In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Everyone Wants School Revamp
Pretty soon we will have as many education reform proposals in the legislative hopper as we have lawmakers and there are 148 of them. O.K. the opening paragraph is a tad over the top, but it is clear that reforming schools in general and urban schools in particular continues to produce plenty of chatter in these legislative halls. The latest entrant is Sen. Hanson Clarke (D-Detroit). He says it's time to restructure the schools in his district including a longer school day, smaller classes and high schools, no charters and merit pay for teachers which is a non-starter for teacher unions. But Clark is late to the party. West Michigan Senator Wayne Kuipers (R-Holland) has been on this for almost a year and has aligned himself with key Detroit senators who are eager to do something, but are waiting to see what new course the state imposed DPS financial czar charts before the senators jump in. Kuipers has no choice but to wait for the Motown D's to take the lead because he knows as a white guy from West Michigan…well you get the point. Not to be left out of this entire reform clamor is Rep. Tim Melton (D-Pontiac.) He's been in the trenches for over a year as well and scored a major coup the other day. The second-term House member actually got a one on one with the new U.S. Secretary of Education who urged Melton to get serious about reform because Michigan could share $5 billion in federal money to revamp the schools. As is the case with a lot of issues up here, the talk about education reform is abundant, the votes to actually do it, are not.