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Learn More About Grosse Pointe Schools of Choice at Public Forum

Rep. Tim Bledsoe will host a schools of choice public forum on July 13 to help residents understand what it means, how it would be implemented and governed and how it would impact Grosse Pointe schools.

The phrase "schools of choice" has been buzzing in and out of conversations in the Grosse Pointes frequently ever since Gov. Rick Snyder proposed the idea as one of his educational reforms earlier this year.

Understanding what that means, how it would be implemented and governed and how it would impact is the focus of a public forum Wednesday July 13 being held by State Rep. Tim Bledsoe.

While many in the Grosse Pointes seem to have thoughts about it, many admit they don't understand the details of how it would work.

Bledsoe, school board trustee Brendan Walsh and Michael Van Beek, the director of education policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy will present the details at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at .

The public is invited and encouraged to attend. The discussion will focus heavily on the pros and cons of using such a system that allows out-of-district students to enroll in the Grosse Pointe Public Schools.

In-district students are given priority in enrollment and then the remaining vacancies are filled by out-of-district students. Under the current rules of the program, districts have control over determining their student capacity, allowing more local control over class size. 

The topic is of great debate in the Grosse Pointes. School board member Judy Gafa made the topic one of her questions during the superintendent candidate interviews Monday, asking the candidates if it's mandated, how would each of them implement it. 

Walsh, who is one of Wednesday's presenters, wrote about it on his website describing it as "a corkscrew pitch to make Willie Hernandez blush." He discusses how the move to a free-market style education will allow motivated students and parents to seek the education they might not be receiving now despite not living in the higher home value suburbs with higher millage rates. He also discusses the attitude of many suburbanites who until now felt the failing Detroit Public School system was not their problem.

The forum will be held in the Multi-Purpose Room of Brownell Middle School.

Geoffrey Donaldson July 14, 2011 at 05:58 PM
The fact sheet from Michigan Department of Education that is linked below makes it sound as if this is a local decision controlled by local school districts? http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-6530_30334-106922--,00.html
Sara Eaton Martin July 14, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Geoffrey, Schools of Choice is currently an opt in/out program for districts and under that model, there is local control. If the program becomes state mandated, new legislation will have to be written and passed into law outlining the requirements of how districts will participate. The main question is how capacity will be determined because in order for the proposed mandate to work, according to Rep. Tim Bledsoe, the bill will likely have to take control over determining capacity-- a fact that is linked then to classroom size. There is more in today's article: http://patch.com/A-klF8. Thanks, Sara
Mike White July 14, 2011 at 07:06 PM
E pluribus: The national government has littletonothing to do with plummeting property values: the housing crisis was put into motion by credit default swaps and bad mortgages being created by private firms and corporations who then bet against them in the open free market. Know your enemy. As far as "school of choice" goes...On its surface, it sounds bad. I would need more information before making my mind up. Has it worked in the past? Where has it failed and why? Monies gained by "schools of choice" have been used to improve the school district. Does the GPPSS need to be improved all that much? Would the money injected by increased enrollment really be needed here? Would curriculum suffer? I moved here partly because of the schools. My child is too young yet to attend, but I would hate to have the school decrease in quality by the time he is of age. Smaller class sizes are proven to be directly related to student success, and I don't see myself supporting a program that is linked to the increase in class size.
Edward Smith July 14, 2011 at 11:39 PM
Mike, you need to get your facts straight. the federal government had the biggest role in the housing market debacle. The banks were forced to give loans through Freddie Mac etc by those who thought housing was an entitlement for all whether you could afford it or not. Thanks to Barney Franks and Sen. Dowd
Mike White July 15, 2011 at 02:33 AM
You asked for it, you got it, Edward: More than 84% of the subprime mortgages came from private lending institutions in 2006 and share of subprime loans insured by Fannie & Freddie also decreased as the bubble got bigger (from a high of insuring 48 percent to 24 percent of all subprime loans in 2006). The Community Reinvestment Act also only affected one out of the top 25 subprime lenders. Only 6% of subprime loans were handed out by CRA-covered lenders to lower income people (the people the CRA is responsible for, CRA-covered banks can technically lend subprime loans to anyone). The Fed dramatically lowered interest rates in the wake of the Dot-com bubble which spurred easy credit for banks to make loans. By 2006 the rates had moved up to 5.25% which lowered the demand and increased the monthly payments for adjustable rate mortgages. The resulting foreclosures increased supply, dropping housing prices further. Mortgages had been bundled together and sold on Wall Street to investors and other countries looking for a higher return than the 1% offered by Federal Reserve. The % of risky mortgages was increased while rating companies claimed they were all top-rated. Instead of the limited regions suffering the housing drop, it was felt around the world. Priivate banks made subprime loans for the same reason they made other loans: They could get paid for making the loans, for turning them into securities, and for trading them -- frequently using borrowed capital.

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