Royal OakMay 29, 2013
State reps, educators bash cuts to education
By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — When it comes to public good, the local and state leaders who showed up at an education-focused town hall meeting May 22 say market-oriented competition is not a good thing.
Vickie Markavitch, the superintendent of Oakland Schools — referring to Schools of Choice, charters and online schools — said it makes no sense for a school that has figured out a good way to educate to withhold the information for the sake of drawing more students. She compared it to a local fire department learning a new, effective way to put out fires and then keeping it secret from a neighboring community for the sake of competition.
“It makes no sense when you are talking about the public good,” Markavitch said.
State Rep. Jim Townsend, D-Royal Oak, hosted the event inside the Royal Oak Public Library, aiming to update constituents on the latest news on education from Lansing.
“Public education has been a hot topic in the state of Michigan for the last few years,” he said before introducing the speakers.
In addition to Markavitch, state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods, and President of the State Board of Education John Austin spoke.
In attendance were other local educators, ranging from teachers to superintendents, including Royal Oak Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin.
Lakin admonished the cuts to education.
“Because of budget decisions that have been made over the last four years, your school has had to operate on $4 million less,” he said from the audience.
Austin said that Michigan was the state that created the public education system, and now budget cuts to college education are making it harder for middle-class families to send their children to college. He said Michigan residents must “reanimate” the commitment to providing a college education.
“We’re pricing (public universities) out of the reach of middle-class families,” Austin said. “And that’s not a path to success.”
Markavitch focused mostly on why she considers competition in education to be the wrong path to improving student performance. She said choice has left many public schools with the highest concentration of the poorest and most-challenged students.
“The problem is our whole reform model in Michigan rests on who has the gas money to drive away, not on how do we fix what’s there,” she said.
“So, yes, we have a problem,” she concluded. “But it’s not the problem that’s been framed for you by some of the rhetoric going on in this state.”
Ted O’Neil, the media relations manager for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said school choice increases parental participation, which is something educators have always wanted.
“You hear a lot of people in the education circle talk about how important parental involvement is,” he said in a May 23 phone interview with the Review. “And then when you bring up the ultimate in parental involvement, the parent actually getting to pick what school they think would provide the best education, you get a lot of blowback on that.”
- Last 24 Hours
- Last 7 Days
- Last 30 Days
- All in the family - Clinton Township
- Looking Back: 1920s Coolidge Highway - Berkley
- Wave of catalytic converter thefts hits Hazel Park - Hazel Park
- Local libation lovers whip up cocktails with a holiday twist - Royal Oak
- Police investigating attempted arson at home - Warren
- Looking Back: Warren Co-op - Warren
- Avoid holiday horror stories - Shelby Township
- Missing woman found dead - West Bloomfield
- Emagine scraps plans for Roseville location - Roseville
- Man robs Roseville bank - Roseville
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall - Berkley
- All in the family - Clinton Township
- Police seek help in fatal hit-and-run - Clinton Township
- Goodfellows groups work to help with the holidays - Eastpointe
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer - Shelby Township
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams - Walled Lake
- Mom, man she met online to stand trial on child sex charge - Warren
- Macomb Home Depot creates college scholarship in honor of deceased employee - Macomb Township
- East Detroit student dies following pool accident - Eastpointe
- Attorney dies in Harper Avenue crash - St. Clair Shores
- CVHS students to stage production of ‘Hairspray’ - Clinton Township
- Voters approve human rights ordinance - Royal Oak
- Sterling woman hurt in shooting - Sterling Heights
- Christmas comes to the Shores - St. Clair Shores
- County board considers regional water authority proposal - Macomb County
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall
- Macomb Home Depot creates college scholarship in honor of deceased employee
- Child prodigy becomes youngest artist exhibited at Park West Gallery
- Digital diet could help put emotions, priorities in shape
- Rochester girl makes bracelets, raises funds for animal rescue organization