Tuesday, February 06, 2007

State of The State Address: Clueless by Akindele Akinyemi


I often wonder what is on the minds of our legislators when they listen to the foolishness Gov. Granholm spews out of her mouth. I listened to the State of the State address on radio this evening and while she was crying about bi-partisan support her views on education still gives me chills up my spine.

For example she stated the following tonight:

At the same time, I'll ask this Legislature to require all students to attend kindergarten. It's hard to believe - in fact, it's ridiculous - that we don't require it today.

Now this sounds mandatory. This governor forgets how many people have made a conscious decision to homeschool children due to a failing public school system. The Democratic Party has forgotten how this same Governor is against homeschooling and would like stiffer penalties/requirements for those who choose to homeschool their little ones.

She also stated the following:

I'd also like you to fix another absurd law by requiring all students to attend school until they are 18. A law enacted in 1895 says it's okay to drop out when you turn 16. Maybe it was okay then, but it is not okay now, and we all know it. I hope you will join with me and support the bills sponsored by Senator Brater and Representative Lemmons.

This is not effective at all and I have heard many liberal Democrats bring this up during state representative elections in Detroit. Students are going to drop out at 14, 16 or 18 years old. Making them stay in school with a rigorous curriculum is going to disinterest the student further and therefore the student will leave the institution entirely.

What is absurd is not raising the cap of charter schools to give these 16-18 year old a choice.

She continues her tirade:

This fall, we will open the first of a series of revolutionary new high schools. They will allow students to earn in five years both a high school diploma and a community college degree that will prepare them to fill job vacancies in our health care industry. For example, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit is sponsoring one of these schools. They are helping to develop the health care curriculum and will be placing the students in careers in the Henry Ford health care system. Five such schools will be opening across Michigan this fall and will be followed by five more schools a year later.

While this sounds great on paper why not expand this idea by revolutionizing charter education with building specialized charter schools (a concept that I have been speaking on for six months or longer now). I like this idea of students earning a high school diploma and associates degree but we can do this by instituting a year round program or expanding the school year up to 240 days instead of the traditional 180 days to accelerate this program.

I am not clear on the authorization of the high school. Is this an alternative traditional or charter high school? Will the ISD's run it? Is it a joint private/public operation? Is it managed by a separate management company? She mentioned Henry Ford Hospital developing the health care curriculum and while this is fine will the students continue to follow the Michigan benchmarks for graduation?

She continues:

Even with the best of schools, some of our children lack the kind of personal attention they need to get on track or to reach for a big goal like college. Mentor Michigan continues to help fill that void. Between September of 2004 and 2006, we increased the number of youth being mentored by nearly 12,000. We are gaining momentum and will continue to increase the reach of caring mentors in the lives of children.

I would like to see more faith based groups participate with mentoring than big government. We have all these churches on every corner in the Black community yet we cannot find the time to mentor our children. Absurd if you ask me.

She also said:

As we increase our investment in our colleges and universities with the budget I present in two days, I'll require them to keep tuition and costs affordable for Michigan families.

But this Governor has raised tuition every year since becoming Governor. Why the double talk?

She continues:

That's why we created the Michigan Promise scholarship - $4,000 for every single child to give every student in Michigan the ability to earn a two-year college degree.

This fall, the first class of Michigan Promise scholars will enter college with the help of this new scholarship - funded not with tax dollars but through tobacco settlement money.

This spring, we'll begin distributing these promissory certificates to parents across Michigan. It is a ticket to a college education and all that it brings. When you get it, talk about it, frame it, have your child sign it, put it on the refrigerator - however you do it, but make college your expectation and your child's goal.

Michigan Promise? The governor is bragging about giving students $4,000 for every single child but when you break this down you get this:

$4,000 ($1,000 Freshman year, $1,000 sophomore year, $1,000 junior year, $1,000 senior year)

($500.00 Semester 1/$500.00 Semester 2)

Books cost more than $500 depending on what you are majoring in. Not a whole lot of money but when you are caught up in the emotions in the Michigan Capitol with the Governor you do not think about these things.

