Snyder and teachers unions agree on at least one thing: Year-round schooling

file2031249322959Teachers unions say they liked at least one thing Governor Rick Snyder said during his State of the State address Thursday night. The governor called for state incentives to encourage school districts to go year-round.

Under the plan, schools that volunteer would still have the same number of vacation days. They would just be spread out more throughout the year.

“Let’s try it!” said American Federation of Teachers of Michigan President David Hecker.

“I mean, the research is clear – and common sense tells you even without the research, right? – you have two-and-a-half months off, you’re going to lose things, right? There’s going to be catch-up in September to get to where you were in June,” he said.

But Hecker says districts should consult teachers first before they get rid of traditional summer vacation.

“A lot of times during the summer is when teachers go to get continuing education credits, time off to regroup, time off to have concentrated time to really work on lesson plans for the future,” he said.

Governor Snyder is expected to talk more about the plan – and what kind of incentives might be involved – during his state budget message next month.

Governor sparks discussion about student truancy in State of the State
By Jake Neher

Michigan school groups are weighing Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal to help reduce the number of students who regularly miss school. In his State of the State speech Thursday night, the governor called for a state-wide definition of truancy.

He says it’s hard to address the problem when each school district has different standards for what that means.

Officials with the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), say a state-wide standard for truancy would be useful.

“But I also think we need to take into consideration what the determining factors and criteria are at the local level so that we allow our districts and our communities to still have some local control over those decisions,” said MEA spokesperson Nancy Knight.

State officials say they’re working with local schools to come up with an acceptable standard for truancy. It would need to be approved by the state Legislature.

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