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State Board of Education President Complains Of 'Right-Wing' Agenda
Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 2/20/2013 | Tom Gantert

Posted on 02/22/2013 8:06:08 AM PST by MichCapCon

The president of the Michigan State Board of Education authored an email that was sent by the Michigan Democratic Party to its members lambasting state Republicans and urging Democrats to show up at public education forums across the state to make sure they “help ensure a full public debate" about education reform.

John Austin, president of the state board of education, sent the email Feb. 11. The email has links to the Michigan Democratic Party Facebook page.

The email read:

...Last year ended with a very destructive lame duck session marked by Lansing Republicans sticking a pencil in the eye of hard-working teachers, nurses, and fellow union members with so-called 'right-to-work' legislation. However, with your help, we managed to fight off a damaging right-wing education agenda — for now.

During lame duck, Tea Party Republicans had planned to move House Bill 5923, authored by voucher proponent Richard McLellan, which would have created a 'Wild West' of new school creation. The bill proposed unlimited online, charters, and for-profit schools with no quality control, sapping resources and likely destroying existing schools. Bills for an Education Achievement Authority (EAA) to turn around the worst-performing schools in the state were also loaded up with enablers of this new education marketplace. A proposal to finance this new school market with a voucher-like program where the foundation grant follows any and all student choices was floated by McLellan’s Oxford Foundation and was likely to be a major part of Gov. Rick Snyder's State of the State and budget message.

Austin, who is an elected Democrat, said the email was sent out by the Michigan Democratic Party as an update for other Democrats.

"I work with Republicans all the time and the governor with same message: this is right, this is wrong," Austin wrote in an email responding to questions as to why he sent the email to Democrats only. "Let's work together and find common ground on what's right. Public forums will be thoughtful, open to all, to discuss current issues."

A state Democratic Party spokeswoman confirmed that the party forwarded the email.

"We sent an email to our statewide list at the request of one of our Democratic elected officials," said Democratic Party Spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis, in an email. "The email provides details about a series of public events on a critical policy issue. We view it as our responsibility to keep our supporters informed and engaged."

Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the email highlights that the State Board of Education is not a neutral authority.

"It's part of Lansing partisan politics," Van Beek said. "The decisions and recommendations made by the State Board of Education need to be taken in that political context. Even though it has some statewide authority over all of the districts, it operates in a partisan way."

Dave Agema, a Republican National Committeeman who served in the legislature as a state representative, said Austin showed he was partisan in the debate over education by emailing just the Democrats.

"Education is not a partisan issue," Agema said. "Both parties should be interested in doing what is right. The Republicans want quality education the same as the Democrats do. The question is, 'What's the best way to proceed?' "

The state board of education's authority comes from the state constitution. It provides leadership and general supervision of public education, except for institutions that provide baccalaureate degrees. The board controls and directs how education money is spent.

Austin criticizes some of the proposed bills as creating a "voucher-like" system. In addition to being on the State Board of Education, Austin is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a center-left think tank that has produced a wide-range of research supporting school choice, including vouchers. Brookings has done multiple studies about voucher programs, charter schools and school choice and generally found them to have a positive effect on educational outcomes.


TOPICS: Education
KEYWORDS: michigan; schools

1 posted on 02/22/2013 8:06:15 AM PST by MichCapCon
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To: Springman; Sioux-san; 70th Division; JPG; PGalt; DuncanWaring; taildragger; epluribus_2; Chuck54; ..
My right wing agenda includes smacking conservatives in the forehead with a hammer till every conservative votes in state level educational positions.

If anyone wants to be added to the Michigan Cap Con ping list, let me know.
2 posted on 02/22/2013 8:09:43 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: cripplecreek

Is this guy getting ready to foist trans-sexualism on Michigan school kids? That’s today’s problem over in Massachusets. Their top level state education officials have actually come out in favor of punishing heterosexual children for objecting to pedophiles molesting them with their presence in the school toilet facilities.


3 posted on 02/22/2013 8:17:35 AM PST by muawiyah
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‘education reform’ to libs is just another way of saying pay more to union teachers and their pensions and bennies, so we unions leaders can continue to live large....


4 posted on 02/22/2013 8:24:44 AM PST by raygunfan
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To: MichCapCon

That’s typical of liberals WRT education. They claim that

1. Public education is of such high quality that were it to be unavailable, the quality of education delivered by private, for-profit schools would be much lower.

2. If private, for-profit schools were available, they would destroy public education, presumably because these schools would attract students away from the public schools.

Apparently, parents are STUPID! They are just waiting around to put their children in inferior schools that would harm the educational development of their children. Obviously, only liberals know what’s best for them, and we MUST stop any competition from occurring.


5 posted on 02/22/2013 8:27:51 AM PST by stremba
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To: muawiyah

All I know is that he wouldn’t be there if conservatives hadn’t handed him the position (as well as every other state level education position)

Half of the people who voted for Romney didn’t bother to vote in those downticket races.


6 posted on 02/22/2013 8:35:27 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: MichCapCon
BUMP for good freeping.

Last year ended with a very destructive lame duck session marked by Lansing Republicans sticking a pencil in the eye of hard-working teachers, nurses, and fellow union members...

There you have it - - partisan politics all the way. For simple scum like Austin, it's all about duh yoonyin. Education has nothing to do with anything and, as usual for greedy liberals, "the children" are mere props.

7 posted on 02/22/2013 8:56:09 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: muawiyah
Rush talked about that for a good while yesterday. Massachusetts is as foul a toilet as San Fransicko.
Sending a child into the government schools in either place is nothing less than child abuse.
8 posted on 02/22/2013 8:59:05 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: MichCapCon

“likely destroying existing schools.”

In other words, “we have damaged actual education for so long that we already know we would not be able to compete with anyone that actually focused on education!”

Morons united against parents who care about their children.


9 posted on 02/22/2013 9:43:55 AM PST by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: cripplecreek; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; ...

Thanks MichCapCon.
Austin criticizes some of the proposed bills as creating a "voucher-like" system.

10 posted on 02/23/2013 5:26:31 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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