Public Education Finance Act

Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace

Disaggregating High School Education

An Approach to Implementing “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace”

Scope of Paper

This Paper seeks to outline the elements of changes in Michigan’s traditional public school model necessary to fully implement Governor Rick Snyder’s “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace” proposals for public education.

Under this analysis, the elements of a high school diploma will be identified and disaggregated in order to explore ways the complete education process can be delivered through multiple public education providers in an effective way.

For discussion purposes, the Paper focuses only on high school and access to post secondary education. It does not deal with K-12 education.

Governor Snyder’s Vision for Public Education

This Paper seeks to execute on comments included in Gov. Snyder’s 2011 Education Reform Message (“Message”):

  • Our education system must position our children to compete globally in a knowledge-based economy.
  • I am proposing a new ―Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace public school learning model.
  • Michigan’s education system has revolved around a static approach to education delivery that can be at odds with individual learning styles.
  • Performance-based funding rather than seat time requirements.
  • Michigan’s state foundation allowance should not be exclusively tied to the school district a child attends. Instead, funding needs to follow the student.
  • Eliminate barriers to true choice in education and give parents and students the flexibility to employ education programming that ensures their future success.

In addition to his Message, the Governor has also encouraged these concepts:

  • The Primary objective of public education should be career readiness:  an individual is prepared to move into the career in a sustainable fashion.
  • The education system must provide seamless transitions: the ability to move seamlessly between early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education.
  • For each student, the goal should be achieving competencies: recognize achievement and growth on an individual student basis.
  • Recognition of results: in the process of recognition and payment to education providers.

What Does “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace” Mean?

While public schools have adopted many innovative techniques in recent years, there is a basic public school model that can be used to compare a model with the “anys:”

The 5 Elements of Public Education

As part of its project to draft a new public education finance act of 2013 to replace Michigan’s School Aid Act of 1979, the Oxford Foundation has used the following chart of the elements of public education in its meetings with education groups:

Using this model in the disaggregation analysis, it is possible to break the high school education process down into elements:

Money: Under Michigan’s system of “free public elementary and secondary schools,” all the money for education comes from government, either state government or local property taxes or from the federal government. For post-secondary education, however, the sources of payment include more private funds and no obligation on the government to pay the full cost.

Regulations: Public education in Michigan is a highly regulated industry with most of the regulations emanating from the state. While there is a general belief in “local control” of public schools, it is state law and state regulations, plus state control over the $1 billion+ federal funds that actually control.

Michigan’s complex education regulatory regime generally covers all education providers. Even charter schools in Michigan do not operate under any significantly reduced regulations.

Since public education is a state regulated and largely state funded process, the state has the power to disaggregate the high school education process and, as the Governor proposes, “eliminate barriers to true choice in education and give parents and students the flexibility to employ education programming that ensures their future success.”

Government Instrumentalities

Michigan’s public K-12 education system is constitutionally mandated to be under the direction and control of government instrumentalities as authorized or established by the legislature. The Legislature has had the task of defining the form and the institutional structure through which public education is delivered in Michigan since the time Michigan became a state. Under the Parochiaid decision upholding Michigan’s charter school law, the Michigan Supreme Court only required that to be a public school, the school must be under the “ultimate and immediate control of the state and its agents.”

For purposes of government funding through the constitutionally established and funded school aid fund, the money must be paid through entities called “school districts,” as defined by the legislature.

Under this legal structure, there are many types of entities authorized to provide aspects of a high school education to Michigan Students, including:

  • District schools
  • Intermediate district schools
  • Special education center programs
  • Charter school corporations (public school academies, schools of excellence, urban high school academies, strict discipline academies)
  • Cyber school corporations
  • State-run schools such as the school for the deaf
  • Prison schools
  • State Public Universities
  • Community Colleges
  • The Michigan Virtual School, a private organization, acting through public schools
  • Private education providers, acting through and under the control of public school authorities (individual teachers, education management organizations, private special education providers, etc.)


