those were limited tenure he had
to get he had Dafydd years instead of

significant changes to the evaluation

system it started with that if you had 3
years of ineffective evaluations you would

have to you would lose your job there's
a new piece of that this says that if

you have 2 years of ineffective
evaluations you actually have to notify

the parents that have
a class with that teacher.

And the most recent changes that
just happened in 2015 have to do

with the actual process they actually have
specific forms that school districts and

principals had to be trained on along with
their teachers in regards to how they

would be evaluated and a portion
of their a valuation now has to be

a has to do with a student achievement and
so anyway it was 25 percent for

the last couple of years it's now 40
percent of the evaluation has to be based

on some type of assessment that
are given to kids in their school.

And so there are a couple of things to
look at here in regards to the impact on

this this certainly gave management
more flexibility in regards

to the placement of teachers in regards to
addressing teachers that were struggling

in their classrooms at the same point in
time when we went to this high stakes.

System of evaluating teachers that also
put a significant amount of pressure on

teachers struggle about how do
you actually measure that and.

I think at a certain level really wore
down teachers in regards to even their

feeling about them doing their
work in their schools and

so those are a couple things that I would
mention as it relates to the tenure

to the tenure changes next
ARIAD look as accountability

and so historically back in

law that's a federal law it was put in
place it was sort of the 1st step in

regards to how and how states have to
hold their schools accountable and

so what they said was that number one they
had to basically establish reading a mass

standards which was not a requirement
prior to that then what they must do is

they must assess students at least once at
the elementary middle school high school

you might remember Michigan used to be
the 4th grade 7th grade 11th grade so

you may have been a 4th grade 11th grade
or 7th grade at that point in time.

And then they said schools must intervene
were students are not making adequate

yearly progress and they had a whole
process in regards to how you identify how

that is that changed in 2001 the big big
law that came into place of the relates

to accountability across the country
was the No Child Left Behind Act and

what that basically said
was number one by 2014

all students would be proficient in L.A.
and math and that was

a quite a shock wave that one through the
education community when that happened and

that at that did not happen and
they actually through the adequate yearly

progress process they set up criteria the
school districts would have to follow and

if you weren't keeping up with that
criteria there were consequences could

be anywhere from having to reconstitute
your school to potential school closure

changing in minutes trader's a priority
of things that they had in place

if you were not meeting
the criteria well as time went on

that a shocker for
those of us in the field not every kid was

going to meet the standards for they were
going to be proficient and reading and and

English they were starting to see that
that was not going to happen more and

more schools were not being the adequate
yearly progress requirements and

so what they did is they said OK
we're going to change some things and

this is after Obama became president they
said OK we're going to the Michigan State

to the National Department of Education
said we're going to make some changes here

and what we're going to do is provide some
incentives to improve achievement versus

mandatory requirements and
then they started creating waivers for

local school districts
because some local school

districts believe it or not we're
not going to have every single kid

meet to meet the meet the standards in
regards to what had been set out for

them to be proficient.

And so that occurred in 2009 they
could apply for the waivers.

But when this came one of the things
that happened is there are more strings

attached not only to the money but to
the waivers and so that was getting pretty

onerous for local school districts also
that they were trying to deal with these

vast majority of new requirements that
were coming in as a related to being able

to get a waiver to not have
your school either closed or

reconstituted so
what happened in Michigan over this time

is the state of Michigan said OK well we
have to put more specific rules for our

state in process to meet the requirements
under the new federal guidelines and

so they did this through a section called

it did meet the requirements 1st of all
we had to identify the lowest achieving

schools across the state of Michigan
we had identified the bottom 5 percent.

They created what they call the school
reform office at the state level that

would supposedly provide some kind
of sanctions for the schools that

were in the bottom 5 percent that were
not able to get out there for specific.

Interventions that were put in place at
that point in time you could be either

reconstituted you could be closed
you could appoint a C.E.O.

of the school a new C.E.O..


When there's one other catch it as
we go through but those were new

requirements that were put in place under
this under this particular piece and.

That was starting to cause problems
because as the school reform office was

starting to work with schools who could
not get out of the bottom 5 percent list

what they said they actually started
coming in this is just a couple years ago

you may or may not remember they
were going to start closing schools.

