LANSING, Mich. - Charter public school and education reform advocates gathered at the Capitol in Lansing on Thursday to rally for legislation that would address failing schools, create new forms of public schools and permit alternative teacher certification, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The legislation is said to be needed to help Michigan compete for federal funds in the "Race to the Top" grant program, under which money goes to states that pledge to make reforms to improve student achievement.
About 2,500 charter school students, teachers and other supporters attended the event, as well as about a dozen legislators, the Free Press reported.
"Michigan is not doing what it takes to be competitive for the Race to the Top funds," said Michael Tenbusch, vice president for education preparedness at United Way of Southeastern Michigan, the Free Press reported.
"We're losing so many engineers and scientists who are getting laid off from the Big Three that there's no reason they can't become trained and get into the classrooms where kids need them," Tenbusch said, according to the Free Press.
Rachele Downs, a member of the Leadership Detroit Education Support Committee, said removing the state limit on the number of charter public schools would also encourage improvements in the state's education system, the Free Press reported.
Detroit Free Press, "Michigan school reform supporters rally in Lansing," Sept. 24, 2009
MichiganVotes.org, "Authorize neighborhood schools," June 11, 2009
MichiganVotes.org, "Authorize failing school 'turnaround schools,'" April 2, 2009