Constitutional amendment to protect K-12 funds leads list of Mich. House Dems’ education reform proposals

Constitutional amendment to protect K-12 funds leads list of Mich. House Dems’ education reform proposals

The Michigan House Democrats’ School Reform Task Force this week presented its report to help struggling schools improve without being subjected to a state takeover.

“The current administration is too quick to label our schools as ‘failed’ and to use students as test subjects in unproven educational programs, and my colleagues and I believe that we have a better way to improve our struggling schools,” said Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, D-Huntington Woods, co-chair of the task force. “This task force report draws on discussions with researchers, educators and superintendents who have first-hand experience with improving their schools and delivering the best education possible to their students.”

Proposals in the task force’s report include:

  • Amending the state Constitution to protect School Aid dollars, ensuring those funds are only used for preK-12 education.
  • Strengthening the Michigan School Reform Office by requiring input from education professionals, parents, community leaders and other experts whenconducting reviews of struggling schools and drafting subsequent turnaround plans
  • Passing legislation to commission a comprehensive study to determine the true cost of educating a child in a Michigan public school, to ensure that the specific needs of each unique school district are addressed
  • Requiring the school boards at all schools — including public, charter and cyber schools — to comply with the Open Meetings Act and hold their meetings in their school communities at times and places that are accessible to parents, school employees and community members
  • Banning organizations authorized to run charter schools from opening new charters if any of their existing schools fall in the bottom 5 percent of state rankings

“Our students deserve better than Republican proposals that were being formulated in secret, behind closed doors and with no input from educators, parents and members of our local communities,” said take force co-chair Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids. “I believe that our school reform plan — that we formulated after talking with researchers and experts and that involves community members as well as teachers, parents and students — will put our schools on the path to success, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to debate and pass our proposals.