And surprise surprise local communities
were very excited about that.

They said my gosh you're
not going to come in and

call the local school where's my kid going
to go how can I get them there how are you

going to guarantee me that that school's
any better than the school that you're

going to send them to down the road there
is a significant issue that came about in

regards to the state starting to implement
some of those school closures the same

with appointment of a C.E.O. all they
want to do that needs Detroit schools and

who's going to be the C.E.O. Why are they
going to be more qualified than the people

that were doing the work there
already are there any seals I

mean who's going to come in and actually
do that work and so the logistics of that

from a commonsense standpoint started
to overweigh or outweigh doing

our making those changes and so
what happened was at the state level the.

What happened at the state level is that
the governor got together with the then

state superintendent Brian Weston and they
said we will create partnership schools

and what they meant by that is they would
have a partnership agreement with any

school that is that was on that list
that could not get off the list and

instead of closing or
being appointed a C.E.O.

They would set a set of benchmarks at 18
months and goals at the end of $36.00

months that they would have to reach in
order to not have admission of sanctions

on their school the partnership is between
the Intermediate School District and

the State Department of Education and the
local school district so those are the 3

partners in the partnership schools and
that is sort of now the.

The supposition of where
accountability is in the state of

Michigan as it relates to the requirements
under the federal requirements.

And so you know we've been
actively involved in that work.

And so what's happened since then is the
No Child Left Behind law is finally been

repealed or replaced with the Elementary
and Secondary Schools Act which is Assa So

that is now the new accountability
requirements at the federal level so

you can see the houses the sort
of played out over time and

those new accountability rules at the
Essel level basically what they've done

is they've taken a lot of the out
a lot of the guidelines that are the.

Rest of the top guidelines that were put
into place he still had to have a bottom 5

percent list but they gave the states a
lot more flexibility number one in regards

to what that looks like what schools have
to do and what the Ultimately what the.

Sanctions are if indeed if
the schools do not show improvement

move on to choice another big
significant issue in Michigan has been

policy around schools of choice it
started in 1993 right when proposal K.

A came into place one of the reasons that
they wanted to put together a foundation

allowance and have a dollar amount beside
every single student in the state of

Michigan if they wanted
that money to be portable

they wanted to be able to move that money
from school district to school district or

school district to other school entity and

so that was put in place with 9394 at
the same point in time they passed the law

passed a law that outlined the process in
regards to if you want to start up your

own public school it is a public
school you could do that in Michigan.

choice which meant if you lived in Livonia

you want to go to Plymouth can as long as
Plymouth Kansas board so they will accept

students you could do that that was
in her district choice and that is

widespread across the state of Michigan
certainly in Wayne County where I live.

Right now in place in 2000 there
was actually a valid proposal then

that would allow for vouchers which is
really taking the foundation allowance and

allowing it to go to private schools
that are not public school systems

that failed though that did
not pass in 2000 that was

that was defeated at the ballot box
there and that statewide proposal and

then again a significant change that
occurred in 2011 was eliminating

the cap in regards to the number of
charter schools that they are so when you

think about choice in Michigan we're
definitely an all in choice state there's

no question about that when you look at it
we actually have about 10 percent of our

students that are in a charter school
in Michigan so that's a pretty large

percentage compared to other states in
fact it's a very large percentage compared

to other states if you look at Bint Flint
to Detroit they're actually about

half of their students are in charter
schools in in their communities.

One of the other some the other
differences just from a management

standpoint is that in Michigan there are
more for profit management companies that

are hired by the school boards of the
charter school to run the school system so

the way charter schools work is they
have to have a school board and

they have to have a chartering operation
process that they go through and typically

they'll hire a company to come in and run
the system to hire someone to come in and

actually run the the school and
so that can be

done by a variety of different people in
a variety of different ways we actually

chartered a school in Livonia at one
time and we were very active in regards

to the management of that so that can vary
from Charter School the charter school.

And in Michigan what they see is
there's a quite a few more profit for

profit entities that do this
in fact to the point where

there are a variety of
the top nonprofit charter.

Entities that run the schools that
actually won't come to Michigan because

of the lax sort of lax rules
around charter schools.

