MI Senate Committee approves Race To The Top bills

Lawmakers in Lansing say they will spend the next three weeks focused on education reforms. A package of bills has to be approved before the end of the year for Michigan to compete for a half-billion dollars in school-reform money from the federal government.

Some Democratic lawmakers are hesitant to support the plan to compete for federal "Race To The Top" money. They're worried about a bill that would allow more charter schools into failing school districts, and a bill that would evaluate teachers based on students' test scores. But they also say there is too much money at stake to ignore.

Republican state Senator Wayne Kuipers says the reforms are necessary, regardless of the money.

"We've been dancing around failing school districts for a lot of years, and it really is time for us to get serious about creating options that work for kids," he says.

The Democrat-controlled House Education Committee will vote this week on a controversial measure that would allow alternative teaching certificates for people in other professions who want to become educators.