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Education policy major focus of new state legislature

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Lawmakers, business experts, and school superintendents are tackling Michigan’s schools from multiple angles in the first weeks of the New Year.

On the first day of session, Senator Phil Pavlov plans to introduce a bill to get rid of Michigan’s so-called “failing schools” law. The law determines Michigan’s worst-performing schools and puts them under the supervision of a state school reform officer.   

Sen Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Twp., is the bill’s sponsor. He says the current law was passed with good intentions, but has not worked.


“We want to put together a system that’s fair and balanced,” Pavlov said. “A system that districts understand where the goal post is, what the metrics for defining a failing school is.”

Business and education experts have also launched a School Finance Research Collaborative to study how the state funds K through 12 schools.

Wanda Cook-Robinson is the Oakland Schools superintendent and member of the research collaborative. She says the new study will build on the findings of the 2016 study on school financing.

“The newly formed School Finance Research Collaborative will build on those findings by conducting a truly comprehensive school study,” Cook-Robinson said. “And this is something that has not been done in our state before.”                

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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