Teachers are not the retirement system and

that's a significant difference between
a job under most of the laws and

rules charter schools and public
schools are under the same rules but

one of the big difference is that if
you're a teacher in the charter school and

a charter school you don't have to be
the state you're not required to be in

the retirement system number
says almost a 30 percent cost.

And so they could provide a different
retirement program for their teachers

where if you're a teacher you pick your
local school system here in Ann Arbor

if you're a teacher by law you have to be
in the state retirement system so that's

one other significant difference and
then the other thing that we are cited for

quite a bit of Michigan is minimal over
sight of the Authorizer the authorizes

of the entities that actually can set up a
charter school that can be a local school

district it can be an Iowa City it can
be a university those are the entities

that can actually authorize
the opening of a charter school and

here in Michigan we don't have quite
the same oversight as they do in.

In other states so.

Again the impact of that you know with
the lifting of the cap we literally

have over $300.00 charter
schools in Michigan

again it's not an issue of
whether you're a supporter or

not a supporter of charter schools as much
as it is the way that we fund schools in

Michigan declining enrollment in our local
districts now they're losing more kids

had actually bankrupt our largest
school system but it's just not their

employees can which is a high performing
school system they actually have.

About 3000 kids going to charter schools
in Plymouth can some of them are coming

from their neighboring districts but
it's just not Detroit or

flint that are impacted by this it's
anybody from a financial standpoint that

will lose you know $100.00 kids
anywhere a 100 kids times $7500.00

a $750000.00 and so
that's put a significant pressure on.

Local school districts from
a financial standpoint and

that's been one of the big impacts of
that particular of that particular.

Policy So so let me summarize sort of
where we're at from a policy standpoint in

Michigan so we can talk a little
bit about where maybe we can go so

policy more rigorous standards.

But it's been a challenge because it's
been a moving target in regards to what

what the expectations are for local
schools from a fine to finance Sam point

we're still competitive nationally but to
the circumstances that I that I described

and Roland per pressures and other
issues with retirement etc There really

has been a significant pressure on local
school districts which has really.

Created a lot has turned
into a loss of programs

in our local schools
over the last 15 years.

From a staff management standpoint from
a policy standpoint we do see more

management rights and it's provided us
some admission flexibility in regards to

dealing with certain issues that that we
have to deal with in local schools but

that has come with a tradeoff
also of high stakes.

High stakes of really high
stakes mentality in regards to

what the expectations are for teachers and

I think what we're seeing is a certainly
a demoralized teaching staff in our state

I don't know what the numbers here
at the University of Michigan but

northern Michigan just closed their
college of education down this past month

gone Madani University in
Livonia where I live but

down of years universities have

Our school districts are really struggling
in regards to finding quality people that

want to go into and stay in the field of
education and so that's been a challenge.

Accountability again when I highlight
policies with accountability

the struggles been as much as
anything the moving target piece and

you know what really are the best
ways to measure schools and

again from a choice standpoint more
options for parents without a question but

it's really spread out the resources
across the state of Michigan and

it's watered down the funding for
all of our kids overall So

those are the pieces that are in place and
so what's happened in Michigan and

this is painful for me to say because
I've been a superintendent since 2002 but

when you look at how we're doing and
I was picked 4th grade L.A.

That's what I picked up for the example
here we're one of 5 states across

the entire country that have actually
seen our scores on the nape go backwards

were lower today than we were back in 2002

we're only one of 5 states that is
actually declining we have less than

in reading at the 3rd grade level as I'd

die down to 5 by our state standards again
state rankings when you look at L.A.

the 4th grade we used to be ranked

in regards to compared to
the other the 50 states and

one of our one on one and

readiness benchmarks it's
a pretty it's a pretty sad.

Demoralizing picture of where
red in Michigan you guys

how many how many here
one school in Michigan.

OK We have great schools in Michigan
there are a lot of good things going on

my 3 kids got an excellent education
going through Michigan public schools

they're doing great there a lot
of good things going on but

from a big picture standpoint we've
got to do something different that's

that's my 2 cents in regards to where
we're at There's a lot of things

that you can talk about measurements
there are a lot of arguments in regards

to what you should be looking at
what you shouldn't be looking at but

we're pretty hard pressed in the state
to say that our policies over the last

whatever number of years are really
resulting in do improved achievement for

our kids and so where do we go from here

now to come back to launch Michigan but
I want to talk about a variety of studies

that have been done in the last couple of
years because people are recognizing that

we really need to sort of relook at
where we're at and sell governors

made a variety of recommendations

the this you know part of education
has gone through with the variety

of stakeholders to come up with a plan
to be attached 10 state in education

over the next within the next 10 years as
a cation trust Midwest which is a major

think tank across the country
they've developed a report and

then we have the school finance research
collaborative that is really looked at

a different way of funding
schools which will spend.

