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New plan to overhaul Michigan's School Aid Act released

In his address on modernizing public education in Michigan in April of 2011, Governor Snyder said:

Like the Model T car or the one-room schoolhouse, our education system did what we asked of it at the time – but that time has passed. The dramatic influences of globalization and technology on today’s society demand a more prepared, skilled and sophisticated work force.

Part of Snyder's plan to overhaul the state's education system is to change how it's all funded.

Snyder commissioned the Oxford Foundation to draft a bill aimed at overhauling the state's School Aid Act.

The project has been headed up by former Engler administration official Richard McClellan.

The Foundation released the draft of the bill today.

The "Michigan Public Education Finance Act," as it's named, calls for the following (from the Oxford Foundation):

1. Removal of District “Ownership” of a Student.  A student will be allowed to take a course, multiple courses or the student’s entire bundled education package from any public education district in the state.  A local school district will maintain its ability to determine whether to participate in open enrollment.

2. Creation of Online Learning Options with Performance Funding.  Technology is changing the delivery of instruction to students.  A student will be allowed to access instruction from across the state using advancing technology.  The district providing the online course will immediately receive public funding, based on performance measures.  Again, a district will not limit a student’s choices.

3. Funding will truly follow the Student.  Under the current model, a school receives 90% of its state general education funding based on where a student sits on the first Wednesday in October.  We create a dynamic system, where the funding will actually follow the student.  15 other states are already using the Average Daily Membership method for allocating funds.

4. Framework for Performance-based Funding for all courses.  We are setting the framework for the full implementation of computer-adaptive student growth and assessment tools that are on the horizon.  We are maintaining the current growth funding incentives for the next fiscal year until the Smarter Balanced assessment and the recommendations from the Michigan Council on Educator Effectiveness are complete.

5. Early Graduation Scholarships.  We are creating an incentive for students – who are ready – to graduate early.  $2,500 will be available for each semester a student graduates early. Let’s help those students who are ready to graduate.

You can read the entire draft of the bill here.

The Oxford Foundation is asking for people to send comments to oxfordfoundationmi@gmail.com.

And here are the other bills in the current lame-duck legislature aimed at overhauling Michigan's education system: HB 6004, and  SB 1358.

HB 6004, and SB 1358 have given State Board of Education President John Austin pause.

He wrote an opinion piece yesterday in MLive saying if the changes were made as written...

... it could erode or destroy completely our current public schools and education system in favor of a chaotic, often for-profit-provided education marketplace.

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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