Who said what at the ‘Future of Education’ summit

Nearly 500 people convened in Lansing Tuesday to listen to and question education leaders and experts about the findings in the Center for Michigan’s new report, “The Public’s Agenda for Public Education.” While audience members had plenty of information to chew on from the three panels – on early childhood, teacher preparation and accountability and current issues -- convened for the “Future of Education” summit, the discussions spilled over into the audience and hallways, too:

Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, expressed a dogged determination to get at least $130 million in additional funding for the state’s early childhood program for low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds. The state now spends slightly over $100 million on the Great Start Readiness Program. Nearly 30,000 children who qualify for the program are not in classrooms, partly because the state doesn’t provide enough funding.

“If the governor’s budget (to be released Feb. 7) falls short of that, I will advocate for more in the Legislature (where the final version of the state budget will be passed),” Kahn said. “If that falls short, there is the May revenue enhancement. If not then, there are budget supplementals. If we fall short to some degree, we have next year.

“I believe we’re going to get this done,” Kahn said. “It’s long overdue.”

****

 “We had no idea there was even a program to take her in” – parent Veronica Wolf talking about her family’s experience with the Great Start Readiness Program.

 ****

“The slot (payment) rate is woefully inadequate. There’s been no increase since 2007 and we are losing GSRP providers because of it” -- Susan Broman of the Office of Great Start, discussing where new early childhood dollars could be spent.

 ****

“We’ve known for a very long time that this is the right investment” -- Washtenaw Intermediate Superintendent Scott Menzel, referring to early childhood programs.

 ****

A $3 million investment in summer learning helped “several hundred children” not only avoid the dreaded summer loss of academic progress, but helped them actually get ahead in the classroom, said Mary Sutton of the Michigan After-School Partnership during a break in the proceedings. Sutton noted, however, that funding for after-school initiatives is limited: “Michigan, as a whole, gets $35 million,” she said.

****

“We need to do an incredible amount on health. Our infant mortality rate is a disgrace” – Susan Broman.

 ****

Nancy Sells of the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District said she liked what she heard during the early childhood presentation, but expressed a measure of frustration:

“In our ISD, we have lots of parents who can’t access services. We have 6-year-olds who have never been in school who have developmental delays. So, I want to know how we are going to implement all this? I want to make this happen. This is all great, but when will it begin.”

****

“You don’t help kids by slashing education budgets” -- David Hecker of the American Federation of Teachers.

 ****

“Medical students don’t start practicing on real bodies” – Deborah Ball, dean of the University of Michigan School of Education, referring to the need to reform teacher training programs.

 ****

Less than half of community conversation and poll participants in the Center for Michigan’s report considered an expansion of online learning to be crucial or important. But to Jamey Fitzpatrick, president of Michigan Virtual University, those numbers were encouraging. “If you asked that five years ago, it would have been in single digits,” Fitzpatrick said. “Last year, one in five college student took an on-line course. It’s going to happen. Are we going to be proactive and get ahead of it?”

 ****

“The ‘F’-word – Finland. We do the opposite of them on everything” – Brit Satchwell, Ann Arbor teacher.

 ****

“Imagine if pilots learned how to fly on their own?” – Deborah Ball, on the prospects for new teachers in the classroom.

 ****

“We have no agreed standard on letting (teachers) ‘fly’ a class of kids” – Deborah Ball.

 ****

“The problem is that people see early childhood as a monolith, all the same. It isn’t” -- Michael Van Beek, education policy director of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, responding to the discussion during the early childhood panel.

 ****

Dave Campbell, superintendent of the Livingston Educational Service Agency, ducked out of the presentation room to deal with one of those pesky non-academic matters: the weather.

He was getting reports on bus routes and arrivals during Tuesday’s odd – and dangerous – weather. Campbell reported all in his district made it to class safely.

 ****

“And it’s not as if the EAA is the only thing being done” -- Oakland Schools Superintendent Vickie Markavitch, referring to the debate over the Educational Achievement Authority bill to govern low-performing school buildings.

