Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Detroit Lions Release CB Aaron Berry After Second Off-Season Arrest
This photo from June 13, 2012 shows Detroit Lions football cornerback Aaron Berry (32) in talks with teammate Amari Spievey during NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich. Berry was released from the Detroit Lions on Monday, July 24, 2012 after his second arrest of the off-season. (AP Photo / Paul Sancya)
Emotions and sensitivities toward weapons ran high after the senseless shooting in an Aurora, CO movie theater early Friday morning which killed 12 and wounded 58. Yet, just 24 hours after the tragedy, Detroit Lions cornerback Aaron Berry was arrested after he reportedly aimed a handgun at three bystanders.
That was the last straw for the Detroit Lions, who released Berry on Monday, two days after his second arrest of the summer in his off-season home of Harrisburg, PA. He was expected to start this season, his third with the Lions. Training camp for the team's veterans begins Thursday in Allen Park, MI.
Berry was also arrested under suspicion of DUI in June after reportedly hitting two parked cars in his BMW and leaving the scene on foot.
“We have repeatedly stressed to everyone in our organization that there will be appropriate consequences when an expected standard of behavior is not upheld,” Lions president Tom Lewand said in a released statement.
The NFL Central team hasn't won a league championship since 1957, but they're currently leading all NFL teams in off-season arrests. Berry's alleged antics last weekend mark the seventh time a Detroit Lions player has had a run-in with the police since the season ended.
There were seven arrests of current Detroit Lions athletes from 2001-2011. Another seven arrests have occurred just since January.
Sportswriters have been calling for Berry's release since news of his second arrest was shared. Berry was reportedly in his car when he aimed his gun at bystanders in downtown Harrisburg. Police wouldn't say whether the handgun was registered.
"No one in their locker room would be surprised, and the timing would set an appropriate tone for the opening of training camp later this week," wrote ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert. "Otherwise, Berry's continued employment would be a tacit endorsement of his behavior and leave us to wonder what -- if anything -- would compel the Lions to fire a player other than poor performance on the field."
Wrote the Detroit News' Bob Wojnowski, "in sports, as in any business, your worth is partly defined by your expendability. The Lions don't have many good, seasoned cornerbacks and Berry was slated to start, but if his judgment is as bad as he's displayed the past month, he needs a big-time wake-up call."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 02:13
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Rep. Hansen Clarke Demands Fannie Mae Halt Evictions For 90 Days, Change Foreclosure Policy
U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) is requesting that Fannie Mae, a government-backed financial institution that handles mortgage loans, halt all evictions for 90 days. The congressman wants the organization to temporarily suspend evictions so it can revise its policy to allow for more reasonable payment plans for responsible homeowners.
"Currently Fannie Mae is evicting people on an arbitrary basis, destroying property values in neighborhoods and [decimating] city tax bases," Clarke told the Huffington Post in a phone interview. "It's outrageous that our own tax money is being used to evict homeowners from their own properties."
He made the announcement Monday at a press conference at the home of Jennifer Britt, a Detroit woman currently facing eviction after a long struggle with Flagstar Bank and Fannie Mae.
Fannie Mae is the commonly used name for the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA). On its website the organization describes itself as "a government-sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders, to help strengthen the U.S. housing and mortgage markets, and to support affordable homeownership." The federal government bailed out Fannie Mae along with its sister organization Freddie Mac in response to the foreclosure crisis in 2008.
Clarke said he sent his request in a letter to Fannie Mae's president and CEO ,Timothy J. Mayopoulos, and plans to have a personal conversation with him. If efforts to persuade the organization fail, Clarke said he would pursue regulatory and legislative action.
In April of this year, Rep. Clarke sponsored a bill called The Save Our Neighborhoods Act which would suspend the foreclosure process for up to three years for some homeowners. He currently running against Congressman Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) for a seat in the newly drawn 14th congressional district.
At the Monday press conference Clarke also advocated for Jennifer Britt, who is currently engaged in a vigil with Occupy Detroit and other supporters to prevent the eviction of her family from their Rosedale Park home in Northwest Detroit.
The congressman told The Huffington Post that Fannie Mae should work out a deal with Britt "as a matter of fairness" because she has put over $45,000 into the house since her husband passed away in 2006. He also noted that Britt had the support of Southwest Solutions, a Detroit-based nonprofit, that wants to purchase house on her behalf.
