Herbert S. Moyer:
Superintendent Crisis - "For the past 51 years, I have been a public
school educator...I campaigned for and supported Gov. Granholm and I had the
privilege to be on the board that voted to hire Tom Watkins. He has fulfilled my
expectations and that of many of my other board members with his capability,
vision and dedication to public education. This was reflected in his last
MEA Rips Watkins in January 5
Letter - Michigan Education Association (MEA) executive director
Chuck Anderson ripped into state Superintendent Tom Watkins in a Jan. 5
e-mail about the much talked-about Dec. 14 Board of Education presentation
in which rising pension costs and health care were cited as a major
contributor to the alleged K-12 school funding crisis. Anderson scolded
Watkins for commenting that labor, pension and health care costs for
educators are "competing" with costs to educate children, saying it "is a
misguided and flawed premise." Rather, Anderson said in the e-mail obtained
by MIRS that the state Superintendent should be joining others within the
education community in arguing that K-12 and higher education funding has
been cut $2 billion and that the answer is more money, not more cuts.
Granholm Risks Taking
Blame for Education Ills - In subsequent weeks, the governor's office
was quoted as suggesting Watkins was an ineffective manager and that the
real reason he was dragging his feet was to extort a fat money settlement.
Never mind that he had refused to take prior salary increases or donated
them to charitable causes, hardly the sign of a money-grubber. Or that
longtime school board member and President Kathleen Straus, also a Democrat,
defended his achievements. What a governor wants, a governor tends to get.
But what, really, does the governor want? That's far from clear.
Schools Chief Caught in Rift - The public rift between Gov. Jennifer
Granholm and Tom Watkins, the state schools superintendent whom she insists
resign, begs an old question: Who's in charge of education?
Lansing Must Embrace Basic
Reform Following the Watkins Debacle - In a Dec. 6 report to the State
Board of Education, Michigan’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Thomas
Watkins called for "boldness and candor" in addressing a "structural funding
challenge" in the state’s public schools. A few weeks later, he exercised a bit
of that boldness and candor in response to critics of charter schools, telling
the Grand Rapids Press, "Let's take a look at traditional schools. Some of them
will complain about losing 300 (students) to a charter, but you won't hear a
peep out of them when 3,000 (dropouts) go to the streets."
Tom Watkins Responds to the
Governor - Dear Governor Granholm, I have read and listened with interest
to the comments you and your media spokesperson have made regarding your
dissatisfaction with my job performance as Michigan’s State Superintendent of
Public Instruction. I am surprised and perplexed that you would say these
things as neither you nor any of your staff have shared these concerns with me
personally, and given the fact that we have met on nearly a weekly basis to
discuss education issues.
School Politics: Granholm
Needs to Explain Why Watkins Should Go - Gov. Jennifer Granholm needs
to be more specific about the problems she has with state Schools
Superintendent Tom Watkins that have made her so anxious to show him the
Granholm, Straus in Standoff Over Watkins - Governor Jennifer Granholm
and State Board of Education President Kathleen Straus ended Wednesday at odds
as Ms. Straus reiterated her support for Superintendent of Public Instruction
Tom Watkins in response to Ms. Granholm announcing she had asked Mr. Watkins to
Pundits Tackle Topics From Tom W. To Valde G. - Today MIRS asked a mix of
political pundits a fresh batch of questions concerning recent issues and
stories of statewide impact.
Watkins & Straus Dig In Against Governor - The unfolding drama over Gov.
Jennifer Granholm's attempt to remove state Superintendent Tom Watkins took an
interesting turn today after the governor made her first public comments about
her desire to see Watkins replaced.
Granholm Asks Schools Chief to Resign - Gov. Jennifer Granholm on
Tuesday said state Superintendent of Schools Tom Watkins should resign,
calling him an ineffective education leader. In a Free Press interview, a
miffed Granholm said Watkins reneged on an agreement last May to leave at
the end of 2004. She said on Jan. 7 that she asked him again to resign,
through her education adviser.
