Public forum in Greenville to address school legislation concerns

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:11 pm on Friday, January 04, 2013

GREENVILLE — A local public forum is being held to address concerns about an education reform agenda currently under consideration through state legislation, along with concepts being proposed for upcoming sessions.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m., Tuesday, at the Central Services Facility, at 1414 Chase Road in Greenville.

“There are fundamental misunderstandings about student achievement and school funding,” said Greenville Public Schools Superintendent Pete Haines.  “Several unexpected policy proposals surfaced right before Christmas, which completely disregard facts, logic and sound fiscal and legislative processes.”

Haines said some of the concepts have already been signed into law without consideration, while others that are on the table threaten the existence of traditional public schools.

“The information sessions are designed to explain the dangers, so that community members can decide if the legislative agenda proposed by a small group in Lansing represents the interests our community has in providing educational services,” he said.

The forum is not just for those who have children or relatives in school. People without children are also welcome to attend to receive information.

“Several policy proposals have been introduced with the stated intent to address the needs of students who are ‘failing in our public schools,’” Haines said. “However, a relatively quick review of the actual bills reveals an opposite intent; to provide for profit-taking by corporate investors who could, under the terms of some of these proposals, exclude the very students who present learning challenges, because they are certainly less likely to yield the profit margins.”

Instead of addressing barriers to learning for struggling students, Haines said the bills are going to “draw away” students who are successful and cause traditional schools to make deeper program cuts.

Tuesday’s meeting is the last of three meetings held to educate the public on possible new legislation.

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