‘Race’ language will include more charters

LANSING, Mich. - House, Senate and administrative leaders have put together a deal calling for more charter schools, teacher tenure changes and merit pay as a way to position Michigan to receive federal "Race to the Top" money for schools, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service.

Final wording was expected to be presented to House and Senate conference committees and then to the full state Legislature over the next few days, MIRS reported.

Called a "deal in concept" by MIRS, the proposals call for allowing in the range of 30 more charter public schools, including an online school, as well as language allowing school districts to terminate ineffective teachers regardless of tenure, and creation of a merit pay system for effective teachers. Also, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction will be allowed to appoint an academic officer to take over the curriculum of underachieving schools.

The minimum dropout age would raise to 18 under the proposal, starting with this year's sixth-grade class, MIRS reported, but no change would be made to current law requiring post-Labor Day school start dates.

Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., "Deal Reached on Race to the Top," Dec. 18, 2009 (Subscription required)

Michigan Education Report, "State to schools: Think outside the classroom," Oct. 2, 2009