Bloomfield, Birmingham and Troy Moms Should Meet the Most Important Woman in Their Kids' Education

Daughter of Dick Posthumous has a lot to say about public education in Michigan. Parents, particularly Moms in Oakland County, might want to familiarize themselves with her.

While there are many more men involved in their kids’ education than in my father’s day, women (moms) still pretty much run the show. At my daughters’ elementary school in Birmingham there were at least twice as many mothers as teachers in or around the school at any hour of the day.

Such is life in top Districts like Birmingham, Bloomfield, Troy, and, “up north” in Ada, Forest Hills.

As many school administrators are themselves moms, I suspect they understand the intensity of this activity which blurs together extraordinary civic volunteerism and unadulterated advocacy for an individual child. Administrators know what the moms know. The 21st century is not the 20th . Competition in a newly globalized context is incredible and this competition starts as early as preschool. Even after finding your way in to a top district any parent worries constantly about preparing your child for success. Many who grew up in Michigan can remember the days when admission to the U. of Michigan required only residency, a 3.0 GPA, and a 21 on your ACT. Those days are long, long gone. Consequently, many moms work feverishly to know their child’s school, its teachers, its administrators, its dynamics and then insert themselves into that milieu in a way that best benefits the school – and, of course, their own kid or kids.

In that spirit, then, I think it important that Birmingham, Bloomfield, and Troy moms of public education students get to know perhaps the most important woman in their child’s educational future: Lisa Posthumus Lyons, 32, of Alto, Republican member of the Michigan House of Representatives.

State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto was appointed in her first stint as a representative in March 2012 to chair the House Education Committee and serve as assistant majority floor leader just as Governor Snyder was ramping up his promised school reforms, reforms his chosen educational guru – Richard McLellan – agrees will “destroy” public education as we know it, including Birmingham, Bloomfield and Troy schools. Her powerful position stems, in part, from her father, former Lt. Governor Dick Posthumous and primary campaign advisor and supporter of Governor Rick Snyder.

She was re-elected this fall and, while unsuccessful at moving major school reforms through committee in December’s rather remarkable lame-duck session, she gets back to work on Wednesday, Jan. 9. The first order of business will be to try and pass the much amended HB6004 that sought to establish the Detroit based 4 month old EAA as a new statewide school “District” with enormous power to, amongst other things, seize various school properties to help fund new charter schools.

Lyons grew up – the fourth generation – on the 800-acre family farm in Alto. Fittingly, then, at Michigan State she received a BA in Agricultural and Resources Communication. Before taking office, she served as director of public policy and community outreach for the Grand Rapids Realtors Association (although I don’t know what such a post involves). She also worked on the Board of Directors of Alpha Women’s Center in Grand Rapids, a crisis pregnancy counseling center whose “mission is to show compassion . . . and to seek mercy for the unborn.” Other leadership experience she cites: she was the point guard on her high school basketball team (Lowell). Not surprisingly, given her upbringing, she likes hunting, fishing, and exploring the woods and is an NRA member. She has four kids, four and under. She attends Ada Bible Church, an ever expanding congregation with a vibrant social network for families and children. She identifies her husband as a Sheriff’s Deputy in Kent County. I say identifies as Lyons ran in to a tiny bit of bad press when, during the brief discussions about right to work legislation in December, she tried to get an amendment through that would give her husband’s union (to others he is identified as a Corrections Officer) the same exemptions as police and firefighters. This failed.

She likes George Strait and her favorite movie is the late Chris Farley vehicle Tommy Boy.

Potentially, again, her thoughts on public education will influence your child’s education more than your child’s current teacher or principal.

If, as a very busy mother of a child in a top district, you have something to say to Representative Posthumous Lyons you can write her as “Chair of the House Education Committee.”

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Mike Reno January 10, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Dear Representative Lyons, Chair of the House Education Committee: As a parent in one of the "high performing districts" in Michigan, I want to thank you for considering legislation that will bring choice to Michigan's children. As it stands now, the education model developed in the 1960's -- the one-size-fits-all approach that groups children by age and zip code -- is still favored by some parents. But that support is by no means universal, and some of us would prefer a different approach; one in which we have some meaningful influence over education of our children. Your approach really offers the best of all worlds; those who like where they are can stay, while those of us that seek a more appropriate education will be given the freedom to seek alternatives in other PUBLIC charters. In a sense, you are working to "Free the Hostages!" So while you will no doubt be vilified by those who perceive you as a threat to the status quo, I just wanted to you to know that you are doing the right thing for the children of Michigan. Stay strong! :-)
Dale Murrish January 10, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Sounds like the MEA is worried about a single legislator who chairs a committee. Maybe it could focus on satisfying its customers (students) instead of letting 26,000 of them sit home while many of its members called in sick to protest in Lansing recently. Her qualifications sound good to me, despite the disrespect given her from a well-educated teacher? (couldn’t tell since you didn’t identify yourself on your profile, but I’m assuming that is your profession based on your writings). What’s wrong with a background in Ag Communications, leadership in a crisis pregnancy center, and being an outdoors-loving church member? Her constituents elected her. Sounds a lot like “you can’t have any fun in Grand Rapids. There are too many Christians there.” Disdain for people with different values than yours. http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/the-fiscal-cliff-an-option-c-solution What about the ~10% of Michigan parents who pay double (property taxes and tuition) for something other than government schools? Or those who choose to home school? The MEA pushed for a constitutional amendment against vouchers for non-government schools to protect their interests. That does nothing to improve education for kids. Why don’t you allow more public school choice for students in urban areas with failing schools instead of protecting your union’s interests? The MEA has blocked every change that would “free the hostages.” I agree with Mike Reno on this one.
Suzanne Shields January 11, 2013 at 01:20 AM
I have lived in Birmingham for 30+ years - I have never stepped foot in a school. I pay a substantial amount in property tax and have served on several City Commissions. I have friends who pay MUCH LESS in property taxes qnd barely drive through the City. Why should they have a choice of Birmingham Schools? Ag Communications and crisis pregnancy center hardly qualifies her to run anything to do with education when there are many qualified, educated, unbiased people in this industry (yes it is an industry). I have years of marketing and planning - maybe I should be considered? Just another Republican Cronie in my book!
Mike Reno January 11, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Birmingham would not be forced in any way to become a school of choice.
W. F. Moigis January 16, 2013 at 04:27 PM
I agree - that absolutely no school district should be coerced into acepting students that bring social and academic pathologies along with them. The new state policy would allow politicians who have failed (miserably) in administering their local communities (and a school districts) to avoid the consequeces of their incompetence. Is this what we want to teach our children? I don't think so! Best regards, Víc Moigis


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