A moment on in a minute here are the main
pieces that came out of those reports

that I would highlight a few in regards to
where we should be going in the state of

Michigan with our educational system and
I highlighted the I don't know if you can

see that that 1st one is bolded but it's
called it says elevate the profession.

And that really is multi-faith that
it regards them in regards to how

you go ahead and you actually.

You actually do that but

sure that that the colleges have kids
that are interested in going into

education they're getting them in
the program and having them be prepared so

that's a significant piece I I try to
draw the analogy any tie anybody in

Detroit Tigers everybody love the Tigers
right maybe not so much this year.

Well they got a pretty good managers name
is Ron Gardenhire it's pretty good manager

but you're only as good as the people
you can put on the field right we need

really really good people to go into
education so we can get them in the field

we are having now teacher
shortages in our school systems

mostly in special education and
some technical fields but

in our poor communities it's every
single position across the board

we are we we are in dire shape because
it's all about feeding the pipeline and

our pipeline starting to dry up I just
gave you a couple examples of that but

we have to address that issue when I
was the superintendent Livonia early on

we'd have $200.00 people that would be
coming in applying for an elementary

teaching position now it's pretty normal
for us when we went to the college fairs

lines out the door that's starting to get
shorter and shorter for the bony A and you

can only knowing only know what that means
when we talk about what it is in a school

system that doesn't have the resources
to support the students that are coming

in with fewer needs and and a pay scale
that's a little bit more competitive

you can imagine what that's like for those
other school systems that are fighting for

those same same teachers so elevating
the profession is a big big topic for

us it's not only getting the best people
in that it's providing them the training

once they get in and the resources and
support to do their job.

And so that's a big big piece reviewing
the funding model I talked about

the school finance research collaborative
this is a group of people that

came together not just educators but it's
people from across the state of Michigan

we have people from higher read on the
committee we have people from non-profits

we have people that are policy experts we
have former legislators both Democrat and

Republican on the committee we have
business leaders that came together and

the one thing that everybody who
volunteered to be on the school finance

research clabber of agreed with is that
our school funding system here in Michigan

needs to be fixed it's warm it's welcome
in regards to 1925 years ago and

so they came together and they did
a study they hired 2 firms to come in and

do a very detailed study in regards to
what does it cost to educate a child if we

want all kids to meet the state standards
that was the criteria and they looked at

it a lot differently than most people
look at when they look at school funding

studies often when you do school
funding studies you compare yourself to

the surrounding states you look at
the percentage of money being spent on.

Instruction versus non-instructional
issues you compare how much money is being

spent in the central offices compared to
other central offices you do that kind of

you know those numbers pieces right the
state did a study a couple of years ago

and said well our highest performing
schools spend this much money so they must

be doing something right maybe that's
the right amount of money to be spent and

that's really numbers piece this
report is something completely

reverse of that they actually sat down
with educators 1st in Michigan $300.00

of the best educators in Michigan they
brought together from all different areas

high school elementary preschool special
education et cetera brought them in and

said OK if we want every
kid in your classroom

to meet the state standards what
the school need to look like.

And they asked them about that separate
from that then they brought in and

they look at all the research education
research they said OK what is the research

say the school out of
look like in order for

kids to meet the same standards what are
schools need to look like a look at all

the research class size wraparound
services counseling ratios they looked at

all that and that rather than just looking
at the numbers they actually said What's

a school look like and they drew a picture
of what school lot of look like and

if this is an elementary
school 400 kids and they have.