Statement by State Board of
Education President Kathleen N. Straus
in Response to the Governor
Asking State Superintendent to Resign
- “The State Board of Education wants a strong leader and advocate for
public education. Tom Watkins is both of these. “As I stated at the January
11 State Board of Education meeting, the contract extension signed January
3, 2005 by Tom Watkins, myself, and Board Secretary Carolyn Curtin under the
Board’s authority, is binding on both parties until January 2006.
Don't Oust Watkins for Thinking Creatively -
State school chief, while not right on all points, asks for a needed hard
look at public education.
Governor Puts State School Chief in Box for Daring to Suggest Change
- Poor Tom Watkins. He made the mistake of believing the hype from
Gov. Jennifer Granholm's office that her administration is all about new
ideas, innovative approaches, breaking molds, finding new solutions to old
problems. Or, to use her favorite cliche, "thinking outside the box."
Watkins, the state school superintendent, took the bait. Now he may find
himself soon looking for a job.
Granholm Won't Get High Marks if She Blocks Watkins' Extension
- The Michigan Board of Education has postponed a contract
extension for Superintendent Tom Watkins, apparently under pressure from
Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The assumption is that she doesn't appreciate his
leadership or direction on the financial troubles of public education. As
applauded previously in this space, Watkins has suggested the state might
not really need 750 local public school districts and charter schools, plus
57 intermediate districts. Granholm is increasingly accused of trying to
avoid controversy in the Capitol - that's something Watkins certainly has
stirred up. She supposedly wants to keep a low political profile in order to
be a viable candidate for higher office.
Schools: Watkins or No, Michigan
Has Issues With School Funding - If Gov.
Jennifer Granholm doesn't like the way state Superintendent Tom Watkins does
his job, she should say so - publicly. And she should say why Watkins is not
up to the task of being the state's top K-12 policy executive.
Schools Chief Likely Will Fight For His Job -
Many Oakland County public education advocates share statewide views
largely supportive of state Superintendent of Schools Tom Watkins. Some say
this makes all the more perplexing rumors that Gov. Jennifer Granholm has
asked the state's top public education official to resign.
Schools Chief Says it's Time For Big Changes -
Michigan Schools Superintendent Tom Watkins says it's time to ask some hard
Tiny Book, Big Message: Paying
Tribute to Teachers - Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom
Watkins, who frequently writes newspaper editorials and magazine articles, has
produced a book about Michigan teachers. "They Help us Paint Rainbows," is a
7-inch square, colorful paperback that pairs students' words about teachers with
artwork, ranging from stick figures to stunningly sophisticated drawings.
State School Chief
Offers a Few Common Sense Ideas - Watkins' paper moves education
community beyond simply demanding more revenue.
Consolidation Can Help School Budget Crisis -
Michigan's much-admired former Gov. William Milliken used to say that
money shortages in government can be a good thing. They can provide a
compelling reason to rethink what we're doing and spending. So let's look at
the looming tax-money crunch as an opportunity to better serve those who
pay, not simply as an excuse to increase taxes.
State Board Calls
For Action to Address Structural Issues With Michigan Schools
- The State Board of Education unanimously endorsed a call
to action from State Superintendent Tom Watkins to address funding and
operational efficiencies as Michigan schools face increased demands in
a time of limited resources.
District Hosts Distinguished
Visitors - May 2004:
State Superintendent for
Public Instruction Tom Watkins and State Representative Andy Meisner
Visit Roosevelt Students - On May 7,
2004 students at Roosevelt Primary School (K-2) and Wilson Elementary
School (3-4) hosted special visitors to their classrooms when State
Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Watkins and State
Representative Andy Meisner spent the morning learning about their
programs. Tom Watkins is pictured at left with Ferndale
Superintendent Gary Meier and two Roosevelt students.
- Tom Watkins, Michigan’s state superintendent of schools, likes to
ask students about what they think makes a teacher great, and then to
jot down the answers for use in his speeches. Since taking over as
Michigan’s top school official in 2001, Mr. Watkins has filled a
drawer with the quotes. At the urging of friends and colleagues, he
recently compiled some of the comments into a small paperback book
titled They Help Us Paint Rainbows.
