The state Department of Education sponsored public forums throughout
the state in April and May to discuss possible changes to Proposal A, the 1994
tax law that changed school funding in Michigan. School officials, parents and
teachers discussed everything from increasing taxes through additional school
millages to providing tax credits for individuals and companies who donate to
Police arrested over a dozen people, including parents and students,
and forcibly removed them from a Detroit school board meeting in March after
they disrupted the proceedings with loud chanting. The protesters, including
residents and school workers, believe the state-appointed Detroit school board
is not legitimate, and want to stop the seven-member board from conducting
business. But the protests have continued at subsequent meetings, forcing some
to adjourn and the Board to seek a different meeting venue.
There are far too many barriers to teacher certification, according to
Frederick Hess, author of a recent study published by the Progressive Policy
Institute in Washington, D.C. Hess proposes that a teacher should be certified
if he or she passes a criminal background check and satisfactorily completes a
test measuring "essential teaching skills" and knowledge of subject matter.
Hess' ideas have already taken hold in many states. Forty-five currently permit
some form of alternative teacher certification. For more information on the
report, visit www.ppionline.org/.
A new study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy offers the
Michigan Legislature a policy blueprint for the upcoming term, including an
extensive section on education reform. The study recommends removing the "cap"
on charter schools, reform of teacher certification laws, and the expansion of
public schools-of-choice programs. The study calls for the elimination of
language in the Michigan Constitution that prohibits tax credits for private
education, and recommends that tax credits be allowed for public school
donations as well as private. View the study at