LANSING, Mich. - New charter and cyber schools, state
takeover of failing schools, an end to some union protections for teachers and
a new dropout age of 18 are considered the key elements of education reform
that passed the state Legislature Saturday, according to The Detroit News.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she will sign the bills, which
are expected to boost Michigan's chances to gain a share of $4.35 billion in
Race to the Top federal stimulus funding for schools, The News reported.
The Michigan Education Association and American Federation
of Teachers-Michigan support most of the package, including alternative teacher
certification and use of student test data in teacher evaluations, according to
The bill will create a "turnaround czar" in the Michigan
Department of Education to oversee takeovers of failing schools and also allow
high-quality charter public schools to become "Schools of Excellence" which
could then open a second school themselves, The News reported. The Legislature
is expected to make it easier to discharge "ineffective" teachers and also to
establish merit pay programs for the most effective educators.
The Detroit News, "Michigan
lawmakers pass education reform," Dec. 19, 2009
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The
Great Charter School Debate," Dec. 21, 2009