Monday, February 15, 2010

Saving Our State

In Michigan, Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm has proposed a statewide early retirement incentive for teachers.  Unlike the cash buyouts that individual school districts have offered eligible teachers over the years, the proposal changes how an individual teacher's pension is calculated.  This is significant as it is a permanent raise in the pension amount that lasts the life-time of the pensioner.  The buyouts offered by school districts, such as the $45,000 payout offered Port Huron teachers the year after I retired, only temporarily supplement retirement incomes and have no impact on the amount of one's pension.

The early retirement incentive proposal for educators is meant to help the State of Michigan save money.  In Utah, state Senator Chris Buttars has proposed filling the gap in Utah's funding of public schools by eliminating the 12th grade of school.  That's an interesting idea coming on the heals of the Federal government's cash incentives offered to the States for various school "reforms", including increasing the age of mandatory school attendance.  Utah, like the State of Michigan, already has programs in place for academically advanced students to graduate high school sooner and enter college.  It seems to me that state Senator Buttars's proposal is a bit extreme and runs counter to any efforts to maintain or create a world-class school system.

Any other ideas?

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