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Senate putting finishing touches on Common Core resolution

Changes to teacher tenure rules in Michigan are coming after Governor Snyder signs a new bill.
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A classroom.

Lawmakers in the state Senate hope to move forward this week on a plan to fund the implementation of new school standards.

Republican leaders in the Senate had hoped to introduce a resolution last week to fund the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. But Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) says it was a good idea to wait because there were so many concerns that had to be addressed.

“I want people to have a good look at it and hear from some other experts before we do anything,” said Richardville. “It’s always on our radar screen because it’s an important issue. We’re not going to let that one drag out forever.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a state budget that barred the Michigan Department of Education from spending money to implement Common Core.

Opponents of the standards say they threaten local control of school curriculum. Supporters say they simply set clear expectations for what students should learn at every grade level.

More than 40 other states have adopted Common Core.

Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) has been leading discussions on the issue in the Senate.  He says he plans to introduce a resolution this week to reinstate funding for the standards.

“As far as getting over the bar, getting over the hurdle, I think we’re going to get there,” Walker said. “I’m very optimistic. But we still have to have some discussions with our members and our caucus as a whole.”

The state House has already passed a resolution to reinstate funding for Common Core. HCR 11 was introduced by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township). It includes conditions for funding the implementation. For example, it states that the standards cannot be used to prescribe curriculum or specific teaching methods to local schools.

Richardville says he expects the Senate’s resolution to be similar to the House version.

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