The Democrats won the Governorship in Michigan, so the lame-duck Legislature is hustling to assert control over the state’s education system.

GOP free-market policies have severely damaged education. The state’s NAEP standing has plummeted over the past decade. But they can’t let go. The DeVos Republicans want to stay in power after losing the election.

“Republicans are working to rein in power over Michigan’s public schools from an incoming Democrat governor and before a Democrat majority is seated on the State Board of Education.

“Bills now being considered in the Michigan House of Representatives during the frantic lame-duck legislative session would create a commission largely appointed by Republicans that would have broad authority over schools. In essence, it would serve as a shadow State Board of Education that would not be accountable to the incoming governor, the elected State Board of Education or the state Department of Education.

“And, apparently, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is all in on stacking the commission with his appointees before his Democratic successor takes office.

“The bills have flown under the radar in Lansing, with much of the media attention focused on Republican bills aimed at gutting minimum wage and paid sick leave laws and diluting the authority of incoming Democrats Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State-elect Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel.

“If passed, the new commission would almost certainly have a huge impact on K-12 education in Michigan ‒ from which schools are closed, to which would get extra money and how much classroom instruction students receive.

“These bills basically strip the next governor of the ability to reform education,” said a person intimately involved in negotiations over the bills who asked not to be identified because he works with both parties. “That’s why we’re jumping up and down over this. It’s such a complete power steal from Whitmer that no one should be participating in this.”

“The sponsor of the bills, term-limited Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, doesn’t shy away from the power-grabbing implications of the legislation. Michigan schools are flailing, as measured by standardized tests, and the State Board of Education and the Department of Education haven’t succeeded in turning the state’s K-12 system around.”