Michigan: Working in Education in Michigan

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Innovations in Education Reform

Fourteen Project ReImagine demonstration districts are using innovative strategies involving public and private partnerships to help change the way Michigan delivers education to children. The project is driving grass-roots education reform in the state. Key initiatives regarding instruction, curriculum, and educational management include: language immersion in elementary grades; project-based learning; early/middle college; multiple pathways to a diploma; and regionalized administrative services.

The Center for Education Reform ranked Michigan's charter school law, passed in 1993, the seventh strongest of the country's 41 charter school laws. Recent enrollment in the 283 charter schools was 99,660 students.

Michigan was the first state in the nation to require online learning as a requirement for high school graduation. Beginning with the 2011 graduating class, Michigan students must successfully complete an online course or online learning experience as part of the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

In 2008 the Center for Digital Education ranked Michigan's online learning policy and practice second only to Florida. Marina Leight, director of the Center for Digital Education, commented:

"Michigan has provided significant leadership for the rest of the nation in online learning and is routinely looked to as a pioneer. The creation of the Michigan Virtual School, Michigan LearnPort and the nation's first high school graduation requirement for online learning are all significant milestones that demonstrate Michigan's leadership position in this area."

Michigan's virtual school provides online courses to more than 500 schools throughout the state, and is one of the largest in the country. Since its inception in 1998, more than 64,000 students have enrolled in courses covering a wide range of subjects. In addition, nearly 50,000 educators take advantage of LearnPort, the state's online learning portal for professional development. The popularity of these initiatives points to the growing importance of online learning to students and educators. Among its many courses, Michigan Virtual University offers online classes in Chinese language and culture to help students succeed in the international business world.

Information technology is a teacher shortage area in Michigan schools for 2009-2010; teachers in this area may qualify for loan deferments or the reduction of a teaching obligation.

Educational Managers

A current opening for an elementary school principal in a Michigan charter school requires a master's degree in educational administration or a related field, an elementary teaching certificate, curriculum leadership experience, and teaching experience in an elementary school. Preference will go to candidates with school administration experience and/or charter school experience. An interim school principal in the same school needs experience as an elementary school principal, a master's degree in educational administration or a related field, and an elementary teaching certificate.

Teacher's Aides in Michigan

Standards for paraprofessional jobs in Michigan vary according to the funding for the positions. Michigan has no formal qualifications for paraprofessionals positions that are exclusively state funded; school districts can set their own standards. As in all states, paraprofessional jobs in Michigan that are paid for by the Federal government fall under No Child Left Behind regulations.

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