The other alarming point I am going to bring out is this:

A February 2 Detroit Free Press article reported that Gov. Jennifer Granholm may not include charter public school students in her new plan for a state-funded scholarship program. The Governor wants to help students who otherwise can’t afford to pay for a college education, yet her staff said charter students may be excluded.

So this Michigan Promise is no more than a plot to keep children in failing public schools. If the Governor was serious about children and scholarships she would not exclude children in charter schools. This is extremely deceptive and negative towards Michigan families who choose to send their children to charter schools.

So when she says this:

What I've just spoken about is largely focused on expanding educational opportunity for our kids.

Your Governor is not being honest with this statement.

Another claim is this:

There is another important piece of our economic plan that will revitalize Michigan. It is this: We must revitalize our cities.

States with diverse economies and low unemployment have vibrant cities.

Cities that have strong neighborhoods, safe streets and downtowns, that have loads of restaurants, lofts, charm and diversity will attract businesses big and small.

From Port Huron to Detroit to Grand Rapids to Escanaba - Michigan's cities will continue to be an integral part of our plan to build a strong economy and create jobs.

And we will continue to use a variety of tools to help cities thrive.

For example, our College Graduate Homeownership program is using low-interest mortgages and down-payment assistance as an incentive for new graduates to locate in our major urban areas.

The following are Democratic controlled cities:

1. Detroit
2. Inkster
3. River Rouge
4. Ecorse
5. Highland Park
6. Hamtramck
7. Flint
8. Ypsilanti
9. Benton Harbor
10. Saginaw
11. Bay City
12. Pontiac
13. Romulus
14. Willow Run

These cities are infested with crime, drugs, liquor stores on ever corner, failing public schools, prostitution and high unemployment. It is a well known fact that Detroit and Flint are #2 and #3 respectively in high crime in the country. Granholm knew this 4 years ago and would like for you to wait another 5 years to see results. Our urban communities under total liberal Democratic control are raging out of complete control. Detroit is the Palestine of the West and Flint is the Baghdad of the West.

No one gives a damn about a vibrant city (this is Granholm's re-introduction of Cool Cities..the Lesbian and Gay agenda for Vibrant Cities in Michigan). What people care about is lower insurance rates, lower property taxes, competing school districts,educational choices and low crime.

She also stated:

In Kalamazoo, private donors have promised free tuition to every single young person in that city to attend any public university or community college in Michigan.

These anonymous donors have decided to avoid the limelight, but the effects of their Kalamazoo Promise are easy to see.

Kalamazoo was losing students. Now, it's gaining them.

People are moving in and property values are going up.

Kalamazoo's story is inspiring communities across Michigan to find ways to make this same powerful "Promise" to their own children.

So tonight I am proposing legislation to establish "Promise Zones" that will help our distressed communities create public-private partnerships to replicate the generosity of the Kalamazoo Promise. I see a Flint Promise and a Benton Harbor Promise and, Mayor Kilpatrick, a Detroit Promise stimulating economic growth in those cities and giving all kids the greatest gift of all - the chance to go to college.

What Gov. Granholm fails to understand is that Kalamazoo is not a war zone like Detroit. People are moving to Kalamazoo for safety reasons not because of the school system per se.

What I specifically propose is the establishment of educational empowerment zones in places like Benton Harbor, Flint and other urban centers across Michigan. We need a mix of school districts hiring or developing management companies to develop curriculum and instruction for teachers in the classrooms. We need specialized charter schools to zero in on a particular career goal. We can generate a promise zones within the educational empowerment zones not just for traditional public schools but for charter school students and in some cases allow parents to choose with the scholarship money to decide what school is best for their child.

Gov. Granholm is off to a good start in her false promises as usual.

Urban Conservatives should be helping brothers like myself pushing for alternative teacher certification requirements here in the State of Michigan, Educational Empowerment Zones, building economic development zones in depressed areas like Inkster and Ecorse and building relationships with both Conservative Democrats and Conservative Republicans to move urban communities forward. Smaller government and establishing a free market international enterprise with countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal would help benefit us greatly as urban conservatives as we begin this move to regenerate our communities.











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