Just like every other state in the country that passed a ‘test welfare recipients for illegal drugs’ law, Michigan successfully wasted taxpayer money testing 303 welfare recipients and found 0 positive tests. This is consistent with other states that also passed drug test people on welfare laws, and successfully wasted taxpayer money testing people who don’t use drugs.

Michigan’s law was passed in 2014. It was a pilot program designed to screen people receiving assistance benefits from the state to find all those lazy blood suckers reaping the benefit from everyone else’s hard-earned income stolen by the dirty, no-good liberal revenuers. This bill, and others, like the ‘make unemployed bums pee for the money they paid into unemployment insurance from their own paychecks’ bill some states have considered are designed to shame or scare people too lazy to get a job morans from taking money from the government. That’ll learn em!

Except, states that pass these laws find very few people receiving assistance test positive for drugs. This means the vast majority of people who receive food or cash benefits use that money to buy food or pay bills. What Republicans like to gloss over are the millions of dollars paid to privately owned drug test companies selling the drug tests to the state. Florida governor Rick Scott owned shares in the company that won the contract for that state – shares he quickly transferred over to his wife’s stock portfolio to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. Florida spent millions on testing welfare recipients with nothing to show for it but increasing Governor Mrs. Scott’s dividend checks.

So far, Rick Snyder hasn’t said anything about the results, and the $300,000 of taxpayers’ money allocated to spend on collecting poor people’s pee hasn’t been completely spent. We will have to wait until this fall when the pilot program is complete before confirming what we already know – people willing to apply for assistance aren’t doing it to make a score, they need to provide for their families.

Shoreline Media continues to provide free advertising to John Wilson’s new for-profit charter school, Gateway To Success Academy. The school that his wife, Anita, promised would “never be for alternative ed” has a new facade to hide the old grocery store while they hire staff and recruit students from cash-strapped real public schools. Jamie Bandstra gushes about how wonderful everything is, with 60 students currently enrolled for the inaugural year this fall.

The district, also known as G2S, has changed its cap on the number of students who will be accepted in the coming school year, from 135 to 125.

The academy, a charter school being designed especially for students who struggle in a traditional school environment, will draw from the area covered by eight local school districts, Baldwin, Mason County Eastern, Mason County Central, Ludington, Pentwater, Hart, Shelby and Walkerville.

There is a limited pool of students from which to draw, Bandstra said, so the districts were more comfortable with a 125 number, knowing all of the public schools earn money to operate based on the number of students enrolled. The more enrolled at one district, the less at another, and the battle over limited dollars ensues.

Bandstra and the neighboring/existing districts aren’t at battle; instead, he said, they’re working together.

Working together until it becomes obvious you can’t run a for-profit charter school without competing with real public schools, because that’s the whole purpose of charter schools in Michigan. Another reason G2S will need more student enrollment is stated by Bandstra:

“Anything given will help reduce our mortgage and will be huge for the success of the program,” Bandstra said.

Gateway To Success will be starting their first school year in debt. The only way they will pay off that mortgage is through donations and recruiting enough students. That means tax dollars going toward paying a bank note and not educating children. Schools are not supposed to be in debt. In fact, the Michigan Department of Education requires schools that are in debt to submit debt reduction plans showing they have some way to pay off their debt. This becomes increasingly difficult to do when you have to educate children while making a profit. Just ask Grand Traverse Academy or Bay City Academy.

Jamie Bandstra is busy hiring new staff too. Journey Junior Senior High School had a full staff who lost their jobs when their school was closed down to make way for G2S. I wonder how many of those teachers were offered a job at the charter school?

It’s gone now from the G2S website, but here is their hiring notice:

Very few certified teaching positions offered, and the most curious of all are the lack of endorsement codes for the special ed teacher/technology coach they want to hire (Do they really expect one person to do both jobs?). This staff G2S wants to hire is very lean on certified teachers, and relying mostly on people with what appears to be no education background. The state of Michigan does require building trades and auto engineering instructors to be certified. One candidate expressed their delight at being interviewed.

Matthew Miller used his facebook account to reply to this blog. Social media can be an open window that either sinks or floats a candidate seeking a job offer.

Wonder if he wore that to the interview.

So why did John Wilson and Jamie Bandstra do this? Bandstra was already principal of a successful alternative education program that had an enrollment of 125 students and helped young people graduate. The Ludington Daily News article provides another clue:

A graduation rate below 80 percent in Lake, Oceana and Mason counties is just too low, those who made plans for the school decided, and G2S is designed to give kids another option rather than dropping out.