Susan Cherry-Bergesen, a spokeswoman for Flagstar Bank, which at one time handled the mortgage for Britt's home, said the bank would not comment on her case , citing concern for customer privacy.
"We can tell you that we are not the current owner or servicer of that loan; nor are we involved in the eviction associated with the property," she said.
Fannie Mae spokesman Andrew Wilson also told The Huffington Post that his organization does not generally go into the details of individual cases for privacy reasons. He said he had not received a proposal from Rep. Clarke regarding his call for a temporary suspension of evictions, adding that Fannie Mae would review it once they received it.
"We want to prevent as many foreclosures as we can, and we encourage any borrower who is struggling to make their mortgage payments to reach out for assistance as soon as possible," he said. "Unfortunately, not all foreclosures can be prevented. When a foreclosure must occur it is important for the process to take place in a timely and a proper manner so that neighborhoods that have been hardest-hit by the housing crisis can stabilize and begin to recover."
For additional information and resources on foreclosure homeowners can contact their mortgage servicer, call one of Fannie Mae's 12 Mortgage Help Centers or visit www.knowyouroptions.com.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 02:10
Category: Breaking News Written by Crain's Detroit
ETROIT (AP) — Officials are expected to announce and celebrate the start of the final development phase of Detroit's east riverfront.
Mayor Dave Bing, Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin are slated to attend this morning's announcement by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy at Mt. Elliott Park.
The centerpiece of development efforts has been the Detroit RiverWalk, a 5-mile-long promenade popular with walkers, runners and bicyclists. The William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor located along the Detroit River near downtown also is an attraction.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 10:40
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Katherine Jackson, Reported Missing, Believed By Authorities To Be Safe In Arizona
LOS ANGELES — Authorities in Los Angeles say they have located Katherine Jackson and that she is safe and with a family member.
Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy Mark Pope says investigators continue to speak with Jackson's relatives and gather more information about her whereabouts.
A relative reported the Jackson family matriarch missing on Saturday night, but her son Jermaine said Sunday evening she was with her sister Rebbie in Arizona.
Pope says he does not have details on her exact whereabouts and that investigators are working on the case.
Jermaine Jackson wrote in a statement that his mother was following doctor's orders to rest and stay away from the phone.
Katherine Jackson is the guardian of the children of her late son Michael and had not spoken with them in a week.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Authorities said Sunday they believe Katherine Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson and the guardian of his three minor children, is safe in Arizona with family members after she was reported missing.
The disclosure came after another concerned family member officially reported her missing Saturday night amid a dispute over the estate of her superstar son.
A person familiar with Katherine Jackson's whereabouts said she is with her daughter Rebbie in Arizona and following a doctor's orders to rest. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The 82-year-old Jackson family matriarch was reported missing by a relative on Saturday night. Sheriff's officials later said they believe she is in Arizona with a relative, but they were still trying to establish contact with her.
Katherine Jackson's whereabouts caused concern for some family members in recent days, and her granddaughter Paris Jackson issued a frantic plea on Twitter early Sunday.
"I haven't spoken with her in a week I want her home now," she posted from her Twitter account. She also tweeted a number for people to contact in case they saw her grandmother.
Katherine Jackson also hadn't been in contact with her attorneys, who worked Sunday to learn more information about her whereabouts and why she had suddenly become incommunicado, including with her grandchildren.
"First of all, let's hope that this is all just a big misunderstanding and a totally benign situation," her attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said Sunday. "Assuming that she did actually leave on doctor's orders, no matter which doctor, it has certainly created an absolutely irregular situation whereby she has been out of contact with her grandchildren."
The mystery of Katherine Jackson's whereabouts was compounded by a recent visit from her son's former physician, Dr. Allan Metzger, who examined her July 14 after being brought to her home in Calabasas by someone close to the family, said Katherine Jackson's attorney Sandy Ribera.
The visit came one day before Katherine Jackson was scheduled to depart on an RV trip to the Southwest to watch her sons perform at concerts. The elder Jackson never made any of the shows and Metzger apparently told her not to take the trip, Ribera said.
