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MI House Education Committee discusses district takeover

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-880254.mp3

LANSING, MI –
A state House panel is discussing a plan that would expand the role of a school-reform officer. The position was created in the new "Race To The Top" law, but won't be filled until later this year. That officer will be allowed to take over the curriculums of failing schools.

AUDIO:
The House Education Committee meeting room was packed with parents and administrators from Detroit Public Schools - many of them angry at the prospect of financial manager Robert Bobb being given more control over the district.

But chairman Tim Melton says he only has one question at this stage in the debate.

"Is there ever a time that the academics in the district are so bad that there needs to be some additional oversight?," he asks. "It's a yes or no question."

The president of Detroit's school board said "no."

Melton told the crowd that the measure is only in the discussion phase. And he reiterated that no bill would attack any one city. He said many districts throughout the state are in bad shape, and not just in Detroit.

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