$75.00 kids that are at risk for
reading and

they have $25.00 kids that need it
all services and they have 50 special

education is to what should that school
look like what supports that they need so

our kids can meet the standards that made
a whole lot of sense for someone like me

who's been doing this for a long time I
don't want to talk about numbers I want to

talk about what school should look
like one of the resources we what your

class sizes be and how much professional
development the teachers need in order for

them to be at the top of their game I've
got a 5 more minutes I'm almost done so

that's what they did with this research
they went through in great detail and

they said OK here's what it looked
like and then they cost that it out

to say here's a school lot of look like
here's the number of people you need

here the number of bodies you need Here's
a number of textbooks you need and then

they cost that out makes a whole lot more
sense as relates to how we fund schools so

that's a piece of looking at we're looking
at moving forward increasing access to

post-secondary education that has to
do the early college do enroll in

opportunities for kids more ways for
kids to be able to afford and get into and

into a post-secondary program review
review the accountability measures again

look at other states and what they're
doing as a relates to what is really going

to what kind of accountability system
really help move the needle in regards to.

Student achievement invest in
early childhood education.

Which is somewhat obvious I think.

And then looking at addressing disparities
experience between children schools

the type of the facilities that they have
the staffing that they have the quality of

programs that they have there's
a disparity still in the state of Michigan

what can we do to improve that which is
really what the school Financial Research

collaborative does so I'll finish it was
just talking a little bit about launch

mission which is I am a part of launch
Michigan very similar to the school

finance research collaborative is a group
of stakeholders not just educators for

we're partnering with the business leaders
of Michigan we're also partnering with

now profits we're partnering with labor
and we're all coming together and we said

look at we have been on the opposite
sides on a lot of policy discussions over

the past 20 years in Michigan while we
one of the things we see in states that

are successful in regards to moving the
needle as a relates to student achievement

one of the things that we see success that
these groups work together Massachusetts

is the one that we like to talk about
a lot they started in the mid ninety's our

funding was about the same as
Massachusetts in the mid ninety's and

our an arch event was about the same
we've gone and different directions

they worked with the business community at
that point in time to put together a plan

it's a look at we're all going to work
together we're going to make this happen

it has to happen over a period of time and
so launch Michigan is our effort

to try to get those stakeholders in
Michigan together and say there's going to

be some things we disagree with but
are there some things that we do

agree with that we that can go to
our legislators in Lansing and

say Here are the policy changes
that we think needs to happen so

we can move the needle here in Michigan so
that effort just started over the last

the 9 months and we're actively meeting on
a regular basis we're looking at literacy

we're looking at funding we're looking
at accountability and we're looking at

supporting educators as the 4 areas that
we want to see if there are some common

ground that we can push together as a long
term model to change policy in Michigan.

Yeah so obviously a.

Significant change in the election
we still have we now we have a split

government which is you know can be very
challenging I remember the days when

Governor Granholm had
a Republican Senate and

then they really struggled
in regards to policy change.

There are a couple things that we note
when we look at the split government

number one is you know from
our eyes the number the the.

The number of Republicans and Democrats in
each of the houses has got a lot closer

and so from a policy standpoint you have
to start moving closer to the center

because you only need a couple of
votes either kill a bill or passable.

You know right now in the Senate
at think it's 26 to 11 pretty hard

to come to the center on a policy

when you have the spirit that that
the spirit of a margin you know.

There's not a lot of compromise that has
to happen when you have one side that has

that significant level of control and so

certainly Gretchen Whitmer is going to be
someone that one of the things that we're

very pleased with there they were all
talking about the school finance report

as part of the conversation
when they were talking about.

Their education policy so

that I will believe I believe will
be forefront in the conversation.

And so it's going to be I think
a change in regards to some

of the things that we've
done I think there's a.

There's much more of an environment to do
it because the business community has in

the last few years recognized that
we are falling behind in Michigan

they're recognizing it because they can't
fill jobs they have lots of jobs open

job openings right now and they're trying
to find skilled labor to come in and

do that so they're now certain to say all
well I guess this is pretty important

I hate to be so
crass about it I don't mean to be.

But that's been you know the reality at
least from the eyes of the people the feel

it's like OK you get it now maybe we need
to do some things differently in Michigan

so they are now much more on board and
so when that happens along with the much

closer margins in both of the chambers and
a Democratic governor I think

puts us in a what feels like a completely
different position I think very

honestly Snyder was starting to get there
working with Brian Wilson as the state

superintendent there was you were starting
to think see things that were nudging

towards a different policy
discussions that were there in 2011.

