Education reform
9:28 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Gongwer reporter on education reform in House

The state House Education Committee continues to work on legislation that would put an Educational Achievement Authority into statute. The proposed bills have drawn opposition from many education groups. Gongwer News Service reporter Chris Klaver told WMUK’s Gordon Evans that there is already an authority as part of an agreement between Eastern Michigan University and Detroit Public Schools. The authority is designed to improve achievement in lower-performing schools. Klaver says some of the groups opposing the legislation say that some of the practices used in these schools have not worked. 

Interview with Gongwer's Chris Kalver
Klaver says if the bill is passed, the lowest-performing 5% of schools in the state could be placed under the authority. But he says that would not happen if those schools are showing improvement. Education related groups have been cool to the idea. Klaver says those groups are concerned that the Educational Achievement Authority and the school reform officer who would assign schools would be appointed by the governor. Right now the State Superintendent has authority to put schools in the EAA. Klaver says they’ve also raised concerns about exempting schools under the authority from certain laws, and teachers at schools in the authority would not necessarily be in the state’s pension system. 
State Capitol - photo courtesy of Melissa Benmark, WKAR
Credit Melissa Benmark / WKAR
The bills are held up in the House Education Committee. Klaver says Committee Chairwoman Lisa Posthumus-Lyons has been working to get education groups to support the legislation. But he says many Republican legislators have concerns about taking away some local control and giving it to the state.The Legislature is in session until December 20th. Any bills that haven’t passed by the time lawmakers recess would have to be reintroduced in the new session next year. Claver says there is still time to get the bills passed before the end of the session.