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“Common Core” Curriculum Repeal Advances to Full Senate

The state Senate Education Committee has reported-out Senate Bill 826 to replace the “Common Core” curriculum in Michigan public schools with a model based on the one used by Massachusetts before Common Core was adopted there. Supporters say the Massachusetts curriculum is unique for having empirical evidence of effectiveness.

Common Core has been highly controversial in Michigan and elsewhere. It was adopted here by the state Board of Education, a move that was later grudgingly approved by the Legislature, which added conditions that the state’s statewide testing regime not be based on the model.
The legislation could be taken up by the full Senate at any time, at the discretion of the Senate Majority Leader.

Yoga schools get special treatment

Regulation for Thee but Not Me?

Michigan imposes a licensure mandate on trade schools that subjects them to regulation, fees, government inspections, reporting requirements and more. This week the state Senate passed a bill to exempt a particular kind of trade school from the mandate.

According to an analysis prepared by the House Fiscal Agency, part of the rationale for the bills was, “the regulations reportedly have created a business environment that deters many…from offering or expanding instruction programs.”

Operators of other trade schools may be wondering why, if the law is considered a deterrent to business, the bill didn’t repeal the licensure mandate for all trade schools.

The law covers what are called “proprietary schools,” and give classes in subjects that include boat building, massage therapy and others. The schools that got the special exemption through the Senate are yoga instructors.

North Carolina, Justice Dept. file dueling lawsuits over transgender rights

The Obama Administration has told North Carolina that its legislation regarding transgender bathroom access is discriminatory, and that if the state enforces it that is a violation of federal law. North Carolina disagrees, and has filed suit against the federal government. Is this an issue where the federal government should step in and stop the state?

Michigan Welfare Rolls Down, Job Rolls Up

Welfare rolls are declining in Michigan, with different explanations for why. According to the statewide news site Mlive, there are 216,173 fewer people collecting welfare in Michigan than in 2011. Of these, 32,090 have been thrown off the rolls by 2011 law that removed loopholes from how long a person could collect cash benefits. Other bills in that same package tightened up procedures such reducing exceptions to welfare work-or-study requirements, cross-checking arrest warrant and criminal record databases for people who apply for food stamps and other benefits acquired by having a state “Bridge Card,” and more.

But Mlive also acknowledges (barely) the impact of a growing Michigan economy, for which the figures are even more striking. According to the Mackinac Center’s James Hohman, Michigan’s February unemployment rate of 4.8 percent was below the national rate of 4.9 percent for only the second time since the year 2000. (The first time was last July.) The total number of Michigan residents working in non-farm jobs was 4.3 million as of January, up from 3.8 million in 2010.

That means the increase in the number of people working is twice the number of those who are no longer collecting welfare. The figures give credence to old political line “the best welfare program is a job.”

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