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Last Updated: 02/23/2018

 Articles of Interest - MIRS

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Warren Calls For Single Election Day

MIRS 10-2-02

State Board of Education member Michael WARREN today released his proposal that all education elections — local school board, State Board of Education, university regents and local millages — should be consolidated into a single “Education Election Day” in June every odd year.

The suggestion comes while a House committee continues to debate a package of bills sponsored by Sen. Bev HAMMERSTROM (R-Temperance) that would consolidate all state elections to four dates a year. House Republicans have suggested several alternatives, but, as of now, nothing has moved from the committee.

Warren and other Republicans have looked into election consolidation as a way to combat situations in school districts where millages are held during random, poorly publicized dates. Republicans believe this tactic is used as a way to suppress turn out from retirees, who are more prone to vote no on any millage increases.

“This low turnout means that state and local boards tend to be relatively unaccountable,” Warren said. “Without a strong mandate from the people, these lay, volunteer boards are susceptible to domination by bureaucrats, administrators and special interests, leading too often to indecision and lackluster leadership.”

Warren, of Beverly Hills, is running for re-election for one of two available Board of Education spots. Carolyn CURTIN of Evart is the other Republican on the ballot. Elizabeth BAUER and Rep. Nancy QUARLES (D-Southfield) are running for the Democrats. The Libertarians, Green Party and United Taxpayers Party also are running two candidates. The Natural Law Party is running one candidate.

Report: Focus On Teacher Retention

MIRS 10-2-02

A Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) report released to the media today says if state lawmakers are interested in addressing teacher shortages they may be better served by taking a closer look at teacher retention over teacher recruitment or wages.

According to the report, “Addressing The Teacher Shortage,” by Clare LAYMAN, a number of state and federal programs are already in place to attract new teachers to Detroit and other high-need districts. However, none of the nine bills that legislators have introduced this session have become laws. Only four have passed one chamber.

Three of the bills concern recruiting substitute teachers and others deal with easing the restrictions on teacher certification, but none deal with teacher attrition, which the report said is the state's biggest problem.

“Addressing attrition means contending with such abstract factors as prestige, respect, working environment and collegial and administrative support,” the report said.

Michigan and other states have permitted the state to takeover failing schools, but often the local policies or contracts is what steers teacher morale. To address this, some states have attempted to grant more local control to districts by permitting them to waive “cumbersome” state rules and laws if they are seen to impede school reform.

The Michigan Department of Education and the Legislature touched on the issue in 1990 when both bodies required schools to pick out their school's three biggest weaknesses and implement an action plan to fix them. The state's new accreditation plan, Education YES! leaves intact school improvement plans as a requirement for accreditation, the report states.

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