Michigan Governor proposes sweeping education reforms

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is proposing a sweeping education reform package focused on technology. According to a statement, the Governor aims to put more focus on the needs of students as individuals as a means of improving overall performance. Currently, Michigan ranks 21st in the country for spending per-pupil but ranks in the mid-thirties for actual reading and math proficiency. Synder thinks is proposal will close that gap.

238 high schools in Michigan have zero students that are prepared for college according to the 2010 ACT test and less than half of Michigan’s students are proficient in writing. In his statement, the Governor said that these statistics show that the state is not getting a satisfactory “return on investment,” for its educational spending and must find new options for helping students achieve. To this end Snyder is creating a new Michigan Office of the Great Start – Early Childhood in order to start working with children before they are of age to begin school.

The state will also launch a new dashboard called, “State of Education in Michigan,” which will show a report card of school performance statewide. Individual schools are also encouraged to make their own dashboards highlighting student performance data. This data will become the focus of another proposed measure which will tie a portion of state educational funding to performance and will also provide performance based bonuses to schools that excel.

The Governor is also advancing what he calls an “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace,” learning model in which funding follows a student rather than being exclusively tied to a school district. Schools will also be required to take out-of-district students if they have space available and caps on the number of charter schools in districts with failing schools will also be lifted.

“Providing open access to quality education without boundaries is essential,” Snyder said. “One of the complaints I hear most from teachers is that regulations prevent them from working with each students’ individual learning styles. It’s time we let schools focus on teaching and hold school districts accountable by measuring results.”

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