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Rep. Lilly to co-chair bipartisan MI Future Caucus

• Mar 23, 2018 at 5:00 PM

LANSING — State Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, last week launched the bipartisan MI Future Caucus, a caucus made up of 50 legislators younger than 40.

The goal of the MI Future Caucus is to engage with young people by breaking through the partisan divide and to focus on generational issues to unite legislators.

“I’ve heard a plea from my constituents for two things in almost every forum I find myself in — to find ways to work across the aisle and to ensure Michigan is a place the children of our state want to stay or move back to,” Lilly said. “This caucus is about both of those things.”

The caucus will focus on issues where there are significant opportunities to find common ground, such as focusing on Michigan’s economy, improving workforce training and fostering a climate for entrepreneurship.

MI Future Caucus is co-chaired by Lilly and state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn. They plan to host networking events, town halls and forums to re-engage millennials in the political process and ensure they feel their voices are being heard.

Michigan is the 23rd state to enact a Future Caucus spearheaded by the Millennial Action Project. The group has a total network of more than 500 legislators across the country.

“We have some of the most conservative and most progressive legislators in this group,” Lilly said. “While it’s likely we have disagreements, it’s promising that everyone is willing to sit down and have constructive conversation on the future of our state.”

For more information about the caucus, contact Lilly’s Lansing office at 517-373-0830 or email JimLilly@house.mi.gov.

Education panel approves Rep. Lilly’s new teacher prep bill

The House Education Reform Committee on Thursday approved Lilly’s legislation calling for expanding instruction on student teacher experience and classroom management to better prepare new teachers for Michigan classrooms.

“Some new teachers are graduating from college unprepared for the environment in which they could be teaching in and the students they will help educate,” said Lilly, a member of the committee. “It’s imperative our teacher prep institutions train these future educators to be prepared for those challenges they may face in the classroom.”

Lilly’s bill specifically ensures that teacher prep institutions include instruction on classroom management and teaching students in rural and urban areas, in addition to working with students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds such living on low income, English language learners or students with special needs.

His legislation is part of an eight-bill package with five fellow Education Reform Committee members also sponsoring bills.

The plan will:

• Require student teaching experience in multiple environments, such as rural and urban districts, while also familiarizing the student teacher with their district’s evaluation methods, local data to help craft instruction and classroom management;

• Ensure the teacher prep institutions include instruction on classroom management and teaching students in rural and urban areas, in addition to working with students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds such living on low income, English language learners or have special needs;

• Establish that institutions provide a free warranty program to graduates who are continuing to develop their teaching skills;

• Require that full-time faculty at the teacher prep institution complete at least 30 hours of continuing education annually in order to be certified as a teacher preparation program;

• Set a standard that student teachers complete at least 90 hours of classroom experience during their preparation program, in addition to the college coursework;

• Provide that teacher prep institutions must extend a $1,000 stipend to a mentor teacher for developing a student teacher in the classroom;

• Establish a master teacher unit through the state Department of Education to help provide professional development, assist low-performing schools and to serve as input for new educational programs or issues;

• Ensure an elementary level teaching certificate only be allowed to student teachers who have completed six credits of reading instruction.

“Our classrooms need prepared teachers,” said Lilly, of Park Township. “Our teacher prep institutions need to be consistent in their preparation of our new educators, because what we have now hurts the students, the local school district as a whole and drive these new teachers out of the field. That has to stop.”

The legislative package advances to the House for its consideration.

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