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After it was outed, secret education group will now meet in public

Richard D. McLellan

Chad Livengood of the Detroit News revealed the group that met in secret, which dubbed itself a "skunk works" last week:

A secret work group that includes top aides to Gov. Rick Snyder has been meeting since December to develop a lower-cost model for K-12 public education with a funding mechanism that resembles school vouchers.

The revelation caused an uproar from some education professionals and teachers unions. State Board of Education president John Austin said it was "very unnerving" to hear of the secret group aimed at creating a voucher system for public education in Michigan.

Now, MPRN's Rick Pluta reports the group will continue, but it will meet in public -- under a bureaucracy it seemingly was trying to avoid. The group will meet under the direction of the state’s superintendent of schools.

...the governor has asked state superintendent Mike Flanagan to take over the project, and to focus on using technology to make schools less costly and more efficient. The new project will be narrower in scope than one handled by a controversial group that met in secret and included members of the governor’s administration. Snyder says he wants the new group to consider ways to use technology to reduce school costs. "There’s a lot of efficiencies that it’s already brought to any enterprise whether that be to a school system or a private enterprise or government – how can we continue that process to continue to say, are there new better ways to do that? I think that’s always a worthwhile topic," said Snyder. The governor says the work of the group should not be considered controversial. “I don’t think, uh, the main point of what they were working on because I haven’t spent time looking at it or talking to them, is the point about can we better use technology to be more efficient in education and have more resources to re-invest in the classroom.” Mike Flanagan tells the Gongwer News Service his group will work in the open, and anything like school vouchers won’t be part of its mission.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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