The concept of “transmitter” is to use a broad term for the people, processes and material that are an essential part of the process we call “education,” viz.:

  1. The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
  2. The act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession. []

Under Michigan law, the state highly regulates and limits the people who are authorized by the state to transmit knowledge in public schools; it generally does not regulate other transmitters such as textbooks, audiovisual material or online courses.

For purposes of this analysis, the following is a partial list of transmitters:

  • Certificated teachers
  • Certificated administrators
  • Teacher aids
  • Textbooks and related classroom material
  • Online course content
  • Individual student research and exploration

Intellectual Content

As the definition quoted above states, education is about “general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.”

Assuming a high school student has basic literacy, numeracy and social skills, the intellectual content of high school should be focusing on transmitting the facts, values, skills to prepare a person for adulthood, including being ready for employment or further education.

Michigan does not leave to local public officials the choice of subjects to teach. It imposes curriculum requirements on all students and teachers. This Michigan Department of Education website provides:

Michigan’s content standards are a set of learning expectations developed by parents, educators, business leaders and university professors to assist schools in the development of local district curricula. These standards and more detailed learning objectives called benchmarks are contained within the Michigan Curriculum Framework.

In addition, Michigan has recently developed nationally recognized English Language Arts and Mathematics Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE) providing K-8 educators with meaningful tools to better align what is taught with what is tested in the classroom.

Curriculum and Standards

  • Common Core State Standards Initiative
  • Curriculum Review Cycle
  • How Michigan Curriculum is Developed
  • English Language Proficiency K-12 Standards
  • Preparing Michigan Students for Work and College Success Research Fact Sheet
  • High School Course/Credit Content Expectations and Guidelines
  • Michigan Curriculum Framework
  • Career/Employability Standards

Elements of a High School Education

Today, a high school diploma is based largely on a single school district providing courses, awarding credits and issuing a credential called a high school diploma. Under a maximum choice approach, a pupil will need a process whereby at least all of the following can occur:

  • A pupil and his or her parents can select from a curated list of courses that are appropriate for the pupil and, in the aggregate, will meet the requirements for a state-authorized credential recognized by job providers and institutions of higher education.
  • A pupil can access multiple public education providers and take one or more classes from a provider.
  • Some public institution maintains the pupil records of mastery or proficiency and credit awards, payment of education funds and aggregates the credits to determine eligibility for credentials.

The following is a preliminary list of elements of a disaggregated 4-year high school experience leading to a recognized diploma under Michigan law:

1. High school course

a. Design

b. Selection

c. Selection of teaching materials

d. Counseling and advising

e. Delivery of course; teaching and instruction

2. Assessment

a. Testing

b. Data

3. Credits

a. Awarding or denying credit for performance, proficiency, mastery, etc.

b. Aggregating credits

4. Records

a. Collecting and aggregating credits

b. Maintaining master records for student

5. Credentials

a. Determining eligibility for credential based on credit history

b. Awarding or denying appropriate credential (high school diploma, GED)

6. Payment

a. Receipt and payment of funds to education providers

7. Facilities

a. Maintaining appropriate facilities (school buildings) or infrastructure (online system)

8. Non-teaching Elements

a. Feeding

b. Safety and security

c. Interscholastic sports

Disaggregation Elements of Present Michigan Law

Michigan’s existing School Code of 1979 (“Act”) financing model is based on the concept that a Michigan pupil must generally enroll in the district of his or her residence unless either released by the district or eligible under specific exceptions. The primary restrictions are as follows:

MCL §388.1606. … (4)…The amount of the foundation allowance for a pupil in membership is determined under section 20. In making the calculation of membership, all of the following, as applicable, apply to determining the membership of a district, a public school academy, the education achievement system, or an intermediate district:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, and pursuant to subsection (6), a pupil shall be counted in membership in the pupil’s educating district or districts. An individual pupil shall not be counted for more than a total of 1.0 full-time equated membership.

