School reform not black and white
MEA releases open letter on Race to the Top program
EAST LANSING, Mich., Dec. 7, 2009 — When it comes to what Michigan must do to compete for federal Race to the Top funds, there is far more ambiguity than straightforward answers. But one thing is very clear—the Michigan Education Association believes the driving force behind any reform efforts must be the best interests of our students and the schools in our state.
Today, MEA President Iris K. Salters is releasing a position statement on several of the proposed Race to the Top reforms, hoping to highlight some of the concerns educators have and give details on what would best serve our students as we move forward.
Contrary to some media reports, the MEA is working diligently with legislators and the Department of Education to best position Michigan for federal funds, all the while making sure any reforms make sense for our schools.
“The details of how these proposed changes will work in Michigan have been MEA’s sole focus in discussions with leaders in Lansing since the first announcements about RTTT,” said Salters, “and they will be until the last details of Michigan’s application are finalized.”
In an open letter to lawmakers and the public, the MEA addresses several key issues, including turning around “failing” schools, expanding high quality charter schools, linking student growth data to teacher performance and alternative teacher certification.
In it, President Salters stresses, “I cannot emphasize enough that MEA is ready, willing and eager to be part of Michigan’s successful application for RTTT funds.”
But she also warns that “legislators must be careful and deliberate in their efforts because if we are not part of the limited number of states that receive these very competitive federal funds, the academic success of our students will still be subject to the decisions we make in the coming weeks.”
Contact: Contact Doug Pratt, MEA Dir. of Communications, 517-337-5508
“The mission of the MEA is to ensure that the education of our students and the working environments of our members are of the highest quality.”
Updated: December 7, 2009