A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Recall Retaliation? Senate Pushes Charter School Cap Repeal & 'Union-Unfriendly' Reforms

Analyst: By bankrolling recalls, MEA union bosses 'may have brought a knife to a gunfight'

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Michigan Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair

Michigan would no longer limit the number of charter public schools authorized by state universities, and charter schools authorized by regular school districts would no longer be subject to a union collective bargaining mandate, if a seven-bill package introduced by Republicans in the state Senate yesterday becomes law.

These are just two of the reforms proposed by the “Parent Empowerment Education Reform” package. Among others, the bills would authorize a “parent trigger,” in which a majority of parents or teachers at a particular public school could petition to convert the school to a charter, according to a GOP press release.

Currently, state universities are the largest authorizers of charter schools in Michigan, but the number they can authorize is capped at 150 schools.

Two-thirds of Michigan’s charter schools have waiting lists, said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, chairman of the Senate Education Committee and sponsor of the lead bill in the reform package.

“Parents across Michigan are clamoring for more choices,” said Pavlov in the release.  “Governor Snyder challenged the Legislature to expand the schools of choice program, empower parents and ensure that every student has access to a quality education.  This package is a major step toward meeting those goals and breaking down the barriers standing between our kids and their future.”

Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, notes that the package also would allow regular school districts to contract-out the employment of teachers. Those teachers would still have to meet the same qualifications as regular teachers, he said.

McHugh speculated that the far-reaching reforms may be blow-back for the MEA teachers union’s bankrolling of recall campaigns against a number of Republican lawmakers, who earlier this year voted to trim union powers and privileges.

“It looks like the Senate GOP caucus — which until now has been a firewall against deeper school reforms favored by the House — has decided to come after the recall-happy MEA,” McHugh said in an email. “Assuming the bills don’t get substantially watered down, the union may discover that it’s brought a knife to a gun fight,” he said.

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See also:

GOP Lawmaker Recall: 95 Percent of Reported Spending Thus Far Goes to Lansing-Area Consultants

Who Is Really Trying to Recall a Michigan GOP Lawmaker, and Will They Win?

Teacher Union Recall Target Responds to K-12 Budget Critics

Despite Recall Attempts, School Funding About the Same

Small Biz Advocates: Teacher Union Wrong about “Tax Break for Rich CEOs”

Cop Union Boss Boasts of Beating Lawmakers With Flashlights: If Soldiers Don’t Have Unions, Why Do Police and Teachers?

Teachers Telling Students “Political Talk That Shouldn’t Have Been Said” About Lawmaker Recall

Parent Says Daughter’s Class Cut for Lawmaker Recall Effort

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Star International Academy is the highest ranked high school in Michigan on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Contest and Performance report card for both 2014 and 2012. The study and a database of every school in the state can be found at www.Mackinac.org/CAP.

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