Michigan Senate panel OKs education law changes

LANSING, MI – A state Senate committee has approved legislation aimed at giving Michigan a shot to compete for federal schools money.

The bills approved Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee would allow more charter schools, provide a framework to deal with failing schools and expand alternative paths for teacher certification.

Many of the ideas have been discussed in Michigan for years. But they are advancing now because passage would strengthen Michigan's bid for up to $400 million in Recovery Act cash offered through the Obama administration's Race to the Top competition.

Some Democrats opposed parts of the package OK'd by the Republican-led Senate committee. The full Senate could tackle the bills later this week.