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Ex-Superintendent Tom Watkins (ARCHIVED)


MI Ex-schools Chief to Leave WSU Post to Become Consultant - Like a rock climber working his way up the mountain, Tom Watkins is leaving one perch to reach for another by starting an educational consulting firm to work with school districts and other clients.


MI Clock Still Ticking For Tom Watkins - Though plain talk cost Tom Watkins his state superintendent's job, he's still helping kids.


MI State School Superintendent Resigns in Wake of Granholm Criticism - Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins resigned under pressure Saturday after an awkward and public three-week spat with Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Watkins said in a statement that he will take a job at Wayne State University working on issues of school reform and urban education. His resignation is effective March 9.


MI 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 evaluation..."


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI 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?


MI 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."


MI 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.


MI 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 door.


MI 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 resign.

MI 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.

MI 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI Commentary: 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI Andrews: Schools Chief Says it's Time For Big Changes - Michigan Schools Superintendent Tom Watkins says it's time to ask some hard questions.


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.


MI State School Chief Offers a Few Common Sense Ideas - Watkins' paper moves education community beyond simply demanding more revenue.


MI Reorganization, 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


Teacher Appreciation - 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI Watkins Pleased 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).


MI Michigan Chief 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


GOP Tiff: 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."


MI State Supt. 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI 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.


MI Charters: 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 advantage.


MI Charters May Sue Watkins - State Superintendent Tom Watkins may find himself hauled into court for refusing to assign state codes to seven potential charter schools.


MI 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.


MI Watkins 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.


U.S. 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 friendless.


MI Watkins: 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?


MI Superintendent: Granholm works with Board of Ed


MI State 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 number nine.


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?


MI State Superintendent Tom Watkins Calls For Statewide Early Start Pre Kindergarten


MI Watkins wants Granholm to revamp education department


Reform education 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.


MI School chief [Watkins] battles Engler - State superintendent questions governor's plan for grant funds.


MI Watkins says Engler Withholding Education Funds


MI Watkins Encourages Voters To Defeat Proposal 4 - Constitutional Amendment will Tie Hands of Lawmakers as They Grapple with Current and Future Budget Shortfalls.


MI Tom Watkins to Gubernatorial Candidates:  Make Public Education A Priority - Michigan's Next Governor Must Set Specific Goals - And Implement Them.


MI MIRS 9-09-02 Watkins: Taking School Infrastructure National


MI Watkins 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."


MI MIRS 8-29-02 Paige-Watkins Interview 'Very Productive' - students.  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 Summits Should Feature Those in the Trenches"


Commentary by State Superintendent, Tom Watkins: Vote! Or Liberty is History - 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. 5th.


MI Gongwer 8/9/02 - Watkins Earns Pay Increase, Not Keeping It


MI 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 spot:  Tom Watkins mentioned as possible running mate - Candidates need to secure strong running mates.


Supt. Watkins 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 Treetops Resort.


Kids 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?

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