Governor proposes sweeping education reforms for public schools - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Governor proposes sweeping education reforms for public schools

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(11/20/12) - Major reforms could be on the way to public school districts across the state if Gov. Rick Snyder has his way. The governor has been working to over-haul the state's education system for more than a year. A draft bill prepared by the Oxford Foundation would replace education funding laws that have been on the books for decades. It's called the Michigan Public Education Finance Act, it's a major task, but some lawmakers and local school officials warn it's also too much too fast.

"I am fearful that so much change being promoted in such a short amount of time may create a lot of chaos, and that would be harmful for our students," said Craig Douglas, superintendent of Carrollton Public Schools.

Snyder says the sweeping reforms are the long-term key to re-inventing the state's economy. Among the many proposed changes, students could take one or all of their courses at any school that participates in open enrollment. Per-pupil funding would follow the student to whichever district they chose to learn in. Scholarships would be offered to students who graduate from high school early, and a greater emphasis would be put on online learning. The plan also proposes year long schooling. Douglas and other educators say the proposal misses the mark in some areas.

"They aren't touching special ed at all. You can't say I'm going to reform all the state's public schools and all the mechanisms and put special ed to the side, you can't do that."
Douglas says the plan needs to be considered very carefully.

"Should we always try to do better? Yes we should, do we need to try to reform this deeply this quickly -- I'm skeptical."

Senate Democrats used even stronger language, calling the proposal a disaster waiting to happen. Snyder plans to introduce the bill during a budget presentation in February. You can find a link to the draft bill by clicking HERE.

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