Metzger is not Katherine Jackson's primary physician and her regular doctor wasn't aware of his house call until concerns about Katherine Jackson's whereabouts were raised, Ribera said.
A phone message left for Metzger at his Beverly Hills practice was not immediately returned Sunday.
Metzger treated Michael Jackson earlier in his career and met with the singer once in the months before he died. Defense attorneys for the physician convicted of killing the pop superstar called him as a witness to try to show the singer was attempting to obtain a powerful anesthetic for home use.
Despite being a defense witness, Metzger aided prosecutors by telling jurors that he refused Jackson's request and warned him of the risks.
Paris Jackson referenced Metzger's visit in a tweet early Sunday, writing, "the same doctor that testified on behalf of dr murray saying my father was a drug addict (a lie) is caring for my grandmother... just saying."
Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the June 2009 propofol overdose death of Jackson at age 50.
The family drama unfolded days after it was revealed that some of Katherine Jackson's children had written a letter to the executors of Michael Jackson's estate, alleging his will, which left his fortune to his children, his mother and charity, was a fake.
The undated letter, signed by Janet, Randy, Tito, Rebbie and Jermaine Jackson, claimed Katherine Jackson was being manipulated by the executors, John Branca and John McClain, her health had been affected, and she suffered a mini-stroke.
The legitimacy of the letter was confirmed by Randy Jackson on Twitter, and Janet Jackson retweeted his post.
The estate has denied the accusations. Katherine Jackson obtained permission from a judge to probe the validity of her son's will, but never pursued the matter in court.
On Friday, Jermaine Jackson tweeted that his mother was resting on the orders of a doctor in Arizona.
"This is our mother and her health is paramount. We are not inventing or plotting anything," he posted. "We are following doctor's advice. Period.""
Katherine Jackson has been caring for Paris, Prince Michael and Blanket Jackson since their father's death. It was unclear who is taking care of the children in her absence.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 10:32
Category: Breaking News Written by Examiner.com
President Obama came to Aurora, Colorado Sunday afternoon and visited some of the injured survivors of Friday morning’s massacre at a movie theater in Aurora. He visited one of the four hospitals still treating victims. He had extended private meetings with survivors and family members before making brief public remarks at the hospital. He skipped the public prayer vigil that began after his departure.
A crowd of over 10,000 gathered at Aurora City Hall for a prayer vigil to honor the victims and comfort the grieving families. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D-CO) told the crowd that the President knew his presence at the vigil would “change everything” meaning it would politicize the solemn event, which was not political.
The Governor was at the hospital earlier and reported that the President met individually with each family, heard their stories, and shared tears and hugs. He said staff members repeatedly tried to “drag him [the President] out, but he refused to be dragged out,” Hickenlooper said to cheers.
It was moving to see such a large crowd that braved a rainstorm just before the event began come together to show their support for the families of the victims of the massacre early Friday morning. The speakers at the vigil repeated the theme set by the Governor that Aurora and Colorado will not be defined by the acts of an evil man, but rather, the community will be defined by the acts of heroism and compassion shown by the victims, other theater goers, and the first responders.
In his public remarks, President Obama said he was not there as President, but as a father and a husband. He shared the same sentiment that Aurora will not be defined by this tragic event. “ He heaped praise on the Police Chief and the first responders noting that the police responded in 90 seconds. He also praised the medical staff at area hospitals who he credited for saving many lives.
The President told one story of heroism that he learned from one young woman who was saved by her young friend who plugged her neck wound with her finger to stop the bleeding and carried her friend to an ambulence. "What will be remembered are the good people,” Obama said.
Early last Friday morning 70 innocent people were shot, while they watched a Bat Man movie premier in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve persons lost their life including a 6 year old girl; 58 were wounded; 11 remain in critical condition, some are paralyzed. The community and the nation are still in shock.
In the thirteen years since the Columbine massacre, which occurred 20 miles across town from Friday’s tragedy, there have been some 26 mass killings in the United States not counting 911. All involved guns. What does that say about our laws? What does it say about us as a society or us as a country?
Governor Hickenlooper was asked on Meet the Press whether this killing would lead to a move to enact stronger gun laws. Hickenlooper responded that the killer, whose name he refuses to mention, “rigged his apartment with over 30 bombs. If he could not have gotten the guns, he would have just used bombs,” the Governor speculated.
