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Tue June 30, 2009
State House Democrats push Senate on education reform
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
EAST LANSING, MI – State House Democrats want the Republican-controlled Senate to meet with them on an education reform plan before classes begin in the Fall.
The House passed legislation in a late night session last week that threatens Michigan's worst-performing schools with closure if they cannot raise proficiency test scores. The plan now goes to the Senate, where a different set of education reform bills - which don't threaten a state takeover for performance - is already being debated.
State Representative Tim Melton chairs the House Education Committee. He's pushing the Senate Education chairman to enter negotiations before school starts in the Fall. But with classes beginning around the same time the state's fiscal year ends, Melton is concerned senators will allow budget discussions to overtake education talks.
"I would think that that argument was very hollow at best," he said. "That would mean that all policy should stop because we have a budget problem. Well, guess what, Michigan has had a budget problem for the last six years."
The Senate Education Committee will continue to take testimony on their education reform package when session reconvenes in a week and a half.