This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the controversy over the Common Core State Standards, the University of Michigan’s vote on whether to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students, and the debate over food stamps and the U.S. farm bill.
Hearings on Common Core Standards begin
Hearings began yesterday on the Common Core State Standards. Those are the national recommendations that require more reading and math in schools. The hearings come after legislators included a provision in the new state budget prohibiting the Department of Education from spending any money to implement the standards without prior legislative approval. Lessenberry says the opposition is mainly coming from Tea Party conservatives. Business leaders and other Republicans, Governor Rick Snyder and former Governor John Engler, support the standards and say they are necessary for ensuring Michigan students remain competitive in the workforce.
University of Michigan considers tuition for undocumented students
The University of Michigan is voting tomorrow on whether to offer in-state tuition to undocumented students who grew up in Michigan. Many of these students were brought here as small children and have grown up in Michigan, but the high rate of out-of-state tuition makes it difficult for them to attend the university. Around 15 other universities around the country have allowed undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, and Lessenberry says the University of Michigan is likely to do the same.
Farm bill debate focused on food stamps
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow is urging lawmakers to get a House version of the farm bill passed, but debates over cuts to the food stamp program have delayed the process. The current farm bill expires in September. The House already passed a version of the bill which eliminated the food stamps program entirely, but Democrats in the Senate said they would not consider it. Lessenberry says that there will definitely be some cuts to the food stamp program, but it remains to be seen how extensive they will be.
-April Van Buren, Michigan Radio Newsroom