School reform bills introduced

LANSING, Mich. -  Legislation that would require “failing” schools to adopt a state-approved improvement strategy, including the option to become a charter school, has been introduced in the state Legislature, according to a report from the Michigan Information and Research Service, Inc.

House Education Committee Chair Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills, and Rep. Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, are the sponsors, MIRS reported, though the proposals have not yet been assigned bill numbers.

The legislation would address individual schools, not entire districts. It would set criteria for identifying failing schools and giving them an array of reform options, according to the report, including the choice of becoming some form of charter school.

“We know there are going to be more charter schools,” Johnson told MIRS. “But that shouldn’t take place in a willy-nilly fashion. We should make sure that the charters we get are high-performing charters.”

The Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Association of Public School Academies told MIRS that they are studying the proposals.

Michigan Information & Research Service, Inc., “Failing School Bills in Pipeline,” April 7, 2009 (Subscription required)

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Markets, not MEAP, best way to measure school quality,” May 12, 2000