A new “shadow State Board” and a “cafeteria-style” school voucher program could be created if the House passes so-called “innovative schools” legislation. New intel is that the bills could come up for a vote on the House floor TODAY. Please call or email your lawmakers TODAY and urge them to oppose HBs 6314-6315.
In concert with the proposed A-F rating system bill (HB 5526), the measure would create a commission largely appointed by the current governor that would have broad authority over schools – described by Bridge Magazine as a “shadow State Board of Education” that would not be accountable to the incoming governor or State Board of Education.
In addition, HBs 6314-6315 would create a new type of school or district exempt from many existing requirements related to curriculum, days and hours, testing, and teacher credentialing. Such a designation would allow a school or district to enact “competency-based education” and remain exempt from some state requirements for school hours and days, curriculum, standardized assessments, and teacher credentialing.
Also, the bills’ “any time, any place, any pace” catchphrase is poorly defined but appears to allow credits to be granted for extended learning activities, including but not limited to independent study, private and homeschool instruction, team sports, performing groups, internships, community service, and work-study. This will set up a type of “parochiaid” and “cafeteria-style” voucher program. The state constitution prohibits tax dollars from funding private schools, and Michigan voters have overwhelmingly rejected vouchers in the past.
There are many questions yet to be answered about this legislation, which makes it the most dangerous kind that can move during Lame Duck. From the education to the business community, objections are being raised to moving this legislation without enough consideration about the impacts. Join those voices and contact your legislator today – ask them to vote NO on the innovative schools bills.