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Michigan Legislature

State payments on retirement debt freed up $670 million that is helping fund many of Whitmer’s education initiatives.

n Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee began hearing testimony from students, parents, and teachers who want more structured phonic literacy instruction for all public school students.

The governor also said she plans to include free breakfasts and lunches in her budget proposal, extending what was offered this year.

Supporters say it will help more teens see college as an option. But skeptics say it might create another barrier.

Bills awaiting action in the Senate would help improve record-keeping and enforce educational standards.

Elections, school funding, a new state department, and other issues that will define education this year.

The year’s big stories included victories for the Democratic education agenda, a groundbreaking school aid budget, and a fiscal reckoning in Detroit.

The new majority enacted record funding for public K-12 schools and reversed GOP initiatives on reading, testing, and collective bargaining rights. Critics say they undermined accountability.

Members of the board said they felt the resolution needed more research and input from officials.

“The students would get more attention,” said a Benton Harbor fifth grader.

Democrats in the Legislature respond to calls for more transparency on how charter schools spend public money.

Districts would have more power, and test scores would not be a factor.

Some advocates call for a larger overhaul of the system for determining who is eligible for special education.

State funding helped expand the rolls of social workers, counselors, nurses, and psychologists serving students.

Lawmakers advanced a proposal that would let retirees take public school jobs immediately without giving up their pensions.

Governor’s executive order specifies that MiLEAP is not intended to infringe on the State Board of Education’s constitutional authority, so Nessel says it’s better to wait and see whether conflicts arise.

The board wants clarification on whether MiLEAP would challenge its authority to oversee all public education.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer described the bills signed Wednesday as an effort to help recruit and retain teachers.

MiLEAP will tackle early childhood education, after-school programs, and partnerships to promote career success