Gov. Snyder's education reform plans draw mixed reaction from local superintendents

Superintendents from Grand Haven and Spring Lake public school districts had mixed reactions to Gov. Rick Snyder's education proposals announced Wednesday. In a statement spanning more than 12 pages, Snyder touched on many topics ranging from performance-based school systems, bullying in schools to early childhood development. His ideas to improve schools include higher teacher accountability standards and rewarding academic achievement.
Jordan Travis
Apr 28, 2011


Snyder’s changes would require each school to have a “dashboard” showing how the school is doing on student testing, annual progress and stopping bullying.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said much of what Snyder is proposing is in place or in the works at his district.

“The governor talked about focusing on achievement and data to drive decisions and to drive achievement,” Konarska said. “We’ve had that focus for a long time. Our expectations for our students are extremely high and will continue to be high.”

Dennis Furton, superintendent for Spring Lake Public Schools, agreed. His district is already looking to consolidate services and is looking at post-secondary and early childhood education, two of Snyder’s proposals.

Both superintendents also had their reservations about the proposals.

“What we’ve come to learn in schools everywhere, particularly in Michigan, is that the devil is in the details,” Furton said, adding his district and others would need to see what the state’s plans actually look like.

Konarska said that even though he liked much of what he heard, he still worried about school funding.

“When you reduce funding at a level that’s never been seen before at this state and at the same time ask districts to do more, that is going to be an incredible challenge for many,” he said.

To read more of this story, see today's print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.





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