Funding for higher education in Michigan has not taken as large of a hit this year after several years of cuts primarily to state universities. But Lansing is not quiet.
Educators in MI are urging members of the House of Representatives to opposeHB 5111if it continues to require retention of third grade students who are not reading at grade level. Both the MEA and AFT are instead recommending early intervention with a reading improvement plan that is adequately funded on a long-term basis. University English Education programs as well as Michigan K-5 educators are watching this closely as of late February, 2015.
In the Michigan Senate, Senate Bill 38 was recently referred to the Committee on Education. This bill appears to set new parameters for concurrent enrollment provided by public high schools and to authorize lower tuition rates for those courses. Little is known at this date about the details or impact of this new legislation.
Senate Bill 98 was reintroduced and referred to Senate Commerce Committee. It would expand the authority of community colleges to offer four-year degrees in nursing, allied health, information technology, ski area management, wastewater treatment technology, and manufacturing technology.
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) released a study entitled “On the Road to Better Accountability,” which indicates serious flaws in Michigan’s charter school law. According to the study, “Michigan is notable in that it lacks nearly all of the NACSA’s recommended charter school and authorizer provisions that other states have adopted.” Consequently, Sara Roberts (D) sponsored HB 5842, a moratorium on new charter schools until legislation & rules governing transparency, ethics and educational quality for PSAs and education management organizations are in place. Conversely, Lisa Lyons (R) is sponsoring HB4369, which would create a statewide Education Achievement Authority, put lowest 5% of school under EAA and create unlimited new charter schools. This is an issue for English Education programs in the state, some of which have struggled to obtain placement for student teachers while the EEA has been operating in Detroit.