Mayor Bloomberg and others have been critical of Obama for not doing anything to enact stronger gun laws especially after Congresswoman Gifford was shot and nearly killed in Tucson in 2011.
It seems that most politicians have decided that gun rights are a “settled issue.” Most are saying that we must focus on the individual not the weapon. Unfortunately, that is a good slogan, but it will never be translated into policy.
Many of the things that could be done to focus on the individual like increasing access to mental health services cost money. Congress is cutting those programs not increasing them. They will be a thing of the past like the Edsel if the Ryan/Romney budget becomes law.
If the violence is going to stop, the culture of hatred, bigotry, and religious intolerance must be eliminated. Hatred has become acceptable political speech in America. This constant bombardment of hatred on the airwaves by politicians, talk show hosts, radio personalities, and others tends to trigger violent responses in persons who may be struggling with mood or mental disorders.
Until this country begins to reward civility not bashing, we can expect more killings. It is clear government in the Tea Party era will do nothing for mental health. It is up to individuals. Time will tell how many more of these tragedies will need to happen before America wakes up.
Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 10:24
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
NCAA Hits Penn State With $60 Million Fine, Postseason Ban, Loss Of Scholarships And Wins
One day after the statue of Joe Paterno was removed from outside of Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced sanctions resulting from the football program's role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former defensive coach Jerry Sandusky. On Sunday, the NCAA announced its intention to implement "corrective and punitive measures" against Penn State.
On Monday, Emmert presided over a press conference in Indianapolis and revealed sanctions, including a hefty fine, a postseason ban, and loss of scholarships and previous wins.
"Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people," Emmert said during a press conference that lasted approximately 45 minutes.
Penn State Punishments:
$60 million fine, representing approximately one year of football revenues. These funds will go to child sex abuse awareness programs.
4-year bowl game ban.
Scholarship reduction, cap lasting four years.
Any entering, returning football student athlete can transfer immediately. Presuming academic requirements are met, these potential transfers can play immediately.
PSU vacates all wins from 1998-2011. The loss of 111 career wins drops Joe Paterno from atop the all-time wins list to 12th.
PSU begins a five-year probationary period, with the NCAA reserving the right to implement further punishments.
"For the next several years PSU can focus on rebuilding its athletic culture, not worrying about whether it's going to a bowl game," Emmert said as he explained the rationale for this set of sanctions.
The announcement of these punishments comes less than two weeks after former FBI director Louis Freeh released his 267-page scathing report indicating that Joe Paterno and three top Penn State officials "repeatedly concealed critical facts" about the child-sex abuse committed by Sandusky.
Although Emmert previously indicated that the NCAA's "Death Penalty" was on the table in this case, Penn State football will not be suspended. Speaking about the NCAA's decision not to impose the Death Penalty, as it did to SMU during the 1980s, Emmert said that the "suspension of the football program would bring significant unintended harm."
Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 10:16
Category: Breaking News Written by wwj
DETROIT (AP) - Proposed cuts to Detroit municipal workers’ pay and benefits had not taken effect Friday, despite Mayor Dave Bing’s urgency in imposing the new contracts he said would help the struggling city save more than $100 million a year.
City workers have been expecting cuts as Bing’s office tries to slash a budget deficit topping $200 million. Under the new contract, salaries will be cut by 10 percent and employees must come up with 20 percent of their medical costs. Bonus vacation days and annual increases to retirement plans have been eliminated.
Bing said Wednesday that the “tough” but “necessary” cutbacks would be implemented immediately. But one union leader said they have yet to be put in play.
“They are not going to save money immediately,” said Ed McNeil, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Council 25. “They haven’t even done an open enrollment. They can’t force people to stay in a health plan.”
Under a financial stability agreement brokered between Bing and the state Treasurer’s office – and with the blessing of state law – the first-term mayor allowed some contracts to expire June 30 and imposed the new, stricter terms without negotiating with city unions.
A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office says the process leading to the cuts began Tuesday, and that changes to benefits are expected to start in about 90 days. Wage reductions will begin in three to four weeks, Naomi Patton said.
McNeil said the average salary in his bargaining unit is about $26,000 and that workers will see about a $6,000 reduction in what they make each year.
