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Talking about Common Core, Detroit extra pension paychecks, adoption refusal bill

David Defoe

Each week, I review the news with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

Today we discussed Common Core education standards, new details about some practices that led to Detroit's financial crisis, and legislation to refuse adoptions based on religious reasons.

House reinstates funding for Common Core

The state House has approved reinstating funding to implement the Common Core school standards in Michigan. It was a bipartisan vote. It now goes to the state Senate.

Lessenberry explains what the Common Core is.

“They’re not prescribed curriculum, they don’t say everyone has to learn the same thing at once,” Lessenberry says. “The idea is that if you move in the course of your childhood education from Michigan to Colorado or vice versa, you would save sort of a common set or idea of what people should be learning in school.”

Detroit 13th pension paychecks helped lead to bankruptcy

A report in the New York Times this week says Detroit’s municipal pension fund paid bonuses and supplements for decades to retirees and active workers and others above and beyond normal benefits. The report says this happened for decades and helped push the city into bankruptcy.

Lessenberry says this was a result of a lack of due diligence by many parties.  Many organizations and individuals did not address what Lessenberry calls the “infamous 13th paycheck” or extra pension paycheck.

“This was not the thing that drove Detroit into bankruptcy by itself, but it’s one of many steps on that very slippery slope,” Lessenberry says.

Bill would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse placements on religious grounds

A state House committee has approved legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to handle placements for religious reasons.

Lessenberry says this bill has a good chance of passing.

“A lot of people are very upset about that. They’re upset because it would prevent in some cases special needs children in some cases being adopted by same sex households.”

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