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Peri’s Public Policy Bulletin: April 16

Peri Weisberg
Public Policy Associate
United Way for Southeastern Michigan

The past two weeks have seen a variety of changes in state and local education policy, as Detroit Public Schools unveiled a new strategy for school governance and operations. At the federal level, legislators unveiled competing proposals to reform the nation’s workforce investment strategies. The full update includes links to further information about these and other developments.

Also in the update are news about changes to state public assistance programs, an assessment of state policies to promote financial literacy, new research on education interventions, and a study on the poverty-fighting role of the federal food stamp program. Click here to read the whole thing.

Policy makers in the state legislature and Congress have been on a break for the past two weeks. When they return, we can expect them to pick up work on government budgets for the next fiscal year.

Don’t have time to read the whole update right now? Here are some highlights:

Roy RobertsEducation

  • DPS reforms: Emergency Manager Roy Roberts announced reforms to Detroit Public Schools (DPS) to take place next year. Ten schools in the districts will be granted unprecedented autonomy over budget, curriculum, and staffing. These schools will operate under a five-person governing council. 15 schools will join the statewide Educational Achievement Authority. Read commentary on this reform from United Way’s Mike Tenbusch. In addition, there will be more support services in schools, and students assessments will be standardized across the city. Self-governing schools and charter schools will be able to contract for services like food service and maintenance for a fee.

Income

  • Workforce Investment Act (WIA): U.S. House Democrats introduced a proposal to reauthorize WIA. The co-sponsors of the bill include Michigan Reps. John Conyers and Dan Kildee. House Republicans have proposed three WIA reform measures in the past, which they re-introduced as a single bill. The New York Times reported on how the reduction in WIA funding has made it hard for businesses to employ qualified workers as the economy picks up. 

Basic Needs

  • SNAP and poverty reduction: A new study by the USDA found that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, was a key agent in keeping families from experiencing poverty in the recession. The USDA estimates that SNAP reduced the poverty rate by 8 percent, and had the greatest impact on families with children. Read about it in The New York Times.

Click here to download the full recap of recent public policy developments.