MI lawmakers attempt to ready school reform for federal stimulus

LANSING, MI – State lawmakers say they nearly have all the pieces lined up to be competitive for about one half-billion dollars in federal school-reform money.

The House and Senate must agree on a handful of bills before the end of the year to be eligible for the money.

Andrew Rotherham is co-founder of a national education think-tank. He told lawmakers what they need to do in the next few weeks.

"This is not like other federal programs where you're going to be able to win it by just checking the right boxes and just being technically eligible," he says. "This is one where you're going to have to put in a very competitive application with really bold ideas."

Lawmakers want to target 30 of Michigan's worst-performing schools for major reforms. Teacher performance levels would be judged based on their students' performances. And schools that don't show improvement could be taken over by the state or a charter school.