LANSING–A U-M “Fab Five” legend and the top school official in Indiana both testified Wednesday before a state Senate panel in support of recently introduced education reforms, said Sen. Phil Pavlov, lead sponsor of the bills.
Former Michigan basketball star and NBA player Jalen Rose and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett spoke before the Michigan Senate Education Committee in favor of Senate Bills 618 – 624, known as the Parent Empowerment Education Reform measures.
The comprehensive set of proposals would lift the arbitrary cap on charter schools and enable parents anywhere in Michigan to pursue the education choices that work best for their children.
“If I grow up in a district where there’s an underperforming school, and that’s acknowledged, I should have the opportunity to go to a school in another district that’s performing well. That’s just common sense,” said Rose, who recently founded the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a charter high school on the northwest side of Detroit.
“Every parent wants better for their kids than they had for themselves,” he said. “We all do. And that’s what school choice and parental empowerment is all about.”
Pavlov, chair of the Education Committee, said that two-thirds of the state’s charter schools, mostly in urban districts like Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit, have waiting lists as parents demand more educational choices and better results.
“In our adult discussions on education, we must not lose sight of what is best for our children,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Jalen Rose is committed to providing educational opportunities for young people in Detroit. I’m grateful for his work, and I’m delighted he supports our vision in the Senate of freeing parents to pursue the opportunities that work best for their children and giving schools the freedom they need to innovate and excel.”
Bennett spoke about Indiana’s reform initiatives of the last year and his goal of making Indiana K-12 education the best in the United States.
“There is no question education reform is on the tip of the tongues of just about every policymaker across the nation, and it’s about time,” Bennett said. “We believe in a very simple formula that competition, freedom, and accountability drive education reform.”
Pavlov thanked Bennett and Rose for their support.
“These gentlemen have dedicated themselves to providing the best education possible for our youth,” Pavlov said. “This package of bills is a major step forward in meeting that goal and breaking down the barriers standing between our kids and their future.”
Photo cutline: Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett, left, and Jalen Rose, founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in northwest Detroit, address the Michigan Senate Education Committee in support of education reform.
Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Pavlov photos, click the image or visit SenatorPhilPavlov.com and click the Photowire link.