Watkins to Work Without
Contract - State Board of Education
President Kathleen Straus today told MIRS that Superintendent of
Public Instruction Tom Watkins will work without a contract until late
January or early February because of a conflict with the State School
Code that places restrictions on when the board can offer the
superintendent a contract.
Watkins Gets A- From Board
- The State Board of Education gave state Superintendent Tom
Watkins an A- today before unanimously giving Board President Kathleen
Straus the go-ahead to start working on Watkins' new contract.
Rouge Tour Shows Brainpower Replaces Brawn -
For the many of us who worked at the Rouge plant, the tour
will be a stroll down memory lane. My back-breaking summer job working
on the Rouge assembly line in the 1970s taught me many lessons. Most
important, it provided the financial resources to attend Henry Ford
Community College and later Michigan State University, where I became
a first- generation college graduate.
With Bush Meeting - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom
WATKINS and some of his colleagues met with President George W. BUSH to discuss
the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Blamed for School Results - The brightly colored ruler hanging on the
wall in Tom Watkins’ office is longer than the customary 12 inches “because we
go the extra half-inch for kids,” the state’s school chief likes to say. Give
the state superintendent half an opening and he’ll unabashedly expound on the
virtues of public education.
Commentary: Thank a
Michigan Teacher Today - Perhaps you have seen the bumper
sticker “If you can read this - thank a teacher!” Beyond parents,
teachers make an indelible mark on all of our lives. Often, teachers
are not given the status and recognition they have earned and deserve.
Our teachers truly are Michigan’s, and our nation’s, unsung heroes and
deserve our admiration, support, and respect.
Granholm, Watkins Push Teacher Development - The state cannot
require that schools offer professional development to teachers. But
if schools want the training to qualify for credit against their
instructional time, it will have to be demonstrably linked to meeting
federal improvement standards, Governor Jennifer Granholm and
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins announced Tuesday.
Rep. Doug Hart Rips
Betsy DeVos - State Rep. Doug Hart assailed state Republican
Party Chairwoman Betsy DeVos for calling on the state superintendent
of education, Tom Watkins, to resign. "Frankly, several of us
Republicans like Tom, believe in him. He's a centrist and a
pragmatist, a good administrator. He should be commended for his
leadership, not trashed."
Watkins Inspires Condemnation and Confidence - Betsy
DeVos: Aside from impressive public relations efforts, Gov.
Jennifer Granholm has a very spotty education record. Paul
Masseron: There she goes again. I am talking about Michigan
State Republican Chair and public school opponent, Betsy DeVos.
State Looks to
Bridge Student Achievement Gap -
Determined to close a yawning achievement gap between Michigan's white
and minority students, Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction
Tom Watkins has created the first state-level position to try to
address the stubborn problem.
School Report Cards
To Be Used For Guidance - State School Superintendent Tom
Watkins told a gathering of Oakland County educators, student parents,
government leaders and interested residents on Monday that school
report cards expected to be released this fall are not meant to
characterize underperforming schools as failing.
Board Gives Watkins High
Marks - State Superintendent Tom Watkins gets an A- for the job
he's done for education in Michigan, the Board of Education said in
its annual evaluation.
Watkins Visits Rose Garden in
NCLB Celebration - State Superintendent Tom Watkins
participated in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House with about
25 other state superintendents today, celebrating the progress of the
federal No Child Left Behind legislation.
Legislature Should Close Bay Mills Loophole; End School Fight -
Bay Mills, which
mainly serves American Indian students, is trying to utilize a
loophole in existing Michigan law to sponsor as many charter schools
as it likes. There's nothing to think Bay Mills is particularly
equipped to become a charter school impresario, other than legal
May Sue Watkins - State
Superintendent Tom Watkins may find himself
hauled into court for refusing to assign state codes to seven
potential charter schools.
Charters Planning to Open
Despite Watkins' Concerns - At least
one of the seven public school academies chartered by Bay Mills
Community College to open in the fall is moving ahead despite refusal
by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins to recognize the
schools without proof the college can properly oversee them.