Except for the fact that there already was an option for students in those counties – Journey Junior Senior High School.
This quote comes from John Wilson, who informed Up North Progressive back in February that an 80 percent graduation rate is shameful. What Wilson likes to forget, or is completely ignorant of because he’s not an educator is the national average currently is at 82 percent, and never in the history of the United States has that statistic ever been higher. The schools in the three counties G2S wants to siphon students from actually do remarkably well. Most of them, including Ludington, are above the national average. Ludington in fact exceeded the goal the US Department of Education has set for the year 2020 with a 91 percent graduation rate. . Baldwin is the lowest at 60 percent, but keep in mind 88 percent of the students attending that school live in economically disadvantaged homes and Lake County is the poorest county in the state. There are other factors besides assuming failing schools are the reason kids don’t graduate.

For-profit charter school Gateway To Success is not a solution. They lowered enrollment levels in an effort to be supportive of the public schools they claim they’re not competing with, and it’s uncertain they will even make it to 125 students in time for the 2016-2017 school year. Include that problem with start up costs, a mortgage, and paying a staff that according to their website many will not be certified teachers. Things are not looking good for Gateway To Success Academy.

The local school districts losing students to G2S already had an alternative education program that gave students another chance to earn their diploma. That school had to be shut down for this untested and untried debt-ridden experiment that has a very slim chance of making the difference John Wilson and Jamie Bandstra think it will. These are facts you won’t find in the Ludington Daily News.

Evart has one. Leroy has one. Hersey has one too. Big Rapids has one two times a week. Cadillac? Yes, they have one. Just about every town and city in Northern Michigan boasts a farmer’s market where people can gather to buy and sell locally grown produce. They’re becoming more popular as the demand for local food grows and people want to eat food that’s good for them. One town this year that used to have a very nice farmer’s market doesn’t have one – Reed City.

How popular are farmer’s markets? At some – like Big Rapids and Evart – people can shop using EBT food benefits. Some markets participate with double up food bucks, which turns every dollar of EBT benefits into two.

But not at Reed City this year. The summer will be spent looking for a new source of fresh eggs, beautifully huge heads of Dutch flat cabbage ordered in volume to make sauerkraut, and the fresh greens and herbs purchased weekly.

The Reed City Farmer’s Market will be missed.

Going to miss you, Mr. President.

Because it’s Tuesday, which means back to the insanity. Like the idea the evil liberals in California are hiding the water from farmers, or something.

Tom Casperson (R – Hates Nature and Kids) made good on his promise to be the biggest school bully in the state and introduced a bill to discriminate against transgender school children. Senate Bill 993, a bill much like the North Carolina law that’s turned that state into a pariah in the nation would require transgender students to use the school bathroom of their biological sex established at birth. How will the school know which students are transgender? Tom Casperson provided for that in his bill too – force children to come out.

If a pupil enrolled in a school district, intermediate school district, or public school academy asserts that the pupil’s gender is different from the pupil’s biological sex, and if the pupil’s parent or legal guardian consents to that assertion in writing to a public school administrator, or if the pupil is at least age 18 or an emancipated minor and makes the assertion in writing to a public school administrator, the school district intermediate school district, or public school academy shall provide the pupil with a reasonable accommodation.

Not only does this bill force a trans student to come out to their school, in writing, but if they are under 18, they have to come out to their parents too. Many young people keep their gender identity secret for their own safety. If they live in an unsupportive home with homophobic family members, coming out could mean punishment, or even being forced out of their home. Tom Casperson feels children deserve to be made homeless, bullied, and face violence from peers or even their parents. Equality Michigan explains how the bill violates Federal Civil Rights as well as Title IX Regulations.

Trans students will be made targets for abuse and discrimination at school. School districts will be forced to choose between complying with Casperson’s bathroom inspection law and federal civil rights law. Billions in federal education funding will be placed at risk. Billions more in economic activity will be lost as companies choose to do business in more welcoming and inclusive states.

Bullying LGBTQ students at school, despite programs to put an end to all forms of bullying still happen frequently. Prejudices reinforced at home follow children to school. Casperson’s school bullying bill not only allows people to attack transgender students, it would require school districts to attack children based on their gender identity, putting them at risk.

The national transgender suicide rate is largely due to fear of being rejected, harassed or physically assaulted. Transgender people struggle to maintain a home, jobs, stay in school, and provide basic needs. Being accepted at school for all children is a daily struggle, students who identify as LGBTQ deal with the added prejudices promoted by hate groups and religious bigots.

Dan Kildee issued a statement yesterday in response to Casperson’s callous and thoughtless bill. Casperson wants children to fear for their lives at school; forcing them to publicly declare their true gender identity before they feel safe doing so, and then forcing them to conform to binary sex bathrooms.

