Bills would cut unnecessary red tape for schools

A dozen Senate Republicans, led by Senate Education Committee Chairman Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, introduced legislation this year to reduce red tape for schools.

Senate Bills 754-767 are vitally important because the hundreds of reports that Michigan school districts are mandated to prepare and submit to state and federal entities can be time-consuming and tedious to produce and are often redundant or even obsolete by the submission date.

Education reporting requirements are sprinkled throughout Michigan law, not just in the state’s education code, and these reports are costly, often taking a great deal of staff time and resources.

The bills would eliminate unnecessary and redundant reports and streamline reporting requirements. This will direct valuable school resources toward the classroom — rather than Lansing — and provide educators with more time to focus on student achievement.

Superintendents across the state have applauded the legislation.

“This package of bills will empower schools by eliminating barriers to improving student achievement,” said Warren Consolidated Schools Superintendent Robert D. Livernois. “By eliminating unnecessary and redundant reports, local schools can spend more time helping teachers teach and kids learn.”

The bills are before the Senate Education Committee, which has heard testimony in support of the legislation.

Brad Biladeau, the Michigan Association of School Administrators associate executive for government relations, said that “this is something our members have been concerned about for quite some time. There are more reports than there are school days for school districts. We’ve heard from school districts that have hired or designated individuals whose sole function is to respond to these state and federal reports.”

If passed and signed into law, SBs 754-767 will enable teachers to spend more time and energy doing what they were hired to do: teach their students. And that will improve education throughout Michigan and enrich the lives of all Michiganders.

The Importance and Impact of Career and Technical Education in Michigan

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month is about raising public awareness on the crucial role that CTE programs have in preparing our students for success.

With much of the U.S. economy evolving to a new era of advanced technologies, CTE programs have become essential to the economic success of future generations. In fact, eight out of 10 of the nation’s most sought after employees are ones with degrees related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Senate Republicans have continually focused on legislation that promotes STEM education in Michigan. Available STEM-related jobs continue to increase — illustrating the importance CTE programs will have in our educational system in the decades to come. Since 2010, the growth rate of STEM employment in Michigan has outpaced the growth seen in all other occupational employment, and this trend is expected to continue through 2020.

Studies have shown a correlation between CTE participants and a higher probability of receiving some form of education beyond high school. In fact, of all the 2012 Michigan high school graduates who participated in one or more CTE programs, 76.4 percent have continued on with their education beyond high school.

Senate Republicans have recognized the importance of both CTE and STEM education, which have an immediate and positive impact on those students who choose to participate in them, and we will continue to focus on legislation encouraging these programs.

Building off Public Acts 208 and 209 of 2014 — which grant students more ample opportunities to participate in CTE programs by expanding upon “cross-walking” credits and revising some of the high school graduation requirements — Senate Republicans have been hard at work to give Michigan students an edge being successful in their future careers.

Led by Sens. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, and Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, the Senate Republicans have passed several bills this past year including Senate Bill 491, which would make it easier for professionals with expertise in certain fields to become effective classroom teachers, and SBs 169 and 170 that would allow students to receive a STEM certification on their high school diplomas to showcase to universities and businesses their accomplishments and capabilities.

For more information about CTE and what it can mean for you or your children, please visit www.acteonline.org to learn more.

Pavlov hosts summer reading contest winners at Michigan Capitol

I was delighted this week to host the winners of my 2015 “Be a Senator For a Day” summer reading contest at the Michigan Capitol.

Thirteen students from Huron, Macomb, Sanilac and St. Clair counties traveled to Lansing with their parents to participate in a mock swearing-in ceremony and committee hearing and a guided Capitol tour.

This year’s contest was held throughout the summer and was open to all first- through fifth-grade students who completed their local public library’s summer reading program.

I appreciate the participation from the nearly 300 competition entries my office received. It’s terrific to see so many young people excited about reading! We randomly selected the winners from each participating library.

Research has shown that children who develop a love for reading do better in school and are more successful later in life. Our local libraries are helping instill this appreciation for reading through their summer reading programs.

After taking their “oaths of office” in the Senate chamber and a tour of Michigan’s historic, 137-year-old Capitol, the “junior senators” vigorously debated the merits of a hypothetical bill to require uniforms in Michigan’s public schools in a mock committee hearing that I chaired. Ultimately, they voted 5-8 against passing the “bill.”

The 2015 contest winners are:
• Jillian Bussone, fourth grade, home school
• Avery Cutcher, fifth grade, Brown City Elementary
• Jack Davis, fourth grade, Krause Elementary
• Nathan Flanagan, fourth grade, Sandusky Elementary
• Troy Livingston, fifth grade, Croswell-Lexington Schools
• Evan Martin, fourth grade, Palms Elementary
• Lane Morris, fourth grade, Yale Elementary
• Gabrielle Nelson, fifth grade, Kimball
• Ava Norman, fifth grade, home school
• Raven Peplinski, third grade, Bad Axe Elementary
• Isaac Powell, fifth grade, home school
• Hallie Smith, fifth grade, home school
• Kya Vettraino, fifth grade, Palms Elementary
• Kyle Wetter, fifth grade, Capac Elementary
• Austin Wilson, fourth grade, Belle River Elementary
• Maria Zyjewski, fifth grade, Eddy Academy

Congratulations to all these students! I look forward to hosting more fine young readers again next year.

Sen. Phil Pavlov stands in the Senate chamber with some of the winners of the 2015 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest as they take the “oath of office.”

Sen. Phil Pavlov stands in the Senate chamber with some of the winners of the 2015 Be a Senator For a Day summer reading contest as they take the “oath of office.”