The State Board of Education kicked off last week with a full-day special meeting to discuss the state's preliminary ESSA plan. The meeting was, at times, contentious as some of the more strident members pushed back against elements of the plan (a letter-grading system for schools in particular), MDE's timeline (which some argue is overly aggressive given the change in leadership at the federal level), and even tangential issues like Michigan's academic content standards (repealing the Common Core was a campaign issue for the two newly-elected members).
The budget process is far from over, but it seems to be starting on a positive note for Principals. In his budget proposal, which he rolled out this past Wednesday, Governor Snyder proposed spending an additional $325 million on K-12 schools. That includes a foundation increase, an additional $50/pupil for high schools, and $7 million for continued educator evaluation implementation and training.
For members who did not join us but want a rundown on the latest political happenings in Lansing, MASSP Government Relations Department hosted a Legislative Update webinar earlier this morning, which you can watch a recording of by clicking here or the slides here. The Senate Education Committee held their first hearing of the year this past Tuesday to discuss SB 27, a bill that would repeal the Michigan law that requires the identification of the lowest achieving 5% of public schools and allows for them to be put under the supervision of the State School Reform/Redesign Office (SRO).
Among the legislation that made it across the finish line during lame duck session was a package of bills that seeks to overhaul how Michigan handles zero tolerance suspensions and expulsions. Specifically, the legislation provides greater autonomy for school districts by easing some of the mandatory expulsion provisions previously codified in state law. As is often the case with state law, though, the way these changes was executed is not as simple as the intent.
The Governor's budget presentation is two weeks away, no education committees have met yet, and only a handful of education bills have been introduced, but the House finally announced committees this week and the Senate is already gearing up for hearings, so we have at least an initial indication of the direction things may head to start the 2017-18 legislative session.