common core

Politics & Government
10:45 am
Wed July 17, 2013

State lawmakers begin hearings on Common Core, anger and frustration ensues

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan.
Michigan.gov

Debate is underway in Lansing about whether to implement a set of state school standards.

A state House panel held its first meeting on Common Core State Standards Tuesday.

Republican Representative Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) grilled state Department of Education officials about Common Core. He says the standards take away local control and were developed and adopted without public input.

Meanwhile, state Superintendent State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is urging lawmakers to go forward with a set of nationwide school standards. Flanagan argues that districts would have final say over standards and curriculum.

“Technically, [districts] don’t even have to follow the Common Core,” Flanagan said. “Now, I think they will. It’s a smart...well thought out set of standards.”

Gov. Rick Snyder also supports adopting the Common Core standards.

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Opinion
8:59 am
Wed July 17, 2013

The lunatic fringe opposes Common Core

Lessenberry commentary for 7/17/2013

America always has had strange outliers on the margins of our politics, from half-secret movements like the Know-Nothings to the left-wing crazies of the late 1960s. My eighth grade teacher referred to those on the farther shores of our politics as the “lunatic fringe.”

In more recent times, most of the nuts have been right-wing nuts. When I was young they opposed putting fluoride in the water, seeing that as a Communist plot. Indeed, they saw Communist plots everywhere. The head of the John Birch Society wrote a book claiming that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was an active agent of the Communist conspiracy. Asked about this once in Hillsdale, William F. Buckley Jr., said Eisenhower wasn’t a commie, but a golfer.

Well, classic communism is gone. Nobody talks about fluoride any more. But we still have a conspiracy-haunted fringe, and in Michigan today their latest cause is fighting what are called the Common Core Curriculum learning standards.

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Politics & Government
8:34 am
Wed July 17, 2013

This week in Michigan politics: Common Core, tuition for undocumented students, U.S. farm bill

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

Week in Michigan politics interview for 7/17/2013

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the controversy over the Common Core State Standards, the University of Michigan’s vote on whether to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, and the debate over food stamps and the U.S. farm bill.

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Politics & Government
7:45 am
Wed July 17, 2013

In this morning's news: Common Core hearings, limits on public employee benefits, the Heritage Tower

Morning News Roundup for Wednesday, July 17, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Common Core hearings

A state House panel began a series of hearings about the Common Core State Standards yesterday. Republican Representative Tom McMillin says the standards take away local control and were developed and adopted without public input. Committee Chair Tim Kelly says the panel should make its recommendation on Common Core in September, Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher reports.

Legislation to limit public employee benefits

There’s legislation in Lansing that would allow local ballot drives to cap public employee benefits. Leon Drolet, head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, says the ballot campaigns would act as a safeguard against cozy relationships between public employee unions and local elected officials who bargain with them. Unions say the bill is not necessary because local officials are already accountable to voters, Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports.

Reviving Battle Creek's Heritage Tower

Battle Creek city commissioners voted last night to create a special tax district in hopes of reviving an iconic downtown building. The Heritage Tower is an 82-year-old art deco building and the upper floors of the former bank building have been condemned. Ken Tsuchiyama, Battle Creek’s city manager, fears the building may have to be demolished unless the new owner can revitalize it.

Newsmaker Interview
5:28 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Common Core standards up for debate

State Rep. Amanda Price (R) Park Township

State lawmakers have formed a special bipartisan subcommittee to debate the merits of the Common Core Standards Initiative.  

Last month, the State Legislature blocked the state from implementing the school standards. Lawmakers said they needed more time to review Common Core before letting it take full effect in Michigan. The subcommittee met for the first time today in Lansing. 

Republican State Rep. Amanda Price from Park Township is the vice-chair of the subcommittee and she spoke with All Things Considered Host, Jennifer White. 

Opinion
8:50 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Two plus two isn't five

Lessenberry commentary for 7/11/2013

I have nothing against the Theater of the Absurd. I was taught French years ago by an odd method based on the comedies of Eugene Ionesco, the master of irrational dialogue. But absurdity doesn’t work very well as a guide to life, unless, say, you are an infant, or have only months to live.

Two plus two is, after all four. If you want your children to be successful in life, they generally need to know reading, writing and arithmetic. However, we seem to have a set of leaders, both left and right, who have made careers out of denying reality.

Let’s take education, first of all. The non-partisan, respected Education Trust, Midwest released a report yesterday showing that Michigan students are performing below the national average in every category. That’s worse than thirty-five other states.

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Politics & Government
7:21 am
Mon July 1, 2013

In this morning's news: Common Core debate, Detroit's new police chief, teen unemployment rate

Morning News Roundup for Monday, July 1, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Common Core debate continues in committee

State lawmakers have formed a special committee to debate the merits of the Common Core Standards Initiative. The state Legislature blocked the state from implementing the school standards last month. Lawmakers said they needed more time to review Common Core before letting it take full effect in Michigan.

Detroit's new police chief begins first day on the job

Detroit’s new police chief, James Craig, will report to work for the first time today. Craig, a native Detroiter, returns to the city from Cincinnati where he was named police chief in 2011. Craig said some of his top goals include raising department morale and putting more civilians in positions that had been held by officers.

Teen unemployment rate more than double the state’s overall rate

State labor officials say a quarter of Michigan teens who want a job can’t find one this summer. State and local officials say limits on federal grants intended to promote youth employment are partly to blame. 

“Michael Finney, president of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, says he would like to do more to improve the teen job picture in cities like Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, and Saginaw as a way to reduce crime,” Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
9:47 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Commentary: Struggle for a Party’s Soul

Lessenberry commentary for 6/3/2013

There were, in a way, two conferences taking place among the state’s business and political elite on Mackinac Island last week. One was a celebration of Michigan’s comeback from the darkest days of the great recession, and of the new business-friendly climate flourishing under Governor Rick Snyder.

Make no mistake about it: Richard Dale Snyder is the most business-oriented governor this state has had since World War II. That’s in large part because he is a businessman.

He speaks their language. During his closing remarks, the governor sounded like a motivational speaker sent out to fire up a sluggish sales force.  “What’s the role of government?” he asked, answering, “Government exists to give you great customer service!”

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