This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Bob Kefgen's picture

The Senate Education Committee kicked off the week with a hearing Tuesday on legislation that would expand the scope of Michigan’s current education savings account (ESA) program (which currently covers only higher education) to include education-related expenses for K-12 students (e.g. pay-to-play fees, tutoring, field trip costs, and similar supplementary education services). Michigan’s constitutional prohibition against vouchers also protects against giving tax credits for non-public school tuition, so dollars in the proposed ESA program couldn’t be used for non-public school tuition, but concerning comments were made by committee members during the hearing about this proposal being an "innovative" way to bring additional money into the K-12 education system…comments that should be concerning for educators and parents alike since many of the costs incurred by K-12 students exist because of cuts to public education spending. The House Education Committee took testimony Thursday on legislation that would allow Michigan students in border communities to dual-enroll across state lines in out-of-state colleges or universities that are within 20 miles of the state border. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Aaron Miller (R-Sturgis), drew a fair amount of criticism from committee members who had a variety of concerns with the legislation, mainly focused around the idea of sending taxpayer dollars out of Michigan. Meanwhile, the rumors are flying (though facts are scarce) about what might eventually be included in a planned K-12 budget supplemental that legislators are working on behind the scenes and which is expected to be revealed later this month…so stay tuned and we’ll let you know if it includes any changes to accountability systems, assessments, or other hot button topics.