This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Bob Kefgen's picture

The Legislature returned to Lansing this week for a few more days of session before the election and the Senate Education Committee wasted no time taking up a trio of bills that dealt with everything from cyber schools to foreign exchange students. The committee reported out HB 5907—originally a bill that would expand the existing requirement that districts inform students about testing-for-credit options to include other programs beside AP, like the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and DSST—and expanded it to modify a provision requiring cyber schools to ensure that students participate in 1,098 hours of instruction…language that was originally designed to ensure accountability, but which recently has lead to some untenable pupil accounting requirements. The Senate Education Committee also reported out SB 1098, which would allow schools to continue charging tuition (as required by federal law) and still collect a state foundation allowance for foreign exchange students for at least one more school year—new language added to the K-12 budget bill this year currently prohibits districts from charging even a nominal tuition if they want to collect state aid dollars for a student. The Senate panel was also expected to take up HB 4421—legislation that would walk back a recently passed requirement that substitute teachers be 22-years-old in order to serve at the high school level—but ended up running out of time before they could get to that bill. With the House and Senate scheduled to return for at least two more days this coming week, a hearing on HB 4421 bill is expected on the Senate side and the House Education Reform Committee is rumored to be bringing up its own handful of bills this coming week, all of which had a hearing earlier in September, including: legislation to roll back to student growth percentage to 25% for teacher and administrator evaluations (HB 5707 and 6401), so-call innovative schools legislation (HB 6314-15), and a bill dealing with CTE enrollment for charter school students (HB 6291).