A new report commissioned by Gov. Rick Snyder could drastically change Michigan's education system.
Snyder's report proposes to make school a year-round endeavor, and students would be allowed to attend any school that would accept them. Districts would no longer receive money based on the number of students in their district; rather, money would follow a student from one school to the next.
Students could also opt to enroll in online schooling alternatives.
The plan may force some districts to close buildings, further reduce staff benefits, privatize some services when appropriate, share administrators and resources, and offer online classes.
Many find this proposed budget to be radical and not in the best interest of public education, and feel it would create fiscal uncertainty for every single school in the state.
A radical plan, however, is just what it might take to reform public education.
Michigan has more than 500 school districts – far more than most states. And a new report that shows that more than half of Michigan's high schools will have fewer than 10 percent of their students who graduate this spring ready for college. Those kinds of results wouldn’t be acceptable in any industry — and they shouldn’t be in public education, either.
A proposed 180-day calendar spread out over the entire year would get rid of summer vacation, instead offering several shorter breaks throughout the year. This, proponents claim, would help students retain what they’ve learned from one year to the next. Opponents feel it could prove disruptive in certain classroom settings, especially at younger ages, because of frequent breaks.
The plan would also award students up to $10,000 toward college by allowing them to earn $2,500 for every semester they graduate early from high school.
Here in the Tri-Cities area, we’re fortunate to have quality public education, but that obviously isn’t the case in many Michigan communities.
As the governor’s plan is met with resistance, we encourage public school leaders to look at it with an open mind. Consider working with legislators to develop a path forward that will prepare students to compete in a rapidly changing global job market.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.