Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch Presents Information on Michigan Schools and Proposed Legislation
(C. Proxmire, Dec. 6, 2012)
Oakland Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch spoke to over 250 people at Coolidge Intermediate School on Dec. 6 about proposed changes to the State’s education system, the legislation for which is being pushed quickly through by conservatives in Lansing.
Markavitch has been giving talks throughout Oakland County, urging residents to be informed and to be active. School Board Member Karen Twomey recently wrote a column for The Ferndale 115 News outlining the legislation that concerns her and many parents:
- House Bill 5923, contains a laundry list of changes to the school code including the creation of new types of schools and governance models. As it stands, this bill could open Michigan up to various new categories of charters and charter-like schools, many of which would be run by for-profit school management companies.
- House Hill 6004 is the most controversial of all the bills. This bill will create a state-wide Education Achievement Authority under the office of the Governor which will run schools across the state. It eliminates local control and even provides the EAA the authority to seize any unused public school buildings. This bill is considered unconstitutional on the grounds that it diverts public monies to privately run schools (Article VII) and gives the executive office powers outside those described in the constitution (Articles V & VIII).
- Senate Bill 620 is also known as the Parent Trigger bill. If passed this bill will allow parents to sign a petition to take over control of a school. Parents would be allowed to employ a for-profit EMO to manage the school. Interestingly our state’s largest parent advocate organization, the Michigan PTA is against the bill and has created an electronic toolkit specific to fighting against this bill.
- Senate Bill 1065-1071 will repeal the personal property tax. The concern over this bill is that it fails to create a substitute form of revenue.
- Senate Bill 770 and Senate Bill 870 , attempt to cap the school bond loan fund.
Markavitch spoke about these bills and how they would affect taxpayers, school districts, and students. One concern was that Governor Rick Snyder and others in favor of the legislation have been giving false numbers to justify these sweeping changes. In her slideshow presentation, The Truth About Education in Michigan, Markavitch debunks the falsehoods being used to essentially privatize public schools. The entire presentation is available at http://www.oakland.k12.mi.us/LinkClick.aspx?link=CommunicationsMarketing%2fTruth+about+education.pdf&tabid=512&mid=2600. Podcasts of Markavitch are also online for people to view at http://www.oakland.k12.mi.us/Home/ThoughtsandresourcesfromDrMarkavitch/tabid/3226/Default.aspx.
Residents who oppose these measures, can write to their representatives through this website http://capwiz.com/tca4edu/issues/alert/?alertid=62174306&queueid=[capwiz%3Aqueue_id. Markavitch stressed that those who plan on speaking up need to do so before Dec. 12.