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Senate panel begins approving education reform package

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

Lansing, MI – A state Senate panel has approved a measure that would allow school districts to hire teachers through private companies. That could be a way for districts to get around bargaining with unions. The proposal would also eliminate the cap on university-sponsored charter schools.

Vicki Markavitch with the Oakland public school system told lawmakers they are opening up the floodgates to potentially harmful changes to K-12 education.

"I know that you are moving quickly because that's the pace that's been set for you, and I know it's hard to do your homework when you've been moving so quickly," she said. "But I also know something about living in dog years. Living in dog years results in a short life, not necessarily a better one."

The measure was approved along party lines. The panel is expected to vote soon on a bill that would require schools to open their doors to students from outside of the district.

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