Equality Michigan urges everyone who cares about this issue to sign their petition. Michigan Republicans like Tom Casperson insist on legislating hate, costing the state money, and making sure businesses will go elsewhere, just like what’s happening in North Carolina now. Sign the petition and contact your state legislator and senator. Let them know you refuse to support state-mandated bullying of school children in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites everyone to enjoy a weekend of free fishing on June 11 and 12, 2016 on all of the state’s lakes and rivers. Residents of the state and nonresidents may fish without purchasing a fishing license that weekend. Other fishing regulations are still enforced.

The state has offered free fishing weekends for 30 years. Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes, Great Lakes and numerous rivers allow millions of people to enjoy a tradition that many believe makes Michigan special.

According to Michigan DNR Director Bill Moritz, “Every year since 1986 we’ve offered these free fishing weekends as a fun affordable way for people to learn about one of our state’s best outdoor traditions – and the many places there are to enjoy it.”

Schools, local and state parks, and organizations will offer activities in many locations throughout the state during the Free Fishing Weekend. Fees to access state or local parks will still apply.

To learn more about Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend, plan an activity or find out if an event is happening near you, contact Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839 or visit Michigan.gov/freefishing on the web.

The Up North Progressive is far too busy this weekend frolicking in the Northern Michigan forests to care much about politics, but we must be ever vigilant when The Donald once again contradicts himself.

How do you know you need to do a better job checking credentials at caucuses this election year? Because the first time you do, you discover the rampant fraud exercised by Bernie Sanders supporters last Saturday in Nevada. People wanting to caucus for Bernie Sanders turned into a violent mob when their tactics went against Nevada Democratic Party caucusing rules.

What are those rules? You have to be a registered member of the Democratic Party and be able to prove you live in your precinct to vote. 57 out of 64 people wanting to caucus for Bernie Sanders were tossed out because they failed verifying who they were. Any time these pathetic crybabies don’t get their way, they scream fraud and it’s the Democratic Party’s corruption keeping them out.

Wrong, they didn’t get to vote because they didn’t read the rules. Sanders supporters erupted into a fit of violence that would make any Trump supporter proud. They leaked the personal phone number of state party Chairwoman Roberta Lange, and left thousands of death threats. and text messages. She had to be escorted everywhere on Saturday in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel – even to the bathroom – by security because of the violence and threats coming from Sanders supporters was so severe.

Then Bernie Sanders supporters defaced the party headquarters:

And there was plenty of complaining online, like this ignoramus here:

That’s right, he was a Democrat, switched to independent convinced the Democratic Party is corrupt, and now crying big crocodile tears because he can no longer vote in a Democratic Party caucus. If there’s one thing this election is doing, it’s weeding out the stupid.

What this confirms is that other state Democratic parties weren’t checking credentials carefully before allowing people to vote in closed caucus in their states. It had worked enough times the Sandernistas thought they could get away with it in Nevada too, and when it didn’t work this time, they became a belligerent mob.

The Nevada Democratic Party refuses to lie down and take this abuse from the Sanders campaign. They filed a complaint with the Democratic National Committee against Bernie Sanders.

We believe, unfortunately, that the tactics and behavior on display here in Nevada are harbingers of things to come as Democrats gather in Philadelphia in July for our National Convention. We write to alert you to what we perceive as the Sander Campaign’s penchant for extra-parliamentary behavior—indeed, actual violence—in place of democratic conduct in a convention setting, and furthermore what we can only describe as their encouragement of, and complicity in, a very dangerous atmosphere that ended in chaos and physical threats to fellow Democrats.

The Nevada State Democratic Party is right. This is what we can expect Sanders supporters to do in July when the national convention takes place in Philadelphia. What we saw on Saturday was a rehearsal for what will happen if they don’t get their way. Today is the next primary election in Kentucky and Oregon. Keep in mind Hillary Clinton only needs 143 more delegates to have the nomination, and her chances of winning are at this point assured no matter how violent and criminal Sanders supporters become.

Anyone who still considers themselves a Bernie Sanders supporter after what happened Saturday in Nevada needs to think long and deep about what they’re really supporting this election. The more Democrats – and independents that support Sanders – fight, the better chances we have of dealing with a Trump presidency come November. Sara Palin could win the veepstakes, and John Miller will be press secretary. Is this what we want? With the way Sanders is running his campaign, and as of this writing has yet to answer to what his supporters did on Saturday, The Democratic Party needs to unify, tell the Bernie or Bust faction to bust on out, and get to work to make sure Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November.