Special Report
Education Funding

Michigan Senate Panel OKs Education Law Changes

By The Associated Press — December 01, 2009 2 min read

Michigan lawmakers revved up their pursuit of up to $400 million in federal cash for schools Tuesday as a Senate committee approved bills that would allow the expansion of charter schools, create alternative paths for teacher certification and provide a framework for reorganizing failing schools.

The cash may provide the incentive for Michigan to make changes that lawmakers have discussed for years.

The bills could be voted on by the Republican-led Senate later this week. The Democrat-led House, which already has approved some similar measures, also continued discussions Tuesday about what could be done to win Race to the Top money offered by the Obama administration.

The competition will reward states that make significant changes to improve schools. The money is of particular interest in Michigan, which is in the process of cutting state aid to schools by a minimum of $292 per student.

The federal stimulus money would not be used as a direct replacement to the lost state aid, education officials say, but it could boost funding for some school-related projects.

States must apply for the federal funding by mid-January.

“It is an opportunity we cannot afford to pass up, but the due date is quickly approaching,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop said in a statement.

Some educators and teachers unions oppose some of the changes the Senate committee agreed to Tuesday, including a proposal that would provide an interim teaching certificate for people coming to schools from other professions with as little as an additional semester of college coursework.

The goal would be to attract top-notch math and science teachers to Michigan schools. But some educators argue the state doesn’t need more teachers, particularly at the elementary school level. Many new graduates of Michigan universities already must move out-of-state to find teaching jobs and thousands more teachers could be laid off next year if state funding cuts take effect.

“We do not have a teacher shortage,” Robert LeFevre, director of legislative and legal affairs for the Macomb Intermediate School District, told lawmakers.

Other measures would allow charter school operators with a good track record to expand in Michigan. Some Democrats opposed that measure in the Senate committee because the legislation does not provide money to cushion the blow for traditional K-12 schools that may lose students to new charter schools.

Legislation that would set up a process for turning around failing schools has been criticized by some educators as too vague or giving too much discretion to the state superintendent of schools or the federal government.

The Senate soon plans to take up bills that would tie teacher evaluation to student performance and test scores as part of the effort to win Race to the Top cash.

The Michigan House has passed legislation with similar themes and more bills are expected in the near future. The House, Senate and Gov. Jennifer Granholm would have to agree on final versions of bills before any changes to state law could be made.

Granholm said the next three weeks are critical in Michigan’s effort and that lawmakers must work together.

“We’ve all got to be on the same page in a very short amount of time,” she said.

Related Tags:

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Arizona School Data Analyst - (AZVA)
Arizona, United States
K12 Inc.
Software Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Proposal Writer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
CCLC Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Read Next

Education Funding Opinion What's It Take for Philanthropy to Help Rural Schools?
Place-based philanthropy has enormous potential to revitalize rural communities. The trick is, it’s tough to get this sort of approach right.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding Summer School, Extended Learning a Priority in $129 Billion COVID-19 Relief Bill
The reconciliation bill from House Democrats is an early attempt at what's shaping up to be a new federal aid package for education.
5 min read
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Education Funding Details of Biden's Education Relief Pitch Prioritize Smaller Classes, Avoiding Layoffs
The administration's breakdown of COVID-19 needs also includes $50 billion for social distancing and $29 billion for learning recovery.
5 min read
Image of the White House seal
Bet Noire/Getty
Education Funding Lawmakers Push $75 Billion for Learning Recovery Among Trio of COVID-19 Bills
The legislation, which also covers school infrastructure and education jobs, could become the vehicle for Biden's K-12 relief plan.
6 min read
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 24, 2020.
Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., speaks during a news conference in Washington on June 24, 2020.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP