Former Pine Street Elementary Principal David Britten, now superintendent at Wyoming Godfrey Lee Schools, has written an opinion strongly opposing Michigan’s new law on retaining third-graders who cannot meet reading requirements.
Britten, who plans to retire at the end of the current academic year and until recently a life-long Republican, was very critical of GOP Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-dominated State Legislature. Snyder signed the bill in law just last week.
His objections essentially were that the new law prescribes penalties for children struggling with reading proficiency, but does not offer viable solutions to the problem.
Britten penned, “The bill contains no substantial provisions for actually raising student reading levels by the end of the third grade, just whips and chains for students who have not yet progressed to this level, many of which are still learning English, have dyslexia, are special needs students, live in impoverished homes and communities, or just haven’t developed their reading retention and comprehension abilities, yet.
“So the smug actors in Lansing, including the Ottawa County representative who led the charge on this bill, actually believe they’ve done something. At the same time, they continue funding classrooms well below the level of adequacy and are doing absolutely nothing on this issue of funding equity.”
Britten has said on Facebook that he almost always voted Republican, but in recent years has withdrawn his support because of the GOP’s policy of favoring private and charter schools, but starving public schools at the same time.
Turning his commentary to voters in Michigan, he added, “But most of you will keep voting these losers in to office because it’s easier for you than understanding the problem, and you’ll keep a few more dollars in your pockets for lottery tickets and craft beer every weekend. Besides, they’re someone else’s kids so let them worry about ’em. “Not my problem. What a country!”
PHOTO: Gov. Rick Snyder signs the new law on third-graders’ reading proficiency, in a ceremony in Lansing witnessed by elementary children from Otsego. At right is 80th District State Rep. Mary Whiteford, who represents almost all of Allegan County.