(b) If a pupil is educated in a district other than the pupil’s district of residence, if the pupil is not being educated as part of a cooperative education program, if the pupil’s district of residence does not give the educating district its approval to count the pupil in membership in the educating district, and if the pupil is not covered by an exception specified in subsection (6) to the requirement that the educating district must have the approval of the pupil’s district of residence to count the pupil in membership, the pupil shall not be counted in membership in any district.

(6) “Pupil” means a person in membership in a public school. A district must have the approval of the pupil’s district of residence to count the pupil in membership, except approval by the pupil’s district of residence is not required for any of the following…

But where the exceptions apply, the Act includes, for limited purposes, elements of a disaggregated system, including:

  1. The concept of “full-time equated pupils in grades K to 12 actually enrolled…” and related provisions contemplate a pupil attending more than one school simultaneously. Presently, one FTE is based on the number of class hours used to calculate full-time equated memberships, which requires, each district to provide at least 1,098 hours.
  2. “A pupil’s participation in…an online educational program of the education achievement system or of an achievement school is considered regular daily attendance.”
  3. “A pupil shall be counted in membership in the pupil’s educating district or districts…” recognizes multiple enrollments.
  4. “An individual pupil shall not be counted for more than a total of 1.0 full-time equated membership.”
  5. Proration of state aid is provided where a “public school academy or the education achievement system provides instruction for at least 1/2 of the class hours specified….”
  6. The Act requires that the “department shall give a uniform interpretation of full-time and part-time memberships.”
  7. Where a district a district alternative or disciplinary education program provides instructional placement for a pupil apart from the general school population, it must provide that  “credit earned is awarded to the pupil and placed on the pupil’s transcript.”
  8. In defining “Pupils in grades K to 12 actually enrolled and in regular daily attendance” the Act defines “class” as “a period of time in 1 day when pupils and a certificated teacher or legally qualified substitute teacher are together and instruction is taking place.”
  9. MCL §388.1621b covers tuition and fee support for pupil attending post secondary institution and provides “a district shall use funds received under section 22a or 22b to support the attendance of a district pupil at an eligible post secondary institution under the post secondary enrollment options act…or under the career and technical preparation act….”

Designing an Unbundled High School Model

The purpose of this Paper is to propose a new model for delivering a high school education to a Michigan resident pupil that eliminate barriers to true choice in the pupil’s education and give parents and students the flexibility to employ education programming that ensures their future success.

While most students and their parents may be satisfied with the bundled education package offered by the district, charter or cyber school selected, there are some students and parents who have individual learning styles and would benefit from an “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace” learning model provided by multiple providers.  Accordingly, the following discussion is not designed for all students, but to those who will benefit most from a system that allows flexibility to employ diverse education programming resources.

Constitutional Constraints

Even an unbundled education program must comply with Michigan Constitutional constraints:

  • The education providers must be under the “ultimate and immediate control of the state and its agents.”
  • For purposes of government funding through the constitutionally established and funded school aid fund, the money must be paid through entities called “school districts,” as defined by the legislature.

This means that no matter how good it may be, in order to have the government pay for a course, the course must be provided through a Michigan public school. A student or parent, of course, may use private funds for all of some of the education desired.

The Elements of An Unbundled High School Education

The following is a summary of the functions that must be provided to a student in order to achieve a high school diploma:

1. Courses of education that meet minimum state curriculum requirements.

2. A selection process for approving courses eligible for payment by school funds.

3. A government instrumentality that

a. Approves (but does not necessarily employ) Michigan certificated teachers and other instructors to teach the approved courses.

b. Maintains records of course performance for each student taking a course.

c. Processes payments of public funds to the teacher or provider.

4. A public or private education provider that develops course content (consistent with government requirements) and retains certificated teachers as required by state law.

5. An entity under the ultimate and immediate control of the state to:

a. Determine student state residency (and U.S. citizenship).

b. Aggregate course completion records to determine eligibility for a credential (diploma).

Hypothetical Student Under New Model

This outline assumes that Michigan adopts HB 5923, amending the School Code to provide new forms of schools and set forth as state policy:

Within available resources, the parent or legal guardian of each child is entitled to choose among available public or nonpublic schools for some or all of the education necessary to develop the child’s intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment.