Thank you.


Have covered by.

Working to pass time so

I should I should have been a little more
life on that we don't know if they've ever

looked at their brush it was hard to
get through all that history that I.

Saw in your class what
would they be looking at as

careers that they want
to go into you know.

What I'd like to know.

Yeah if you're doing OK I'm.

Home I have to care about so
I have to get the greatest and they

are big big big sickly all they did was
exactly need to know we have to be problem

relates to your local government so
talk about some schools is really good but

I think the people are saying really want
to hear what are the next steps OK so.


What final comments on your do you want
now I want to open I have no way to long

winded OK but I had it doesn't even
have a question start to break.

Thank you I'm really interested in
learning more about school choice and

how that is find it and
how local funds are sort

of used when a kid goes to
school outside of his district.

I think this.

So I'll give a very specific example so
what happens is every student the state of

Michigan has a certain amount of funding
tied to them will say $7500.00 per student

OK So if you're in your home resident
district they get some money but

if you decide to go to a neighboring
district that excepts choice students they

get the money and so what happens from a
funding standpoint you know it's not like

that well $7500.00 you know buys medical
textbooks and permits student that's

not the way it works the way it works is
if you're a school system like in the body

we say well we're going to accept 50 kids
next year from outside of our boundaries

if we got 50 kids and
we got an admission all 50 times and

our case a $1000.00 we got an extra
$400000.00 those kids would be over

multiple grades potentially so I might
have to only hire one or 2 teachers So

here I've got to put out $7500000.00

I get $400000.00 in I now have 300
$1000.00 to help find also some.

That's the way school districts
have looked at school choice

the opposite happens if you're a loser in
that case if you have more kids were going

out in the air coming in now you're trying
to figure out how I'm going to cut my

budget by $300000.00 because
I've lost the money but

it's really on a big picture basis it's
not really on a school basis it's really

on an overall I have a school system
here's how much money I have how my

going to balance my budget next year and
then they look at how many kids are coming

in are leaving under the policy in
regards to what they can do for all kids.

Understand the state funding follows them
with local funding also follow them or

it's like a kid goes to a school district
then has a local militia church or

swing with their house then it's
were determined the day when

they have to pay were No I actually have
from the local standpoint it's basically

based on property tax so that number
doesn't change whether you take kids in or

don't it's one of the it's one of
the public part it's one of the challenges

that local school districts have when they
accept students in from outside of their

community because sometimes their
community center the members say wait

a 2nd I passed the millage to fix
the schools up you know to do all this to

build a new auditorium and to put a new
swimming pool I'm paying for that and

these families are coming in from outside
of our community into our community and

don't have to pay for that so that's been
a bit of a sore point when it comes to

that but the local money stays locally
doesn't matter if you accept kids or

how many kids come in or
how many you lose.

From the perspective of when
Risa do you take a position on

a district like river or spending money to
bus in kids from neighboring districts.

As a great question because it's a
controversial issue down an area they have

they have their sort of gentlemen's rules
around schools a choice because and

Wayne County we are the poster child
down river kids go here to here

to here it's all over the place and so
most of our districts participate in

schools a choice some do it in a limited
level some take an unlimited number.

River Rouge in some people's lives across
the line because they actually go and

start recruiting and
communities all put up signs and

say come to rue schools in the bus stop
will be here in your community and so

that's been that's a rather controversial
we don't take a position on that though

because I mean I'll have personal
conversations with superintendents to say

hey wanna let you know how your colleagues
are feeling about this often their

colleagues will call each other that's
the inside baseball that goes on but

we can't be in it where we're not
in a position to be able to say

one district ought to do something and
another district should.

We have no control over the policy.

Hi I just want to thank you for
coming in to get this presentation many

Miss Taylor Smith I'm actually I'm
actually student studying education policy

and it's really interesting that you
bring up the point about elevating

the profession for teachers and I guess
my question was along the lines of what

kind of incentives are you offering
what basically is the state of Michigan

offering teachers in low income
school districts in particular to

get them to want to come in and
teach as they are the answer there is none

there's nothing happening at
the same level for that now part and

parcel of that is because local contracts
are based on local communities but

that there are a couple of issues I think
that need to be addressed we have we do

have to look at incentives in regards to
getting kids will be interested to come

back into the profession I think there
we probably have to increase the.

