|Richard McLellan (Wikipedia)|
By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)
Longtime pillar of Lansing and lawyer Richard McLellan, a strong supporter of Governor Snyder, blasted the State Board of Education in a statement on Facebook today.
McLellan took the Board to task for erroneously claiming in a resolution that Gov. Snyder's recent executive order transferring control of struggling, under performing schools from the Department of Education to the Department of Technology, Management, And Budget, is unconstitutional. (CLICK HERE TO READ THE EXECUTIVE ORDER)
"Whether it is good education policy or good public administration is something else; it is not a legal or constitutional issue," McLellan said.
McLellan has long been involved in education, among many other facets of public policy, for decades. He was also an architect of Michigan's 2008 Medical Marijuana law.
The Great Lakes Education Project posted McLellan's statement and praised it, saying, "Very few (if any) know the Michigan Constitution and education law better than Richard D. McLellan, and we'd say he's nailed this one. To the wall."
Here is his statement in full, and below, is the resolution from the State Board of Education.
"The State Board of Education gets it wrong again in suggesting the governor’s recent Executive Order 2015-9 moving school reform to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget could violate the Board’s authority.
Art. VIII Sec. 3 says: "Leadership and general supervision over all public education…is vested in a state board of education. It shall serve as the general planning and coordinating body for all public education….
The state board of education shall appoint a superintendent of public instruction…. He…. shall be responsible for the execution of its policies. He shall be the principal executive officer of a state department of education which shall have powers and duties provided by law."
The constitutional powers of the state board and state superintendent are actually quite limited. The primary education power is in Sec. 2: "The legislature shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law."
Gov. Engler successfully transferred most statutory duties of the state board to the state superintendent and in the executive order he made it clear that the order had no effect on the constitutional duties of the state board. The Supreme Court upheld the move.
Snyder has similar language in his new executive order. It is based on the Governor’s power: “the governor may make changes in the organization of the executive branch or in the assignment of functions among its units which he considers necessary for efficient administration. “ These changes have the force and effect of law and are compiled as statutes in the Michigan Compiled Laws.
Whether it is good education policy or good public administration is something else; it is not a legal or constitutional issue."
Here is the resolution from the State Board of Education:
"The State Board of Education is deeply concerned about Governor Snyder's recent decision to transfer oversight of the State School Reform/Redesign Office from the Department of Education to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
"The Constitution of Michigan of 1963 states "Leadership and general supervision over all public education, including adult education and instructional programs in state institutions, except as to institutions of higher education granting baccalaureate degrees, is vested in a state board of education. It shall serve as the general planning and coordinating body for all public education, including higher education, and shall advise the legislature as to the financial requirements in connection therewith."
"The Constitution of Michigan of 1963 further states, "The state board of education shall appoint a superintendent of public instruction whose term of office shall be determined by the board. He shall be the chairman of the board without the right to vote, and shall be responsible for the execution of its policies. He shall be the principal executive officer of a state department of education which shall have powers and duties provided by law."
"The framers of the state Constitution were clear in their intent to vest oversight of Michigan's public education system with a publicly elected board that would appoint a State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The reasons for such are as relevant today as they were in 1963. Decisions affecting the educational environment, from school safety to effective learning environments and health and well-being, should be directed by those with expertise in effective education policy, not by individuals or government departments with no expertise in educating children.
"The State Board of Education opposes any effort to diminish the Constitutional authority of either the State Board of Education or the State Superintendent.
"We believe that the Executive Order 2015-9, signed by Governor Rick Snyder on March 12, 2015, violates the State Constitution by stripping the State Superintendent of his/her authority to execute the policies of the State Board of Education. We respectfully request that the Governor reconsider this action and restore the Reform/Redesign District to the direct supervision of the State Superintendent."
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com
|Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson|