Michigan’s Rick Snyder has his sites set on Michigan’s ramshackle educational system. Goodness, there is enough work to be done, much of it the legacy of Prop A.
The big news how ever is the timing:
“I’d say in the next year or two I’d actually like to say ‘Let’s step back, let’s look at the broad picture, the formula,'” he said.
Now there is a practical reason to taking this step — the system is certainly complex enough to warrant such a step. Then again, for an unusually active administration, one that has radically overhauled Michigan’s tax code, this appeal to “modesty” seems a touch less persuasive. This is not a modest administration.
By his proposed timing, the Governor admits that an incoming Legislature will be better suited for the task. The current legislative team cannot handle this task — something that Democrats have long held. Snyder’s timing for reform is not only an implicit rejection of the present austerity-minded, Tea Party madness of Lansing, he practically asks that it be the core issue of the coming election.
For education advocates this is a gift. The question that can now be asked of every candidate, D or R, is whether they support the Governor’s upcoming reforms. By making education reform the big project for the next legislature, Snyder opens the door for a significant conversation.
Of course there is political risk here. After all, those in safe districts may still be elected on the old Tea Party ways and so have no stake in the Reform outcome (see the DRIC mess). More subtly, by advocating reform but not specifying it, the educational community may have an opportunity to lay down markers to further restrict his options. A more education-focused Legislature is not any more likely to take the Governor’s lead on reform; they will bring ideas of their own.
For now, let’s call the Governor’s appeal for what it is: Michigan needs a new Legislature if it is to reform its schools.