Bob Kefgen's blog
Early Thursday morning, the state House of Representatives defeated a bill that would have rolled back the state's income tax rate—at a cost to the state's general fund of over $1 billion—and put even greater pressure on the School Aid Fund to absorb general fund costs. The narrow defeat (52 yeas to 55 nays) came after a marathon session that started on Wednesday afternoon, but with at least three more months to go before 2017-2018 budgets are finalized, this issue could resurface.
The fight over the Common Core has once again reared its head in Lansing. On Tuesday, both the State Board of Education and the Senate Education Committee heard testimony from Dr. Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Oregon who, among other things, is a vocal anti-Common Core advocate.
Unfortunately, the debate over Michigan's academic content standards is heating up again in Lansing. This week, the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness took up HB 4192 for debate, though did not vote on it. Anti-Common Core advocates abounded, though a roughly equal number of educators and other supporters of the current state standards spoke in opposition to the bill. No hearing is expected next week, but the bill is expected to reappear within the next month.
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.