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It’s About Time

Good things happen to those who wait. Having not read the entire 1,016 pages of the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 10, I'm not totally prepared to hail it as the best thing...

Schools Can’t do This Alone

Hillary Clinton said "It takes a village to raise a child." Education reformer Jamie Vollmer says "schools can't do this alone." Our community agrees. We contribute to the health of our children and their families by investing in the Kent School...

Watch this Movie, Please.

One of the enduring principles of comedy is juxtaposition. Take, for example, this joke from actress Sara Silverman: "When I was 14, I started dating my father's best friend. It was weird." "But not as weird as my father having a best...

Mass Shootings: One a Day in the USA

“Gun Free Zones are the problem. Let’s repeal them.” That’s the conclusion of Erich Pratt, communications director of the Gun Owners of America, in an op-ed piece published in USA Today in the aftermath of the Umpqua Community College massacre...

Guns in Schools: Just Say No.

Guns in school? No. Really, it should be as simple as that. Schools should be gun-free zones, just like daycare centers, athletic stadiums, bars, casinos, churches and college dormitories. With the exception of armed law enforcement officers, schools should be able...

Three Best Things About Teaching

August 18, 7:43 a.m: My shirt sticks to my back and I, like many others, hope for some rain to break the string of 90-degree days with high humidity. As I walk the incredibly clean but stifling hallways of Northview...

Who needs an early warning system? Just count students.

I have one word for those seeking insight from the new “early warning” system legislation signed into law by Gov. Snyder shortly after the July 4 holiday weekend. Enrollment. Student enrollment is the single most important element in the fiscal health...

Dear Governor & Legislature: Thank You

Superintendents: they heard you. Teachers: they heard you. Parents: they heard you, too. Gov. Snyder and Grand Rapids executive John Kennedy last week joined legislators, members of the governor’s staff and Grand Rapids Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal to announce the results of...

Don’t Increase Class Sizes to Pave Potholes

MEMO to Legislators FROM: Registered Voters RE: Our Vote on Proposal 1 DATE: May 5, 2015 SUBJECT: Don't Increase Class Sizes to Pave Potholes Many of you are now trying to figure out what we -- the voters -- said in our votes on...

Vote, Please.

Now it's on you. The decision to repair Michigan's roads, to make sure all taxes paid at the pump are invested in highway maintenance, and that sales tax revenue goes to schools and local municipalities, is in your hands this...

This Is What Compromise Looks Like

Compromise. noun. a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles,etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.   Here’s a new definition of compromise:  noun.  archaic.  A concept so far removed from...

Stop the Churn

Another day, another seismic shift in Michigan education. Educators returned from their holiday break to learn, at 10:22 a.m. on a Wednesday, that Michigan had switched its college entrance exam from the ACT to the SAT. Just a handful of...

In the Spirit of the Season

Thanks to our legislators who, in the spirit of the season and in a display of statesmanship, came together to pass a proposed constitutional amendment that would mend our highways and add much needed revenues and stability to our...

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Please, don’t take money from our children to pour concrete. Fixing Michigan’s crumbling transportation infrastructure is one of Michigan’s most vexing problems. Governor Snyder’s legislative liaison Dick Posthumus recently told the MIRS News Service increased revenue for road repair “is...

Not Your Father’s Poverty

We were poor but we didn’t know it. How often have you heard that comment from someone who has “made it” to describe their childhood?  Among my generation, my parents, and their parents, it was a standard comment when asked...

The Lost Decade

Now he tells us. In an extraordinarily introspective interview with The Bridge online magazine, state superintendent Mike Flanagan recently acknowledged Michigan was “10 years behind” high performing states such as Massachusetts and Minnesota in education achievement gains. Lost decades have typically...
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