Make Your Voice Heard at Education Forum at the Novi Public Library
Join Novi Patch and the Center for Michigan for a community conversation on education on June 27.
Editor's note: This event has been canceled.
Whether they are driven by a love for teaching, a desire to see standardized test scores rise, a push for higher wages for teachers or frustration over diminishing school funding, people get passionate about education.
Patch is now partnering with The Center for Michigan, a think-tank focusing on helping citizens drive important changes in the state. This year the center has been leading conversations on education throughout the state in collaboration with Patch.
Parents and interested residents, you can share your voice in Novi on June 27 at the Novi Public Library at the corner of 10 Mile and Taft roads. The 90-minute forum will begin at 7 p.m. in the West Meeting Room. You must register online to participate.
We can take the first 50 people and will send you an RSVP confirmation before the event.
About the education forum
During these sessions, topics will range from teacher preparation to class sizes, and participants will have opportunities to offer their opinions.
"Our pledge is that you will learn something and that your voice will be heard," said CEO John Bebow, himself the father of a second-grader who attends a public school. "This isn't me sitting in my pajamas coming up with ideas. This is all about the people."
The focus is on the customers of the school industry: students, parents and employers — "people who have been left out of the conversation," said center founder Phil Power, former owner of HomeTown Communications Network Inc.
The goal is to involve 5,000 citizens in about 200 forums from northern Michigan to downriver and in every Patch community. The center will release a report that will be given to every legislator in office at the beginning of 2013.
Bebow helps run the forums. Like Power, he is a former journalist. Bebow said the community conversations operate like a traditional town hall meeting, with about 30 participants who receive a small polling machine that looks something like a calculator. Bebow or another moderator asks questions that are projected onto a screen, and participants vote on their hand-held machines and see the results in real time.
Making a difference
Bebow quickly illustrates the power of community conversations and how they helped spark change in Michigan a few years ago.
"We were holding these meetings, and a few of the parents were saying they weren't sure kids were going to school as often as they were supposed to," Bebow said. "Sure enough, we looked at the statewide data and found that kids were going to school one or two or three weeks less than they used to."
The center helped bring that concern to the attention of lawmakers, and within six weeks, Bebow said, the law was changed and the current 180-day calendar was adopted.
"That came out of average citizens coming to these meetings," he said.