It also assumes the present School Aid Act is replaced, in part, with an education financing system that provides seamless access to multiple education providers and between secondary and post-secondary education institutions.

Student: Valerie Gregg (“Valerie”)

  • Junior in High School
  • Member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (“KBIC”)
  • Valerie has been identified as a Native student with unique talents and potential to achieve at the highest level
  • Special Interests: Music, Math and Indian languages
  • Moved to Oscoda in 2012. Freshman and Sophomore years in other school systems
  • 4.0 average from other schools

Education Providers:

  • School District of Residence: Oscoda Area Schools (“Oscoda”). The District is currently serving 1486 students preschool-twelfth grades in two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Every school in Oscoda Area Schools has met rigorous national standards for quality established by the North Central Association. Oscoda Area Schools continues to be one of a select group of school districts statewide accredited in all schools K-12.

Oscoda is where Valerie lives and takes many if her classes. She will also participate in the Oscoda School Choir and enroll in student clubs.

  • Home District: Bay Mills Charter School (“BMCS”), a Michigan public school academy chartered by the Bay Mills Community College, an accredited tribally controlled community college.

BMCS is the “home district” for Valerie. It assumes responsibility for maintaining all records of her public school education. As a charter school that focuses on Native American matter, BMCS provides counseling and assistance to assure that Valerie enrolls in courses where she can succeed and which reflect her plans for her future.

  • Michigan Advanced Math Academy is a “globally competitive school” is a highly selective public school with an “innovative, specialized learning environment for highly motivated pupils who have a genuine interest in the curriculum of the school.” BMCS counselors have worked with the Math Academy to facilitate Valerie’s enrollment as a part-time, online student. The Math Academy is also a residential public school and, through special scholarships, Valerie will be able to attend intensive math programs and live in Academy housing.
  • Bay Mills Community College (“BMCC”). BMCC has a unique Native language instructional program that provides Valerie the opportunity to learn Native languages while in high school and receive college credit for the successful completion of the course.
  • Alpena Community College (“Alpena CC”), Huron Shores Campus, Oscoda. In her senior year, Valerie plans to take a self study course in anthropology, focusing on Great Lakes Indian culture, under the direction of an Alpena Community College adjunct faculty member.  She will receive both high school credit and college credit for the course.

How the Public School Authorities Serve Valerie’s Education Objectives and Guarantee Her a Free Public Education

  1. As a resident of Oscoda, she is eligible to receive some of her courses from her district of residence and is eligible to benefit from both the state funding and the local property taxes that support Oscoda Schools. She is also eligible to enroll in Alpena CC.
  2. As a resident of Michigan, she is eligible to enroll in the BMCS, the Math Academy and BMCC for the courses for which she is eligible, with having to receive the approval of Oscoda Schools. Charter schools are funded by state funds. The school funding laws will provide that school aid funds are used to pay the tuition at the BMCC.
  3. As a highly selective school, the Math Academy has established agreements with state public universities to recognize successful mastery of Academy mathematics courses for college credit. Valerie will benefit when she enrolls in college by having received credits for the both the math classes and for her Native language courses at BMCC.
  4. BMCS, as Valerie’s home district, will be the repository of all school records and will provide those records to state authorities, her parents and other schools. Because BMCS is providing a service to comply with state and federal record keeping requirements, it will receive state funding for the service.
  5. Because Valerie’s high school education is unbundled, BMCS will provide a curating and counseling role to assure that Valerie and her parents enroll in courses that are both eligible for state funding and meet state and school requirements for credit and credentials.
  6. Valerie’s education providers are diverse in her last two years of high school. But Michigan’s new Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace Data System easily handles the process for enrollment, assessment, records and payment that are required. Valerie, her parents, state officials, and school officials in each school where she is enrolled have online access at any time through the Michigan EduCard App and database stored in a secure cloud based, state controlled system.
  7. When Valerie enrolls in a Michigan state public university, she will have earned college credits equivalent to a full year of college and will be able to advance her higher education at a faster pace than many of her fellow college freshmen. Valerie will be on her way to an education that will allow her to compete globally in a knowledge-based economy.

