LANSING, MI –
Michigan education officials are hoping for better luck when the state submits its application for a share of the second round of federal Race to the Top school reform money. The state lost out in the first round - in part because Michigan's plan did not have the support of teachers' unions.
Michigan also lost points for some other things - the state's universities aren't unified under one system, for example. But failing to reach a consensus among school boards, PTAs, administrators, and teachers' unions was a critical failure. Unions refused to endorse the plan because they said teachers were shut out of the process of creating it.
Doug Pratt of the Michigan Education Association says the union was brought into the discussions earlier this time.
"We're in a much better position. We feel much better about the process at this point, but the devil's in the details," he says.
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says if all the interest groups are not on board by 3 P.M. Monday, he will pull the plug on Michigan's application, and a shot at $400 million for schools.