MI House Education Committee passes reform bills

LANSING, MI – The state House Education Committee approved legislation Thursday that would threaten Michigan's worst performing schools with closure if they cannot raise proficiency levels. About three dozen schools are targeted with proficiency levels below 30%.

The committee heard myriad testimonies since the bills were introduced in early April. They heard from charter school organizers, the state superintendent and the state teachers union, all of whom support the bills.

But gaining support for the legislation was hard fought by committee chairman Tim Melton. He says the strong wording was off-putting to some, but necessary and a moral imperative to protect kids: "This is long overdue. So getting it done as quickly as possible is a key. And getting the Senate to start moving on their stuff so we can try and find a compromise."

The state Senate is also working on education reform. Melton and the chairman of the Senate committee both say they think they'll be able to reach consensus on their plans. Melton would like to see the legislation passed and schools held accountable before classes begin in the Fall.