MDE Receives $677 Million Grant
Watkins: Is He or Isn't He?
MDE Receives $677
Michigan Department of Education officials
announced today that it has received full approval from the U.S.
Department of Education for its $677 million Consolidated Grant
Michigan was one of the first states to
have its application approved by the federal government. The
competitive Consolidated State application is an expression of the
key principles of President George W. BUSH's education reform
plan for stronger accountability, increased state and local
flexibility, expanded choices for parents and an emphasis on
teaching methods that work in the classroom.
“Our staff, with input from key business
and educational stakeholders, put countless hours of work into this
application, and more than a million Michigan children will now
receive the benefit of their tireless effort,” said Superintendent
Michigan used the Consolidated Grant
Application process to reduce “red tape” and create collaboration
between state and local educational programming in several areas,
including Title 1, Even Start, Education of Migrant Children, Title
II – Teacher Quality, and Safe and Drug-Free Schools programming.
“Once again, Michigan is leading the nation
in its efforts to truly lift up our schools, teachers and students,”
said Kathleen STRAUS, State Board of Education president.
As part of the federal requirement, the
state will now begin full-fledged collaboration with key education
stakeholders, the business community and local units of government
to formulate an action plan for the grant money.
Watkins: Is He or Isn't
State Superintendent Tom Watkins is
not taking himself off the list of potential Democratic lieutenant
Cornered by reporters after standing next to
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Jennifer
Granholm during a Lansing news conference, Watkins complained that
“Other than you guys, no one else has even talked to me about it so it
is purely speculative and not an issue I want to get into.”
Did that mean he was not interested? What
would he do if someone offered him the second spot on the ticket?
Watkins wanted no part of the Q and A and
continually referred to “his focus” being on helping kids get a good
education adding, “It's not an issue that is in front of me or anyone
Chuckling while reporters refused to toss in
the towel, Watkins finally gave his most direct answer, “I would say
that I am flattered and it goes to show the importance of public
He repeated the same answer twice applying
the age old media training advice of “staying on message” no matter
what they ask you.
Fueling the speculation is Watkins' stepped
up statewide travel schedule on behalf of the State Board of
Education, which regularly takes him into the major media markets
around the state.
On another subject, Watkins added to his
comments of last week concerning the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling
on legalized vouchers. Watkins figures the pro voucher folks in this
state will try again.
“I anticipate that they will,” he said.
And if it does get on the ballot he believes
it will again be turned down.
“I believe that it will.”
(Contributed by Senior Capitol
Correspondent Tim SKUBICK)