LANSING, Mich. – The House Education Committee approved legislation lifting the cap on charter public schools, and the committee chairman said a floor vote by the full House of Representatives could come in December, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Supporters said the measure would offer more choices to families whose children attend failing schools, while critics said the state needs a better way to hold charter schools accountable and gauge their quality, The Press reported.

Democrats had proposed more than 15 amendments to Senate Bill 618, the Michigan Information & Research Service said in a separate report, seeking to require charters to offer transportation, requiring prevailing wages and limiting where charters can locate, among others. The only amendment that passed is one that lifts the cap on “Schools of Excellence,” MIRS reported.

State Rep. Thomas Hooker, R-Byron Center, was the only Republican voting against lifting the cap; he said he favors a more gradual approach, according to The Press.

“I'm in favor of offering parents alternatives, but I think lifting the cap gradually is the way to do it,” he said, The Press reported.

SOURCES:

The Grand Rapids Press, “Vote to lift charter school cap heads to full state House, Democrats fear ‘tearing the cap off an experiment,’” Nov. 30, 2011

Michigan Information and Research Service Inc., “House panel lifts charter school cap after angry debate,” Nov. 30, 2011 (Subscription required)

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan Charter School Wars” (Video)

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