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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2007 House Bill 5323: Transfer special education authority to state State Board of Education
  1. Introduced by Rep. Fred Miller (D) on October 17, 2007, to transfer authority over special education rules from the state superintendent of instruction to the state State Board of Education. The authority was transferred from the department to the superintendent in a 1996 gubernatorial executive order.
    • Referred to the House Education Committee on October 17, 2007.
      • Reported in the House on June 3, 2008, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-2) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the House on June 10, 2008, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that revises details but does not change the substance of the bill as previously described. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on June 10, 2008.
  2. Passed 88 to 20 in the House on June 10, 2008.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on June 12, 2008.
    • Referred to the Senate Education Committee on June 12, 2008.


parent of spec. ed child and spec. ed teacher replies  by Anonymous Citizen on July 2, 2008 
I didn't really think it was a big deal that I was asked to take the elementary MTTC to be qualified in all subjects for middle school and secondary level, until just recently. Now I have a definite opinion.

I was asked to take a position as a special education teacher to co-teach in science at the high school last year. Due to lay offs this would save someone a job, so I went feeling I could tackle anything. I was quickly astonished at the grade level content expected in the Astronomy/Meteorology, Biology, Physical Sci. I, Physical Sci II classes I was asked to teach. I was trying to support the kids as I was barely staying one step ahead. A literature position opened up in the middle of the school year and I jumped at the possibility to teach it. I'm highly qualified in English, but clearly not science at the high school level.

A few days ago I was told the district wanted me to go back and teach science to the high school special education students who are primarily Learning Disabled, average intelligence. They said that I was the only one highly qualified because I hold a curriculum masters. I'm trying to convince them I am not. My son is a bright boy who happens to have a learning disability. The thought that he would someday have to take the Michigan Merit after getting science instruction from me, convinced me there is a reason to find teachers who have equivalent core knowledge to other content teachers. If I hadn't been in the science class, I may have assumed that I could do it. I'm just hoping I'm not forced to go somewhere I'm not qualified. What will happen to me in two years when they say, "You are a rotten teacher in science." Or even worse, will they care? Anonymous citizen

"no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on June 13, 2008 
Rep. Palmer, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

“Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

When something is broken, it is time to fix it. The problem of who has the final say over rules for special education children is one that has been debated for years. In the minds of many, having this authority rest in the hands of the State Board of Education was considered to be not the best outcome. Today, we voted on a bill to change back to a system previously determined to be ineffective. If a change needs to be made, it should be a change that best reflects the needs of the students. We have a responsibility to provide services and education for all Michigan children, regardless of their ability, and to provide the best service we can, and reverting to a process that has been unsuccessful in the past doesn’t seem to be the way to move forward. The key issue is accountability to the citizens, and in this case particularly parents. Since the Superintendent of education is directly responsible to the State Board of education, this legislation does not necessarily accomplish that.”

"no vote explanation"  by Admin003 on June 13, 2008 
Rep. Caswell, having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:

“Mr. Speaker and members of the House:

While I do not disagree with the premise of more open rule making for our special education students, I do not believe this bill will do it. More changes need to be made so that not only will the process be open but that the process will also effectively address the needs of these students. I would gladly support such changes.”

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