State House Republicans want to eliminate the Michigan Board of Education, which has been under fire for a proposed policy that provides voluntary guidance to schools on how to address the needs of LGBTQ students.
Democrats on the elected eight-member state board have a 6-2 majority.
The resolution also would eliminate the state superintendent, who is appointed by the state board.
The resolution was introduced Tuesday by 31 Republican members of the House, with Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, the lead sponsor. Kelly couldn't immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
Instead of a board, the resolution calls for the governor to appoint a director of a state Department of Education.
"The director shall be the principal executive officer of the state Department of Education, which shall have powers and duties provided by law," it says.
John Austin, president of the state board, said there have been previous attempts to eliminate the board. But he said it would take a constitutional amendment for it to happen, something he says would be difficult to achieve.
"There are good reasons to have a strong, independent board that is responsive to the people of Michigan when the topic is education," said Austin, D-Ann Arbor.
"This is all part of partisan efforts to politicize education decision making," Austin said.
In 1996, then Republican Gov. John Engler signed two executive orders that removed much of the board's power and shifted it to the state superintendent. This came after an election that saw the board shift from a Republican majority of 6-2 to a 4-4 split.
By: Lori Higgins
Source: Detroit Free Press