EDUCATION BLACKBOARD

MacGregor votes to protect strong schools, provide choices for parents

Education options increased for students, parents

State Rep. Peter MacGregor

State Rep. Peter MacGregor recently voted for sweeping reform legislation approved by the Michigan House giving parents, without any other choice, more education options for their children by allowing more charter schools to open their doors.

Senate Bill 618, supported by MacGregor, allows for the phase in on the number and location of charter schools in Michigan, and requiring increased conditions and more accountability on all public school student performance.

“All Michigan students should have access to the best possible education and parents should be able to determine the best path for their children, not the government, and not by what zip code you live in” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Lifting the charter cap is not a threat against our public school, in fact, I don’t anticipate my district being affected a great deal as we have some of the best public school districts in the state.”

The bill approved Wednesday, Dec. 14 was strengthened by House Republicans by adding provisions that require:

•            additional guidelines for authorizers to consider when granting charter contracts;

•            the creation of a bipartisan legislative workgroup to develop quality measures for all public schools by March 30, 2012;

•            student growth made toward academic goals before expansion;

•            all accreditation and progress report information to be posted on school websites for transparency; and

•            a gradual elimination of the charter cap.

Currently, more than two-thirds of Michigan’s 232 charter schools have waiting lists, according to the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

“We have many excellent public schools in the area,” MacGregor said. “This bill increases educational competition in Michigan while also keeping our best schools on a continuous path to improvement. I studied this issue and listened to my district. At the end of the day, I voted my conscience—my vote was about improving the lives of kids, not maintaining the status quo for school systems.”

Senate Bill 618 received final approval Thursday, Dec. 15 by the Michigan Senate and now heads to Gov. Snyder for approval.

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