Friday, July 21, 2017

Galewood-Urbandale-Burlingame: The GUB

The Godfrey-Lee Public Schools community is comprised of three once-distinct small neighborhoods and business centers known as Galewood (the oldest and most well-known name at one time) which ran along the Burton Street corridor centered on Godfrey Avenue, Urbandale which ran along the Chicago Drive (or Grandville Road as it was originally known) corridor between Clyde Park Avenue and Judd Avenue, and Burlingame which was primarily a 400-lot "suburban" neighborhood of this once significant manufacturing community.

Below is a 1936 hand-drawn plat map of the GUB, the result of a job stimulus measure during the Great Depression.  Some street names have been changed since then and some platted areas were never developed. Enjoy exploring the map.

1936 Map - Click on it and when it opens, use your computer's zoom feature to explore the map in greater detail.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

They will always be a special group of Rebels - my Rebels

My first attempts at blogging were with the now-defunct Posterous blog site. I liked it and continued using it for a number of years until the dreaded notice about the site going black in the near future. Fortunately, it provided a means of archiving my posts, not that they were so earth shaking and full of wisdom. But they are part of a bigger story.

Recently, as I neared my retirement date (today is the actual first day of retirement in fact), our local School News Network shared some of my thoughts in an article titled "Friends of Students, Fighter for Justice." In it, I expressed some of my uncertainty when I moved from Wayland Union Schools to Godfrey-Lee Public Schools. I also explained my attachment to a class of students at the time -- 7th graders -- that helped pull me through.

I came across the following post from my old Posterous site which validates how I felt as those former 7th graders were soon to graduate:

Six years ago, I walked into Lee Middle School and my life has never been the same. While I have crossed paths with many past and present staff members and students, the Class of 2008 has in many ways imprinted on my life in ways no other class or group of young people have. It wasn't easy. They were seventh graders and full of energy, ready to test me and their teachers without even thinking about it. There were times I wondered why I had left the relatively simple and safe confines of Wayland for this. But something always struck me about this group. They had enthusiasm for life and that carried over into learning. I watched them grow and develop into fine young adults. We've laughed together and we've cried together. Now, in a matter of a couple of weeks, it will be time to let them go. It will be hard not to shed a tear as they walk across my stage with their diplomas in hand, but I'm sure the pride I'll feel for each and every one of them will carry me through the day. They will always be a special group of Rebels - my Rebels.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Michigan Legislature Wasting Time on a Non-Issue

While you drive over washboard roads and unsafe bridges, drinking your lead-contaminated water while looking for a job that pays more than $10 an hour, think about the amount of time the Michigan legislature is wasting on a non-issue: teacher pensions.


Also known as MPSERS, the pension system fell into disrepair primarily due to the bad policies put in place by our legislature dating back to the 1990s. These policies, which now include unabated expansion of charters including failed cyber charter experiments, took payers out of the system causing the unfunded liability to stack up. In the meantime, the investments that help keep the fund sound took a hit during the Great Recession.

The legislature and governor already addressed much of the problem when they enacted a hybrid pension system for new public school employees. That system is working and bringing down the unfunded liability. This so-called hybrid plan has $0 in unfunded liability. Even the Governor is on record about leaving the system alone.

But because public school employees are "easy" targets for new senators and representatives being elected out of their gerrymandered districts that favor anti-public school politicians, a few know-nothings in the current legislature are attacking public school kids once again by offering another destructive change that will certainly exacerbate the growing teacher shortage.

And, it will cost taxpayers billions! Over $2.5 billion in the next few years and $25 billion over the next 30 years!


Here's a two-page sheet on what you need to know about the reckless bills being offered in the legislature. Then, you need to contact your state senator and representative to tell them to back off and focus on the real issues concerning Michigan.



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Time for a fresh look at how we fund our public schools | Bridge Magazine

Time for a fresh look at how we fund our public schools | Bridge Magazine by Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan.


-->
The way we fund Michigan’s schools is broken, and we must reexamine our approach to provide a high-quality education to all Michigan public school students. The Collaborative, whose members agree it’s time to change our school funding, is taking the lead in this effort. 

We are bringing together top industry experts to analyze that funding, with the intention to better serve all students, regardless of their location, income, race or other circumstances.   


Policymakers need the best, most complete and accurate information on what it truly costs to educate all students. Our group is supporting a new, comprehensive school-funding adequacy study that will use multiple methodologies. 

The new study will build on the findings of the state-funded Michigan Education Finance Study released last summer and give us a truly comprehensive look at school financing. We have begun the process of hiring a contractor to provide this first-of-its-kind analysis of school financing in Michigan and expect the results by early 2018. Once accurate and comprehensive data are available, the Collaborative will communicate this critical information to Michigan policymakers, stakeholders and the public at large. 

Schools need a plan and a roadmap for success, just like businesses. That journey begins with the best and most reliable data on how to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow. A truly comprehensive adequacy study is the first step toward meeting this goal. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

13 Hard Questions That Charter Schools Promoters Don't Want You to Ask

13 Hard Questions That Charter Schools Promoters Don't Want You to Ask | Alternet



"The public is often confused by the Trump/DeVos assault on public schools because they frame it as promoting “choice.” In response, The Network for Public Education prepared a thirteen-point question/answer toolkit to expose the lies and distortions of charter school, voucher, and tax credit advocates. The full toolkit is available online. This report excerpts key items from the toolkit."