This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)
The K-12 budget appropriations subcommittees in both chambers continued testimony this week on various components of the Governor's budget proposal from Michigan's Math & Science Centers Network to regional data hubs. The Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee voted out SB 103-106, a problematic package of bills that would impose common, statewide definitions around truancy and absence and prescribe steps districts would have to take in the case of chronic absenteeism, but without addressing long-standing concerns from educators including a lack of follow-up from the legal system or the loophole related to home schooled students. The House Education Reform Committee took testimony on HB 4163 introduced by Rep. Daniela Garcia (R-Holland) which would add "calendar and schedule" to the list of prohibited subjects of bargaining under PERA, thus giving school boards and district administrators the ability to set calendar and schedule though it would further restrict both sides from negotiating calendar even if they wanted to do so. Finally, on Friday, Gov. Snyder's 21st Century Education Commission released their final report—a weighty 146 page document that MASSP is in the process of analyzing for issues that will be of the greatest import to Principals. Judging by the executive summary some of the main takeaways are that Michigan needs to retain the Common Core State Standards, increase funding for all levels of education as part of its effort to improve student academic achievement, provide more and better supports for educators and—a topic that is sure to grab headlines—drastically restructure or possibly eliminate the State Board of Education.