Bob Kefgen's blog

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

A debate about reforming municipal employee retirement benefits sucked all the oxygen out of the room this past week and committee hearings on a number of education bills that were slated for Thursday were cancelled due to late session nights in both the House and Senate on Wednesday. The House Education Committee was originally slated to take up legislation that would have made the WorkKeys component of the Michigan Merit Exam optional, but that bill is now likely on hold until after the new year.

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

After a lengthy review process that included several revisions, the US Department of Education on Tuesday approved Michigan’s plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which includes such provisions as replacing Michigan’s color-coded school report card with a transparency dashboard. The Senate Education Committee reported out legislation (HB 4735) that will allow students in border districts to dual enroll across state lines in certain circumstances—particularly when an out-of-state college or university is significantly closer than the nearest in-state option.

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

On Wednesday, the Senate passed Senate Bills 584-586, which will allow individuals who obtain a special endorsement with his or her concealed pistol license to carry concealed weapons within schools, day care centers, bars, arenas, churches and libraries. The bills passed on a 25-12 vote with a single Republican—Sen. Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy)—crossing over to join the Democrats in opposition.

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

The House Committee on Workforce and Talent Development held a second round of testimony Tuesday morning on a package of legislation billed as enacting the recommendations of the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance—though in reality the bills bear only partial resemblance to those recommendations. MASSP's Bob Kefgen testified on the legislation, bringing up several concerns and urging committee members to find solutions to Michigan's skilled trades talent gap that don't involve expanding our reliance on uncertified teachers or imposing new reporting and documentation requirements on schools.

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Senate Ed Committee Talks Teacher Shortage

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee heard three different presentations on Michigan's teacher shortage. The Michigan Department of Education, Ionia ISD Superintendent Jason Mellema, and Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Ben DeGrow each had a different take on the issue.

This week's discussion is the second time in three weeks that the panel has had serious discussion on the issue of teacher shortage. A hearing two weeks ago focused on HB 4421-22, a pair of bills aimed at addressing a subset of the teacher shortage issue: substitute teacher shortage.

Is There A Shortage?