****

We’ve all had day dreams about how we’d spend the money if we win the lottery. Tuesday, Susan Broman, director of the Office of Great Start in the Michigan Department of Education, laid out her wish list for how her office would suggest using an additional $130 million on early childhood education.

Thousands more children would be in classrooms around the state. The per-child allotment would be increased to a level that more close matches the actual cost of the program. The current $3,400 per child is “woefully inadequate,” Broman said. “In some communities, we are losing GSRP providers because they can’t afford to lose money on the program.”

Money would be allocated for an aggressive outreach program to let families know about the program; transportation would be provided for some children; there would be greater collaboration between GSRP and Head Start; and there would be additional community-based non-profits offering GSRP classrooms.

“This gives us the opportunity to challenge communities to think about how we can serve more children,” Broman said.

 ****

"The question that I hear most often is where is the money going to come from? One of the things that we would like to advocate for is some dedicated stream of funding for a couple of reasons. One even if you could find $130 million for this year’s budget, this is not a one-time solution. This is not a one-time fix. It’s an ongoing cost in order to ensure every child in Michigan has an opportunity to be successful when they enter kindergarten so that’s part of it. I think if we reframe our conversation from looking at this as just an early childhood component” -- Scott Menzel, superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

  ****

"We want every child to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. And so many are coming to the starting line and they’re 50 or 100 yards back when the gun goes off for kindergarten. Catching up is very difficult. So schools spend a lot of time and energy trying to bring them up to speed. If we invest on the front end and they are ready to succeed when they come in for kindergarten, we save those costs down the road” – Paul Hillegonds, senior vice president for corporate affairs for DTE Energy.

Bridge staffers Nancy Derringer, Ron French, Derek Melot and Bridge journalism fellow Taylor Trammell contributed to this report.

Has this story impacted or informed you about Michigan? Please support our work.

No other news outlet is dedicated to providing the same level of in-depth, data-driven coverage of Michigan’s issues as Bridge Magazine. Any donation between now and December 31, will be matched dollar-for-dollar, thanks to our generous partners. Become a Bridge Club member and help our reporters get the resources they need to ramp up coverage during a critical election year. Join the Bridge team today.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments

div buegeleisen
Thu, 01/31/2013 - 1:42pm
Did no one comment on the quality of the principals ????
Duane
Thu, 01/31/2013 - 8:00pm
It is either surprising that none of the 500 made any comments on the learning process and what kids should be learning or it is not surprising that Bridge couldn't hear about anything about learning that merited being shared with readers.
Jason Towler
Sun, 02/03/2013 - 8:29am
Missing a lot of fantastic quotes and points from Vickie.
Bobby Schmidt
Sun, 02/03/2013 - 7:17pm
Why is it that the "only" answer to everything is more money? Why is it that nothing is ever demanded of parents to educate their own children or get them ready for kindergarten? Just throw another $130 mil at it and get more bureaucratic BS and then everything will be just fine. What a joke this education business is. My 1st 3 years of school were in a one room country school house with 63 other kids. Back then we started kindergarten at 5 years old. None of this early ed crap. You go to school to learn. We went home to chores. In my case, cows to milk and chickens to tend to and barns to clean. Often in the fall, Dad said that there are crops to get in and school will have to wait till that is done. So now, 50+ years later, I'm retired. I've made and lost several fortunes but I'm still wanting & trying to learn and it is not costing any other fellow citizen/taxpayer a red cent. Why should I or anyone be spending the big bucks (10, 20, 50 or 130 million) on a system or scheme that is turning out graduates in which some are dumber than a box of rock and are as motivated as a sand pile? Go back to the one room, 60+ student (per teacher) school and watch real learning take place. Oh yeah, the woodshed out behind the school still needs to be there & used frequently. But no, let's convene another Future of Education summit to waste a whole boatload of money on and for a bunch of puffed up, pompous blowhards that should all be in casts from patting themselves on the back for being so important. They go to these kind of gatherings with someone else footing the bill and then tell those same folks that they need to find more kids to waste money on by having more summits to find way to waste more money on & on & on! Crazy or not? Like I said before, What a joke.