This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)
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. On the House side, Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp.) is going to chair both the newly renamed Committee on Education Reform (formerly the Committee on Education) and the Appropriations Subcommittee on School Aid and the Department of Education. Yes, the name change is significant, so is the appointment of Rep. Kelly (a former education adviser to Governor Engler during his administration's voucher push), and the fact that he is chairing every House committee with education or school in its name. However, while Rep. Kelly is openly supportive of vouchers and school choice and those issues promise to surface, he also chaired a special committee back in 2013 that recommended maintaining the Common Core. On the Senate side, the committee remains unchanged and Sen. Pavlov (R-St. Clair) has already signaled his intention to take up legislation that would repeal section 1280c of the Revised School Code (the law that creates the state's "bottom 5% list" and empowers Michigan's School Reform Office) and start working on a possible replacement…a first hearing is possible before the end of January.