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Gov. Snyder Outlines ‘Tough’ Education Reform Plan

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(AP Photo/The Detroit News, Dale G. Young)

(AP Photo/The Detroit News, Dale G. Young)

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LANSING (WWJ) - In a plan unveiled Wednesday, Governor Rick Snyder proposed tougher education requirements new Michigan teachers must meet before they get to the classroom.

Snyder said he wants to toughen the standards for teachers and create a performance-based promotional and pay system.  

“Working with out universities, in improving their teaching programs, to be geared for the 21st Century — in terms of an opportunity to say, ‘What do you need to do to earn a teaching certificate, and are you really ready to go into the classroom’,” he said.

That’s just part of Snyder’s ambitious plan to reinvent Michigan’s educational system, that also includes some major changes in the way school districts operate.

Snyder said he plans to lift the cap on charter schools in Districts with poor student performance.

“The second thing we’re gonna do is encourage high-performing charters — and actually start holding charters to the same standards as public schools, and make sure it’s a level playing field. But also recognizing that there are cases that we have good charter operators that could run more than one school,” Snyder said.

Gov. Snyder wants to create a “bonus pool” for rewarding school districts that demonstrate progress in educating students.

“Additional dollars, above the foundation allowance. And have those dollars available to reward schools districts and schools that show their children are growing at least one year’s growth for each year of instruction,” he said.

But how does all this fit in with a budget proposal that includes a $300-per pupil cut in state aid?

“One of the toughest things I had to do, in terms of building a budget, was to address… our educational budget. Because kids are our future, and we need to invest in education,” he said.

“But, we had to make some cuts, given the budget deficit we had. But, as a practical matter, that’s where we were proactive and came back with areas for them to say — here are things outside the classroom where they can save money,” said Snyder.

Michigan Education Association President Iris Salters is calling some of Governor Snyder’s plans encouraging. But the teacher’s union says it is hard to expect districts to accomplish those goals with more than $800 million  in cuts on the table. Salters says school districts and employees have already sacrificed.  (More on this).

WWJ asked listeners, Wednesday, what they think Governor Snyder should do to improve education in Michigan. 

One caller suggested getting rid of the MEAP test.

“I can’t believe how many millions of dollars our districts put into that test which… to my way of thinking, doesn’t really add anything to the education of our children,” she said.

Another listener said he thinks Snyder is on the right track: “What Rick Snyder should do to straighten out the schools is exactly what he’s doing — put more emphasis on the children. And quit worrying about the teachers’ union,” he said.

“I am a retired Detroit Public School’s teacher. And the only way Mr. Snyder is going to find out what he needs to do to reinvent — he needs to go into a classroom,” said another caller.

What do you think Gov. Snyder should do to help Michigan’s struggling schools? Comment below.

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