Gongwer reports that Michigan's House Education Committee approved a charter school expansion bill Thursday, introduced by Sen. Buzz Thomas, D-Detroit, but only after shackling it with some debilitating amendments. 

The amendment limiting the bill's promise most severely came from Rep. Jennifer Haase, D-Richmond, which mandates that all new "schools of excellence" must exist in districts with graduation rates lower than 60 percent. According to 2008 data from the state's Center for Educational Performance and Information, only 37 districts would qualify to host these new charter public schools. That's just 7 percent of all of the districts in Michigan. 

For starters, graduation rates are a weak measure of school quality. Rep. Haase's idea is yet another attempt by Lansing to choose winners and losers. Under this amendment, only parents deemed worthy enough by Lansing will gain more freedom to choose where their children are educated.

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