GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Some Michigan lawmakers say the state should push ahead with education reform even though it did not win "Race to the Top" funding, but a teachers union spokesman says the state may need to reconsider, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

The new laws, intended to strengthen Michigan's application for the federal competitive grant, include raising the dropout age to 18, expanding charter schools and alternative teacher certification, linking teacher and principal evaluations to student test scores and taking over failing schools, The Press reported. The state had hoped to win up to $400 million.

Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, told The Press that he does not want to see the reform package dismantled. Michigan Education Association spokesman Doug Pratt said that lawmakers now have to either pay for the reform plan or consider delaying or dropping parts of it, The Press reported.

Grandville Public Schools Superintendent Ron Caniff said new rules on teacher and administrator evaluations will raise costs and questioned whether those or other measures constitute an unfunded mandate, according to The Press.

State Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township, told The Press, "That might be a fair conversation to have. But I certainly wouldn't want to see these reforms repealed."

SOURCE:
The Grand Rapids Press, "Should Michigan repeal education reforms after they failed to earn state Race to the Top funding?" July 28, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Digest, "Michigan out of 'Race'," July 28, 2010

Michigan Education Report, "Michigan's meaningless teacher certification reform," July 27, 2010

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