Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Even blind dogs can lead: That doesn't mean they know where they are going!

I have a dog. Her name is Kaya. She is wonderful. Here she is waiting for me to fill up the gas tank so we can go for a walk.

I walk Kaya every chance I get. In November we have walked almost 52 miles. In October we walked almost 65 miles.

The interesting thing about Kaya is that she is blind. Earlier this year we discovered she had glaucoma. We had to remove her right eye. The left eye needs drops everyday to keep the swelling down. She cannot see out of that eye either. We are hopeful that she can keep the eye but we are not sure.

When we walk Kaya is on her leash. She is very confident and often takes the lead as we move down the sidewalk. Most people would not be able to tell that she was blind.

However, if I took her off the leash she would not be able to navigate at all. In our house, while she manages quite well, she will run into walls and misses doorways with regularity.

As I walked with Kaya last night I thought of the changes our state legislature and Governor are proposing. The legislature and Governor remind me of Kaya. They are like blind dogs. They can look like they know where they are going but the truth is they really don't. They have no evidence that the changes they are proposing will work. In fact, many of the changes will fundamentally change the landscape of public education in Michigan.


These bills will create a state Educational Achievement Authority that would be responsible for the lowest performing schools in the state, but that would also be able to operate "new forms" of schools. The EAA would be a state run school district.

The EAA schools would be exempt from state testing. Public schools are forced to give state tests but somehow and for some unknown reason these EAA schools would not have to test.

School districts would be forced to sell unused school buildings to the EAA. The EAA could then use those buildings to bring "new forms" of schools to a community.

The EAA operates outside the Michigan Department of Education and answers to the Governor. Are we confident that the Governor is the one who should be managing schools?

The legislative process is a process that depends on citizen input. I would urge citizens to learn what they can about HB 6004 and SB 1358. Then contact your state representative and state senator to voice your opinion.

Don't let blind dogs lead us.

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