Michigan to Give Money to Early High School Graduates

Will new strategy energize students to perform?

Michigan lawmakers are taking a radical approach to reforming education in the state.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a hefty piece of legislation that will allow Michigan high school students to attend the school of their choice — should they be accepted — and enroll in online classes as well. If a student participates successfully in the program and graduates early from high school he or she could earn up to $10,000 in scholarship money to go to the college of their choosing.

Michigan students are among those at peril in today’s education system, so this program is designed to incentivize students to finish school and matriculate through higher education. The Detroit Free Press received a copy of the 302-page proposal in advance of its release and it details what students can receive. Students can attend any school in the district and will receive $2,500 for each semester they complete early. Districts, also, will be encouraged to hold year-round school to help students meet this goal.

The changes will amend the Michigan Public Education Finance Law passed in 1979. Snyder’s aim is to let students learn “any time, any place, anywhere,” according to reporting by the Associated Press.

The changes could take five years to implement and would result in shifts in education money but wouldn’t require additional funds, according to the report.

The plan isn’t without its detractors, a chorus of nay-sayers sing loudly in Michigan and feel that the plan feeds into the entitlement narrative that rang strong in the election season.

“This is a voucher system,” said John Austin, president of the Michigan State Board of Education in the AP’s report. “It’s absolutely destructive. It has nothing to do with improving quality. It’s loaded with the ideology of creating a new for-profit system for learning that will dismantle the schools we have.”

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