“These people aren’t making any money,” he said, adding that some are still claiming overtime.
Detroit police officers met Wednesday to discuss the new contracts. AFSCME union leaders met internally.
“We have not brought them together yet,” McNeil said of the rank and file. “Right now, we’re still looking at some other things we are going to do.”
McNeil declined to detail those options.
It’s illegal in Michigan for public employees to go on strike, although the tactic has been discussed at previous meetings.
Last November, bus drivers held a half-day work stoppage over safety concerns. Drivers also walked off the job in May 2007 over similar safety issues. They were promised more police protection both times and returned to the road.
Garbage collection was stopped and bus service shut down for 19 days during a 1986 strike by 7,000 workers over pay and other issues. Trash accumulated at a daily rate of about 4,000 tons during the heat of July and early August. In 1978, unions representing 1,700 workers held a three-day strike that stranded tens of thousands of bus riders and left garbage piled on city streets and alleys.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 July 2012 12:15
Category: Breaking News Written by wwj
LANSING (AP) – Federal data shows Michigan’s congressional incumbents are dominating their challengers in raising campaign cash, a nonpartisan group said this week.
An analysis by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a nonprofit organization that conducts research on money in state politics, shows members of Congress from the state have brought in $18.7 million of the $22.7 million raised by candidates running in the Aug. 7 primary.
The network is relying on second-quarter campaign finance reports – through June 30 – filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The top fundraisers among Michigan incumbents this election cycle are Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Midland, who has raised $3.5 million, and Commerce and Energy Chairman Fred Upton of St. Joseph, whose campaign has brought in $3.1 million.
One incumbent who is not enjoying a distinct fundraising advantage is freshman Republican Rep. Dan Benishek of Crystal Falls, who faces a potential general election rematch with former Democratic state Rep. Gary McDowell.
Benishek has raised $1.3 million, compared with $913,000 for McDowell, but McDowell leads in cash on hand, $686,000 to $614,000.
Benishek and McDowell are running in the 1st District, which encompasses much of northern Lower Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula.
In southeastern Michigan’s 14th District, incumbents Gary Peters and Hansen Clarke are running against each other in the Democratic primary.
Peters, a two-term congressman from Oakland County’s Bloomfield Township, has raised $1.8 million and has $813,000 on hand. Meanwhile, Clarke, a freshman from Detroit, has raised $684,000 with $381,000 on hand. Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence also is running in the 14th District Democratic primary. She has raised $104,000, but has less than $17,000 on hand.
And in another Detroit-area district, the 11th, which is vacant due to Livonia Republican Thaddeus McCotter’s resignation, the lone GOP candidate on the ballot, teacher and tea party supporter Kerry Bentivolio, has raised $168,000 and has $94,000 in cash on hand. Republican Nancy Cassis, a former state senator, has launched a write-in campaign and is spending $200,000 of her own money to defeat Bentivolio. She has $237,000 on hand.
McCotter raised $7,000 in the second quarter and had $121,000 in his congressional campaign account.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 July 2012 12:10
Category: Top News Written by Leland Stein III
The 2012 Olympic Games are so close I can taste them. Without a doubt gymnastics, swimming, diving and, of course the centerpiece track and field are the marquee events in the month- long international world sporting festival.
However, since covering my first Olympic Games as a journalist in 1996, I have seen the continued growth of basketball as a marquee event.
The late, great Hall of Fame coach John McLendon, told me that basketball would one day rival soccer as an international sporting event. With the inclusion of the NBA All-Stars in 1992, McLendon’s projection is almost a reality.
Outside the United States soccer is the biggest spectator sport in the world. One of its charms is that no matter the poverty level or environment of people, it only takes a ball to play the game. Basketball is the same in that kids only need a ball and anything with a hole in it.
Nowadays at the Olympic Games there is no harder ticket and more closely watched event than basketball, outside of track and field, of course.
So, when USA Basketball recently announced its 2012 men’s national team, the hype quickly grew to a feverish pitch. Mainly because a cavalcade of big men ended up hurt after the NBA season. Players like Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge all are recovering from injuries.