Prioritizing Services to Failing Schools -
With the Department of Education down to about 240
people and about 60 percent of the general fund budget it had four
years ago, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins is working
to further focus those people and funds ensure the schools in most
need of assistance are receiving help.
Pervasive Dismay on No Child Left Behind - In all the
world, the loneliest people must be that handful of men and
women of the Department of Education
dispatched by the Bush administration to
wander the country, defending the new No
Child Left Behind Act. Talk about
Raise state's drop
out age to halt exodus of students -
Why does Michigan have a law on the books dating back decades that
makes it "legal" for children to drop out of school at the age of 16?
Granholm works with Board of
schools chief finds positive things happening in Wayne-Westland
- Tom Watkins may want to keep a date open on his calendar
this spring. From the looks on Pat
Colligan's third-graders, he'll be buying the pizza for a party for
their 100 percent mastering of multiplication tables through the
Flint Journal Editorial w/Tom
Watkins: Change age,
attitudes on dropping out -
Why do we have a law on the books dating back
decades that makes it legal for children to drop out of school at the
age of 16?
Superintendent Tom Watkins Calls For Statewide Early Start Pre
Watkins wants Granholm to
revamp education department
agency to help Michigan students
The state that gets its system of education right will have "No
Child Left Behind." I want Michigan to be that state. As Albert
Einstein said, "We cannot solve the problem with the same thinking
we used to create it." For the sake of our children, let the
revolution of new thinking begin.
School chief [Watkins] battles Engler - State
superintendent questions governor's plan for grant funds.
Watkins says Engler
Withholding Education Funds
Voters To Defeat Proposal 4 -
Constitutional Amendment will Tie Hands of
Lawmakers as They Grapple
with Current and Future Budget Shortfalls.
Watkins to Gubernatorial Candidates:
Make Public Education A
Michigan's Next Governor Must Set Specific Goals - And
Watkins: Taking School
Calls On Governor To Help Put America To Work Fixing Schools
- Read the full letter: "Our
local communities need the help of the state and national government
to address the savage inequalities that exist in far too many of our
neighborhood public schools. It would be unacceptable for your three
daughters or my two children to attend the unsafe, unfit, ill equipped
schools that too many of our children are forced to attend. It should
be just as unacceptable for all children of Michigan and America to
attend such schools. The gap between the have and have-nots is as wide
as it is inexcusable and unacceptable."
Read about the bill and then submit your comments.
Read the article "Declining
Student Rolls Topic at Summit" - The solution for dealing with
declining enrollment in the Upper Peninsula should come from local
schools, state Superintendent Tom Watkins said.
Tom Watkins to Gubernatorial Candidates:
Make Public Education A Priority
Michigan's Next Governor Must Set Specific Goals - And Implement Them.
Read the Detroit News article "Educational
Feature Those in
by State Superintendent, Tom Watkins:
Vote! Or Liberty is
There is a virus in the
air that is infecting the foundation of our state and nation. That
virus is voter apathy. Anyone who is eligible to vote should be
registered to vote. Everyone who is registered to vote needs to
understand the candidate’s positions and the various ballot issues.
Then, they need to VOTE in the upcoming primary election, Tuesday,
August 6th as well as in the general election on Tuesday, Nov.
Gongwer 8/9/02 -
Watkins Earns Pay Increase, Not Keeping It
Schools official to donate
his raise; State education head will give to
kids groups - State Superintendent of Education Tom Watkins is putting his
money where his mouth is.
MI Attention turns to #2
Tom Watkins mentioned as
possible running mate -
need to secure strong running mates.
talks education's future - He may
not be endorsing a candidate for governor this time around, but state
Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Watkins had plenty to say about the
future of public education and Michigan's young people during a stop
in Gaylord Monday to present at the summer Transition Institute at
shouldn't have to pay price to clean up budget mess
Comments from State
Superintendent Tom Watkins to the Detroit Free Press
Watkins: Is He or Isn't He?