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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'M WARNING YOU...AND I MEAN IT THIS TIME! State Superintendent Mike Flanagan Announces He'll Finally Do Something He's Always Had The Power To Do...His Job!

Countin' down the days!
The Detroit Free Press was all up in a frothy lather on Monday afternoon, when Michigan school chief Mike Flanagan issued a press release alerting Michigan's charter school authorizers that he will be exercising his statutory authority to end their ability to authorize future charter schools – something he's had the power to do but has never done during his nine years in the job.

Flanagan said that a recent Free Press special report on charter schools had raised enough questions regarding the appropriate oversight by charter school authorizers that he wants to prevent those that do not measure up from contracting new charter schools. 

Flanagan met with the charter school authorizers in February. The Free Press reports Flanagan challenged them to maintain the integrity of the original promise of the charter school movement – to provide high quality education options and cultivate better outcomes, especially for low income children. He challenged them to root out the bad actors in their fold and build public confidence in the administration of their schools.

“This series of news articles has prompted me to think differently about whether to suspend an authorizer’s ability to open new charter schools,” Flanagan said. “It’s my authority in state law and I will be using it.” 

So why then does my cold, cold heart tell me Mr. Flanagan is full of merde, as that bloated mess Gerard Depardieu would say?

Well, one thing the Free Press doesn't mention in its article is Flanagan is a short-timer, and on his way out and officially counting down the days. 

Originally scheduled to leave his job in 2012, Flanagan was persuaded to stay through July 2015.  

Appointed to the job in 2005, Flanagan served as superintendent of Wayne RESA, the intermediate school district for school districts in Wayne County, and as a local superintendent for the Farmington/Farmington Hills School District before taking office, according to his official biography on the education department's website.

So with less than a year to go (and during an election year), how much do you think Flanagan will actually do to the state's charter school "3 Percenters"?

Would he lift his wan fingers to respond to an email personally alerting him to a multi-million dollar misappropriation of taxpayer funds?

If you answered "no", you'd be right!

Shown below is the header from an email I sent to Flanagan on June 18, under my real name (I copied Miss Fortune, since she's such a know-it-all). As you can guess from the excerpt, the email details the Steven Ingersoll/Grand Traverse Academy "missing millions" story, complete with all the gory details.

The email was sent before the Detroit Free Press broke its eight-part charter school series, so Flanagan was likely still in the dark about the plundering footsteps reverberating throughout Michigan's charter schools.

A couple days later, I received an email from a Department of Education staffer, who thanked me for my correspondence to Superintendent Flanagan. The staffer assured me that that "MDE is monitoring this situation as it moves through the legal process."

Keeping in mind that the "situation" I described was nowhere near the "legal process", I remain unconvinced that Flanagan will now put the "screw" in scrutiny when it comes to the likes of Lake Superior State University and Grand Valley State University.

Will Governor Rick Snyder let this "free market business solution", designed to rid Michigan of teacher unions (and which turned into a money grab of tax dollars), come to an end?

Not a chance...Dick DeVos won't let him!

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