Charter expansion, schools of choice among reform bills

PETOSKEY, Mich. — A wide-ranging set of education reform bills is now up for debate in the Senate Education Committee, including measures that would expand charter schools and cyber schools, allow public school districts to privatize teaching jobs, and require public schools to enroll nonresident students as long as they have space available, according to the Petoskey News-Review.

Other measures in the bill would expand dual enrollment options for public school students and also allow private school students to dual enroll in college with their costs covered through the School Aid Fund, the News-Review reported. Also, the bills would allow parents or teachers petition to convert a conventional school to a public charter school.

The bills are collectively called the Parent Empowerment Education Reform legislation, according to the News-Review.

Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, said the legislation would give parents and students more say in students’ education, the News-Review reported, while the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan questioned the performance of Michigan’s existing charter public schools.

Rick Diebold, superintendent of the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District, told the News-Review that local administrators are encouraged by potentially wider options for dual enrollment. He also said that local school districts within the Charlevoix-Emmet service area already are performing well and so any legislation allowing parents to petition for a charter conversion would not apply, the News-Review reported.


Petoskey News-Review, “Lawmakers: More choices benefit schools, students,” Sept. 9, 2011


Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Recall Retaliation? Senate Pushes Charter School Cap Repeal & ‘Union-Unfriendly’ Reforms,” Sept. 7, 2011

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Senate Leader Supports Right to Work Teachers,” Sept.9, 2011