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Dearborn Schools Supt. Urges Parent Action Against Education Reforms

A letter to the Dearborn community from Supt. Brian Whiston asks parents to consider speaking to legislators about their concerns with House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 1358.

Key Communicators:

  • 26 consecutive years of increased enrollment
  • Graduation rate up 6 percent
  • Five schools in Dearborn recognized by the state as “Beating the Odds”
  • Continuous improvement on local and state tests
  • A five-year program allowing students to graduate with both a high school diploma and a two year college degree at no cost to parents
  • Students earning millions of dollars in scholarships each year
  • Districtwide Response to Bullying and Positive Behavior programs ensure a safe learning environment
  • Choices for students include magnet programs, Early College program, STEM program, AP courses, and dual enrollment

Does this sound like a school district that needs to be overhauled, reformed, and taken-over by a state controlled board? I don’t think so, but obviously some legislators in Lansing do.

If two bills, HB 6004 and SB 1358, currently sitting before lawmakers in Lansing are passed in the next few weeks school districts in the state could face drastic change that will have a devastating impact on our schools. 

More: What do you need to know about proposed Michigan education reforms?

More: Dearborn Board of Education responds to reforms

These bills shift control away from local school board trustees that we elect and give a great deal of power to a single statewide school district known as the Education Achievement Authority that is accountable only to a board appointed by the governor, not elected by the people. 

Even more troubling about these proposed changes is that the important job of educating children will be turned over to for-profit operators who can pick and choose the children they want to allow into their schools.

We are fortunate that our representatives in Lansing; Rep. George Darany, Rep. David Nathan, and Sen. Morris Hood, understand how wrong these proposals are and they need our support. We need to contact our representatives in Lansing and let them know that HB6004 and SB1358 must not be approved. It is vitally important that we take action now to make sure these bills are not passed before the legislators leave for the year. 

It is important to share your own personal concerns about this legislation, but included with this letter are several talking points and a sample letter that may help you get started (attached in a PDF). I have also provided names and addresses of our legislators and the address of an on-line petition that everyone can sign.

You can find out more information on this legislation by visiting www.miparentsforschools.org.

Despite the many challenges we face, our district has made a great deal of progress and has had plenty of student success. This success can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of our staff. I want to thank you for making student achievement a priority and believing that each child can have academic success in our classrooms. We are also very fortunate to have a supportive and knowledgeable Board of Education that understands the needs of the children in our schools. I urge you to take action today and make sure that this legislation is not passed!    

 

Regards,

 

Brian J. Whiston

Superintendent

Dearborn Public Schools

Maureen Pawelek December 01, 2012 at 04:19 PM
These bills are about nothing more than for-profit education companies putting money into the campaign coffers of Republican politicians. As usual, our children pay the price. It's shameful and sickening. When will the people of Michigan wrest control of our state from those whose only goals are to control our bodies, take away our right to organize, and give tax breaks to the wealthy while shortchanging our children's education?

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