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Posted on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Rutledge hopes new workgroup will help equal playing field for charter schools and traditional public schools

By Ryan J. Stanton

State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, has been appointed to a new state panel established by the recently enacted charter schools expansion legislation.

Rutledge is one of two Democratic legislators on the eight-member Workgroup on School Quality, a bicameral body that will convene in January.

David_Rutledge_ headshot_2010.jpg

David Rutledge

The workgroup must report its recommendations by March 30 to the Senate and House education committees on measures to be taken to improve educational quality in all public schools.

Rutledge said it's his hope that the workgroup will move Michigan toward a more equal playing field for both charter schools and traditional public schools.

"I had some major concerns about the charter expansion bill that came before the House this fall," Rutledge said in a statement. "I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of a larger solution to our state's public education system."

The new Workgroup on School Quality was required by Public Act 277 of 2011, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law earlier this week.

Members were appointed by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, and House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall.

Other appointees include Reps. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton; Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake; and Ken Yonker, R-Caledonia; and Sens. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale; Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton; Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor; and Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair, who will serve as chair.

Rutledge proposed a number of amendments to the legislation, Senate Bill 618, when it came before the House Education Committee and on the House floor.

He ultimately voted against it. Among his amendments were changes that would have prohibited for-profit companies from running charter schools using public dollars, and limiting charters from opening in high-performing districts.

"When Speaker Bolger asked me to consider serving on the workgroup, I was eager to accept," Rutledge said. "There is nothing more vital to Michigan's long-term success than public education, and I am committed to doing everything in my power to protect our state's precious school system."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

As someone who was trapped in a rotten government monopoly school and forbidden to transfer to much less dysfunctional neighboring schools, I strongly support school choice. School choice shouldn't only be for the wealthy.

Lac Court Orilles

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

What's the motivation for lifting the cap on charter school expansion? It's so Republicans can get their dirty hands on that big pile of money in the education fund. If they make a profit off taxpayer money, they should give it back instead of putting it into their pockets. I feel sorry for the children who will attend Republican "for profit" charter schools. I am absolutely positive that dishonest Republicans will create as many more new ways of charging children held captive there additional fees for their education. My Christmas wish is that middle class people wake up and realize that the Republican Party isn't there to represent them like the Republicans would like them to believe. As for me, I am not a defender of the wealthy anymore... Merry Christmas


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

Lac Court Orilles - If you had children in Detroit Public Schools or other of the other disfunctional school districts, you might feel very differently.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

There is a great documentary out called "Waiting for Superman." It is very informative about the subject of the public school system and charters. It is worth watching.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

And biased too.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 2:07 a.m.

My hope is in this group. May they come up with quality standards that apply to ALL schools in the state that receive state funds of any sort. Quality education is important. Standards to measure against and metrics are important. The committee should take a deep look at what makes a quality school and build metrics that support these areas.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

Jeff Gaynor - No one can make everyone perform above average - the average moves and we both know it. :-} Scott - There are a lot of things missing in our schools, including in some subject - useful materials to teach. But metrics for all schools would be a good start. Say require that all students (on average) make a year's progress in a school year. Some will do better and some worse - but a year for a year would help. Then there is the Governor Granholm era decision to make people feel good about their schools by making the "proficiency" bar so low on the MEAPs. Instead of helping schools light a fire under learning they gave us a decade of complacency.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Man you sure nailed it, standards. In fact I can't think of a single problem with schools except for lacking standards.....maybe you should be the governor with all of your smarts!

Jeff Gaynor

Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Your comment sounds reasonable on the surface, but when politicians come up with items such as "All students will perform above average" I have my doubts. And all that which is measurable isn't necessarily worthwhile.


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 11:27 p.m.

I just love this kind of BI-PARTISANSHIP. Now they can get something done and everybody is represented!


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.



Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

When one party outnumbers the other party by a 3:1 ratio, that's not true bipartisanship. I would have been more impressed if the numbers from both party were equal.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

It looks like there will be 6 republicans and 2 democrats in this group. Unless violence is planned, I fail to see how two people can sabotage the work of 6 others. Six of eight sounds like 75% to me. I suspect that the two dems hope to bring a bit of reason to this group. I hope they can, but I looked at the list of names, and all I can say is, Good luck to both of you! You will need it!


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

He will try to sabotage the Charter School process.

Linda Peck

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

I don't understand why Mr Rutledge has an appointment to a committee to enact charter schools expansion when he appears to be opposed to charter schools and voted against the legislation approving the expansion of charter schools.


Sat, Dec 24, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

I don't understand how you can't understand this.....


Fri, Dec 23, 2011 : 11:13 p.m.

It's that pesky democracy again.