“We’re hearing a lot of praise for the report because there’s something in it for everyone to like, whether you’re in a teacher’s union or you’re a charter school operator, a school board member, or administrator. Maybe not so much if you’re on the Michigan State Board of Education,” said Pluta.
He is referring to a part of the report that offers changes to how the board is elected, and questions whether it should exist at all.
“It offers an array of alternatives,” says Pluta, “from simply eliminating the board, making it one that’s appointed by the governor, making it one that’s partially appointed by the governor… Any of the options that… we decide to go with would require amending the state constitution, which would mean to go to the voters to basically get them to vote to take away their right to elect a school board.”
Board appointment is just one of the many issues the report covers, from universal preschool to education spending, to the state of teachers in Michigan.
When asked about Michigan’s plan for education spending, Pluta points out that “the state just concluded a study on funding for K-12 education that said we’re not spending enough.” Though these results were attacked by some state Republicans, says Pluta, the commission’s report echoes the same themes.
To hear more of this conversation, click the audio player above.