MDE wants change on school takeover law

LANSING, Mich. — Asked to cut its departmental budget, the Michigan Department of Education told lawmakers that it would rather not take over low-performing public schools as a new state law requires, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Under wide-ranging school reform legislation adopted in 2010, the department is required to create a school reform district and office that would take over the lowest-performing schools in the state, the Free Press reported. The department has identified 92 persistent low achievers, according to the report.

Repealing that portion of the law would save $1.9 million in the department budget, MaryAlice Galloway, interim state school reform officer, told a House subcommittee, according to the Free Press. The department was asked to reduce spending by $3.3 million, the report said.

The department could still intervene in the lowest-performing schools if the Legislature approves a new accreditation plan proposed by the department, Galloway told legislators, according to the Free Press. That plan is expected to make it more difficult for schools to become accredited, according to earlier media reports.

The only other area that could have been cut was early childhood education, Galloway told lawmakers, according to the Free Press. She said early childhood education has more research showing its effectiveness than does state takeovers of public schools, the Free Press reported.

The Detroit News, “State education official wants portion of school reform law repealed,” March 30, 2011

Michigan Education Digest, “State raises bar on MEAP, wants same for accreditation,” Feb. 9, 2011