U-Roundup: New bill proposed to make teaching career cheaper, Prop 2 resurfaces, profs team up to correct racism in new book


Legislation could make teaching path easier

Bills recently introduced in Michigan's state legislature could make the path to a teaching career easier and cheaper for many students, the Grand Valley Lanthorn reported.

House Bills 5393, 4645, 5013 and 5241 are currently being discussed by the Committee of Education in the legislature and would amend a 1976 law that defines the guidelines for Michigan elementary and secondary schools if passed.

HB 5241 would allow students to pursue "teachable majors," rather than only those determined to directly correlate with teaching. These majors would include subjects such as biology, history, music, physical eduation, visual arts and several languages.

HB 4645 would eliminate the extra 18 credits necessary to receive the Professional Teaching Certificate, allowing students to just have their original teaching certificate to teach in Michigan.

Eliminating contining education for teachers is the purpose of HB 5013, which would help students who cannot pursue teaching because of financial restraints or previous student loans.

“… Studies have been mixed at best as to whether the continuing education really improves teacher effectiveness in the classroom,” said Lindsay Vogelsberg, legislative aide to State Rep. Bob Genetski.

Prop. 2 reexamined for constitutionality

Michigan legislators have brought Prop. 2, known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, back into consideration to discuss the constitutionality of the law, the Grand Valley Lanthorn reports.

MCRI initially passed and took effect in 2006, making it law that no public university or college may "discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."

Lynn Blue, vice provost and dean of Academic Services and Information Technology at Grand Valley State University, said university-funded scholarships and programs targeted specifically at students of a minority group were what was affected most under the law.

“They were evaluated, modified to be more inclusive or eliminated," Blue told the Lanthorn.

The law has faced much opposition, with the University of Michigan among the most vocal, as it has been seen to undermine actions meant to create a diverse learning environment at universities and colleges throughout the state.

CMU, MSU professors team up to correct racism in new book

Racism is far from gone in today's society, as many would like to deny its continued existence, two Michigan professors argue.

Eric Freedman, associate dean of international studies and programs and journalism professor at Michigan State University, and Stephen Jones, history professor at Central Michigan University, have recently released their second book together to address the issue, the State News reports.

The book, “Presidents and Black America: A Documentary History,” discusses the history of several U.S. presidents and their efforts to address racial barriers and actions to remove them.

“(Jones and I) realized that there were lots of little-known stories to be told,” said Freedman, a 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner and former Detroit News reporter. “Many of the things we teach our children are misleading or are simply incorrect nuances.”

Jones said the first step to correcting racism is to draw from our past.

“We don’t know the complexity of our own history,” Jones said. “If we don’t understand the depth of its roots in our society, how are we expected to resolve it?”

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