Base salary so I think about young people
that aren't trying to pick a profession

Boy boy I just talked to a company
last week they build army tanks.

And they need workers and they said
they will if you have a kid come in and

out of high school we want them to be
a machinist or start another $12.00

an hour ago be a 15 dollars an hour
within 30 days we will pay for their.

Associates degree or certificate whatever
they want to get at school craft college

while they're working and if they want to
then we will pay for their 4 year degree

where they want to go into engineering
stay in machining whatever they may want

to do so we figured out for those kids
number one they're gonna have no debt

number to buy their food and their 4th
year they're going to make in $60000.00

not including their overtime and
number 3 they're going to go on and.

Get their 4 year degree if they wish that
we figured they'd have $180000.00 bucks in

their pocket and no expense and
no debt compare that to a teacher who's

going to come the University of Michigan
you Michigan State University walk out

with $100000.00 and that's if you don't
have the money to pay for college and

you can come in they can $38000.00
bucks here that's a tough market for

us to to be competitive so for
us to be competitive with accountants

with engineers with architects
we need to get that the base pay

higher you know there are some incentive
there no different than an engineer

OK I'm not going to $1000000.00
that at the end of my career but

I have a tech I have a technical
skill I can make a good living and

you know there are perks to being teachers
also but we have to get that base level

pay up number one number 2 my suggestion
to local communities is they have

to start recruiting in their own local
communities for their best and brightest

in try to convince them and find ways to
incentivize them to come into school and

do teaching profession we have to figure
out ways in urban areas to have college be

free for kids want to be teachers because
the kids are urban areas are the area

urban areas are not going to recruit
kids from South Lyon and Livonia.

There are going to those by and
large a lot of our

kids that we hear from they want to go
back and teach in their own communities

you know they enjoy school they want to
be a teacher they want to go back and

teach their home communities we don't have
a lot to say you know was a lot of my

love my focus is really I want to go and
I want to go into urban education and

so we're going to start
growing within I think

to be to get the numbers up in the areas
where we need we need teachers the most.

OK So 1st I also want to just
echo thank you so much for coming

I will preface this with I was a teacher
on the side of the tree in a charter and

I benefited from some of win races P.D.
programs so thank you all.

I from more of like
a political standpoint.

It seems as though and this is just
something I'm not super familiar with

the push for eliminating the cap on
charter schools I mean it seems as though

because so
many of them in the state are for profit

that that is causing a lot of the issues
especially like it's disincentive eyes and

teachers there's no more buying into
the retirement like I know when I

was in charge at least we weren't part
of a union there was no benefits.

Well I mean there are benefits but
not like like long term.

Is and I noticed that on
the list of things that have

like possible solutions being looked at
putting the cap back on charters was not

one of them is that like from a political
standpoint that's not feasible and

could you just mention like maybe
who the stakeholders are in Kiev and

that capped off so when the cap came off
in 2011 that was really an ideology.

From a portion of from leaders in
our state at that point in time

that really felt that competition
would improve schools and

that the way to improve the way to
improve schools that are performing well

is to provide that competition that
there's going to be a good school

down the road now we're going have to pick
their game up in order to keep their kids

problem with that is it's a 0 sum game.

So that's that's really what's happened
from a financial standpoint but

that was the theory behind it that charter
schools will lift up all schools and

there would be number one more options for
parents and

number 2 it would raise the level quality
across state of Michigan test scores

don't show that that that's happened at
least from a big picture standpoint but

that was the theory behind it as a relates
to putting the cap on it now I don't.

I don't think that will be
the political push as much as a wall be

what we can do to make sure that
their quality charter schools and so

you know the genie is out of the bottle to
some extent we're not going to go back and

not have charter schools in the state of
Michigan I don't think anyways and so

what may happen is they may say look at
in other states where they're having more

success with charter schools we are going
to we're going to put more guidelines more

oversight more review in regards to making
sure that the quality school in order for

it to succeed that may close
some of the charter schools.

And you know keep the best ones open
that I would see that probably is

as a change from a policy
standpoint that would happen before

we're going to you know we're going to go
backwards that's what I think will happen.