Who is GLEP and why their endorsement matters

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) since we began our 2014: Election Roll Call which notes the candidates position on Common Core and whether they have been endorsed by GLEP.  In that post we wrote,

We will also be including the names of candidates and incumbents who have received the endorsement of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP).   GLEP is a strong supporter of the Common Core and we believe there is a high correlation between candidates who accept the GLEP endorsement and their future votes on legislation.  Some candidates may receive the GLEP endorsement and be against the Common Core, we will note that distinction with an * asterisk.

Who is The Great Lakes Education Project  (GLEP) and why does their endorsement matter?

  • GLEP describes themselves as:  “a bi-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization supporting quality choices in public education for all Michigan students.”
  • Their stated mission is “to improve academic achievement, increase accountability and empower parental choice in our public schools.”

At first glance, GLEP seems like an organization we can all get behind.  But we can’t.

GLEP is pro-Common Core.

Picture 23Common Core is part of a bigger set of P-20 (Prenatal to career)  of educational reforms that will bring about more centralized control and less parental choice.  Those reforms include,

Third-Grade Reading Assessments
Teacher Evaluations
Computer-Adaptive Assessments for student growth

Many of these reforms require legislative action before they can be implemented.. We oppose them.  GLEP supports them and actively lobbies the legislature and other elected officials to enact them all while claiming they are for parental choice.  But as Michigan moves further into the implementation of Common Core we are seeing that common core eliminates parental choice.

The mother upset about Common Core who was told by her charter school principal,  “What the state, & Mr. Devos say they want, they’re going to get.” and the frustrated Eagle Crest Charter Board President who resigned because of the “Soviet-style” education Common Core has brought to his school are two recent examples of the damage Common Core is doing to parental choice. (Read more about them here.)

As Melanie Kurdys pointed out in her recent post, “Pro-Common Core is Anti-School Choice.”   no matter what a candidate or an organization may claim.  That would include GLEP.   GLEP’s influence in Lansing, especially among Republicans is strong.

Besty DeVos sits on GLEP’s Board of Directors.   She is also on the Board of Directors for Foundation for Educational Excellence.  Her bio describes a long history of political involvement.

Active in Republican politics since college, Betsy DeVos was elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party four times, serving as chairman nearly six years between 1996 and 2005. Her political involvement has spanned more than 30 years and includes numerous leadership roles with campaigns, party organizations, and political action committees.

The Chairman of the Foundation for Educational Excellence is Jeb Bush.  Bush is the Republican cheerleader for Common Core and the P-20 education reforms that destroy parental choice.   Last May just as we began our  heated debate over Common Core , he came to Michigan and told state lawmakers, “Do not pull back from these high lofty standards.”   Lawmakers listened.  Against the obvious will of parents, Senate Majority Leader Richardville resorted to gaveingl a meaningless HCR 11 by voice vote.  GLEP endorsed Richardville in 2010 and alsoPicture 22 applauded the unseemly passage of HCR 11.

The GLEP website states: “As a key strategy to improving the climate for meaningful education reform in Michigan, GLEP works to elect candidates committed to action.”

Candidates who receive a GLEP endorsement will be up against a lot of pressure to pass the reforms DeVos and Bush desire.   Can they stand up against the pressure?    We hope so, but noting the endorsement in our Roll Call now means that constituents in their district will be watching to make sure they stay strong and do not cave to special interest politcs.

Of course, candidates can take a stand now and refuse the endorsement. That would send a strong signal that they are strongly against Common Core and for TRUE parental choice in education.