Guest column: New thinking needed on schools

By Peter B. Ruddell/Wiener Associates 

The recent series of articles and the report “The Public’s Agenda for Public Education” confirm the policy direction being advanced by the Michigan Public Education Finance Project (“the Project”). Contrary to simplistic analysis portrayed in the article “Online ed expansion, school choice plan murky in 2013”, the Project has far greater policy concerns.

Additional choice and online learning options are just a couple of tactics to a new, fresh approach to school funding that the Center for Michigan research shows parents are looking for. Our project team has been working since July 2012 to draft legislation accomplishing two primary goals, as outlined by Gov. Rick Snyder’s Special Message on Education, issued April 27, 2011:

* Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace public education system -- i.e. or ensuring each student is learning in the manner that best fits that particular student.

Peter B. Ruddell is an attorney with Wiener Associates, PLC. He is the principal drafter of the proposed Michigan Public Education Finance Act.

* Performance-based funding public education system -- i.e. bringing more accountability to K-12 funding.

Obviously, within each of these major topic areas are countless public policy and education policy issues.

The most frequent comments in numerous categories of the Center for Michigan’s report reinforce the public’s desire to enact these two policy changes:

* “Adapt teaching to individual student needs” – top comment in “Areas in need of More Investment.”

* “More accountability and efficiency in K-12 funding is needed” – top comment in “Areas in need of Financial Reform” and top comment among all topics.

* “Get creative; more teaching models; curriculum choices, individualized learning and critical think” – top comment in “Regarding Student Learning.”

It is clear from the Center for Michigan’s report and the numerous conversations I personally had with school administrators, teachers, parents, work force development agencies, businesses and others, there is a growing desire to improve our public education system by instilling more personalized education for each student and to create greater accountability for the nearly $14 billion of taxpayer funds supporting Michigan’s public education system. The unresolved question is the best public policy for Michigan in accomplishing these goals.

In the coming weeks, we will be releasing the final report and bill draft of the proposed Michigan Public Education Finance Act. This will be a thoughtful and diligent attempt to provide the public answers to the best public policy changes necessary to personalize education and bring greater accountability to the K-12 funding system.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission.

If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Monica WilliamsClick here for details and submission guidelines.

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Mon, 01/28/2013 - 8:25pm
As part of the School Aid Act reform, what is the State doing to deregulate the policies that are placed on the public school system? As a business owner and public school board member, I am appauled by the amount of constraints that are being place on the public schools by the State. If the State wants more accountibliity and effeciency by the schools, and I do agree, then they need to release the burdens that they are placing on the public school sytems. Reform is two sided. "Don't expect from others what you cannot expect from yourself"
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 10:22am
Mr. Rudell, it is imperative that you respect and take seriously this fine report of "The Public's Agenda for Public Education,". A cross section of Michigan citizens gave their ideas, thoughts,and suggestions for improving/reforming our Michigan schools. This report is sensible and gives numerous recommendations that would benefit all Michgian students. The media has done an outstanding job of informing citizens; it would be practical and beneficial to your task for the Governor to dialogue with The Center for Michigan to incorporate the findings into constructive educational policy for Michigan students. Please remember you are working for Michigan citizens.
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 2:42pm
IT IS CALLED HOMESCHOOLING ....How much did Mr.Rudell an Attorny get payed..?nry
Tue, 01/29/2013 - 2:46pm
AS long as the STATE wants ALL the Children to passe each year, so the school can get there money..the program are just took and a wist of taxpayer the school so grandma/dad can visit each day and listen, so we can kown whatis being may languages classes are being tod in 3-7 grade. HOW many children have after class "on the Job" training fro 13-18 years old.?
Ron Lemke
Sun, 02/03/2013 - 10:46am
To think that ALL high school graduates need Chemistry.or Physics, 4 years of Algebra, Geometry,Algebra2, and beyond,and two years of foreign language, is absolutely INSANE. We need more CTE. Trades, Apprenticeship training, for many of our students. This new sat of requirements is a train wreck in progress.