Thus USA Basketball added 7’1” Tyson Chandler, 6’10” Blake Griffin and 6’10” Kevin Love to take up the slack in the middle. However, before Team USA could play its first exhibition game Griffin incurred a tear in his left knee that will require arthroscopic surgery. Unfortunately it is the same knee that made him miss his rookie season (2009-10) because of a stress fracture and broken kneecap. Rookie Anthony Davis was announced as his replacement.
Griffin’s injury affirmed the opinions of Mark Cuban and some other critics that the “Dream Team” concept is an unnecessary risk for NBA owners.
I say how stupid is that idea? Very! Changing the basketball selection process to under 23-year-olds is simply ludicrous.
This is against all the Olympics profess to be. There are athletes over 40 years of age who compete in equestrian, shooting and a number of other events. So why is the focus on basketball? There are track and field athletes that are in their mid-forties competing.
The Olympics have graduated to where they should be. The best athletes in the world should compete no matter the sport. In Eastern Europe it has always been that way. The top athletes have been sponsored by the government.
As managing director of the national team, Jerry Colangelo told me that the NBA has derived a number of benefits from USA Basketball.
“The best American players are respected around the world for their willingness to accept complementary roles on behalf of their country while playing for free,” Colangelo said.
“Those same players improve by competing for spots on the national team and training in each other’s company, as young players have learned firsthand from Kobe Bryant and other established stars to upgrade their daily work habits in pursuit of excellence.”
Bryant said NBA owners should want their stars to participate in USA Basketball practices and games, because the players would be at greater risk if they were left to play unsupervised pick-up games on their own throughout the summer.
Will this versatile team make up in skill what it lacks in size? Added to big men Chandler and Love are super athletes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala and James Harden. This collective produces the most athletic group ever.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 11:56
Category: Breaking News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Michigan Wins Federal Waiver from NCLB
Full impact on Michigan schools and students still unclear
The Obama administration has announced Michigan is one of the states that has won a waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act. This news means Michigan is now approved to implement a new statewide school accountability system that will have a profound impact on schools across the state.
However, it is still unclear what the full impact will be on our state’s students. Michigan has not released the final agreement approved by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In the first round of waiver winners -- which were announced earlier this year by Duncan -- many states’ approved final waiver agreements were dramatically different from the proposals the states had submitted originally to the federal government.
“We are eager to take a close look at Michigan’s final agreement,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “This is an important step for Michigan to take -- and it is the right step forward for our students. Now we need to examine the full implications for our schools, educators and families.”
The Michigan Legislature now has a huge role in ensuring that our public schools are accountable, rigorous and transparent. We urge lawmakers to:
• Approve a comprehensive teacher support and data system now being developed by the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness. This system will allow Michigan, for the first time, to determine what good teaching looks like and provide struggling teachers with the feedback and support they need to improve.
• Resist calls to water down the Michigan Merit Curriculum, which has raised the rigor of our high school instruction. The MMC benefits all Michigan students, whether they going to college or entering the workforce.
The consequences of the waiver are high. In Michigan’s original proposal -- made public this spring -- the state department of education proposed making changes that would have impacted:
• How well Michigan’s teachers are able to prepare students to meet new academic standards;
• The helpfulness and reliability of information the state will provide to parents, students and educators on how well their public schools are actually performing;
• The state’s ability to reliably and fairly evaluate educators’ impact on student learning; and
• The identification of schools as failing and in need of improvement, which often dictates eligibility for state and federal dollars and other intervention programs.
The Education Trust-Midwest was one of a several organizations that called on state leaders to improve the Michigan waiver application to make our state’s new accountability and public reporting system more accessible, transparent and useful to Michigan parents. Ed Trust-Midwest will be analyzing the final waiver agreement to report to Michiganders on what these new systems will look like as Michigan implements them.
“Leading states develop coherent school accountability and public reporting systems and use them for helping schools focus on attaining ambitious but realistic goals; setting expectations; sharing helpful information with parents, and setting common sense limits on chronically low-performing charter school operators’ expansion,” Arellano said.
“We’re hopeful that Michigan’s approved waiver agreement takes a similar approach,” Arellano added. “Accountability alone does not improve schools and student achievement, but it can be a lever for improvement when combined with other effective strategies such as capacity building and human capital improvements.”
For more information on this topic visit: www.edtrustmidwest.org
Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2012 10:27
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