Appendix A
Types of Public Schools In Michigan

December 14, 2011

New Forms of Schools

HB 5923 will add new forms of schools to the extensive diversity of public schools already operating in Michigan.

  • Online academies (in addition to existing cyber schools).
  • Globally competitive schools, highly selective schools.
  • International cultural schools, providing dual degrees in cooperation with foreign schools.
  • Residential public schools, including:
    • STEM residential schools
    • Department of Human Services affiliated schools
    • Military and public safety residential schools
    • DNR affiliated academy
  • University affiliated schools
  • Employer-supported schools
  • Cultural institution-supported schools
  • Municipal schools
  • Schools with out-of-state pupils paying tuition

Existing Diversity of Michigan Public Schools

  • Magnet (public)
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Middle College Schools
  • New Technology Schools
  • STEM/STEAM Schools
  • STRIVE Schools
  • Blended Schools
  • Online schools
  • Public School Academies (Charter schools), including:
    • Fine arts schools,
    • Math and science focus,
    • Ethnocentric schools,
    • Life skills schools,
    • Dropout recovery schools,
    • College prep schools,
    • Flight academy airline
    • Agricultural emersion school, George McManus, Countryside Academy
    • Henry Ford Academy, “The Ford” Museum
    • Tribal charter schools, part charter, part Bureau of Indian Affairs schools
    • Academy of Style, cosmetology St Clair ISD
    • Career Prep Academy, St Clair ISD, Allows high school juniors and seniors to explore and prepare for a career in culinary arts, digital media technology, energy technologies and services, engineering graphics and animation, health careers, information technology, robotics and mechatronics, metal machining and welding.
  • Cyber Schools

International Baccalaureate:

There are 80 IB schools in MI. [1] These schools are internationally recognized, the program is universal which makes it easy for parents with children who travel a lot.  The programs are more comprehensive.

Middle College Schools:

There are 19 early/middle colleges in Michigan. [2] These schools are 5-year high schools located at a university or community college.  It is an agreement between community college and a high school to provide college course access to high school student with a convenient location.  Eastern University offers this program, and it is located on their campus.  Middle/early college programs are coordinated through the ISD’s and universities.

New Technology Schools:

These schools center around technology focused curricula.  There is a New Tech High in Ypsilanti/Washtenaw, and Saginaw.

STEM(Science Technology Engineering Math)/STEAM(Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) Schools:

These schools focus their curricula based on their acronyms, respectively.

Online Schools:

Schools can be categorized as offering online courses within districts. Schools are allowed to offer up to 2 online courses per student per the seat time waiver.

STRIVE Schools:

Strive are project based schools.

Blended Schools:

Blended schools provide work-study and/or online opportunities while students also attend classes at the school.

Intermediate School Districts:

There are 57 ISD’s in MI. [3] They provide services to school districts, such as assistance with vocational programs


A selective school is a school that admits students on the basis of some sort of selection criteria, usually academic. The term may have different connotations in different systems. The opposite is a comprehensive school, which accepts all students, regardless of aptitude. The split between selective and comprehensive education is mainly seen at secondary level; primary education is rarely selective.

International Baccalaureate

IBSOM has formed to support schools in Michigan through the application process, through sharing expertise as member schools and through creating an environment conducive to the continued growth of our students.

As a regional association IBSOM will work:

~ to improve university recognition

~ to spur legislative action in support of our work with students

~ to serve as a liaison with the state Department of Education

~ to offer symposia and information sessions on a variety of topics concerning the Primary Years Program, the Middle Years Program as well as the Diploma Program

About International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Cyber Schools

Many states now offer tuition-free online schools for resident students under a certain age (often 21). Most virtual schools are charter schools; they receive government funding and are run by a private organization. Online charter schools are subject to fewer restrictions than traditional schools. However, they are reviewed regularly and must continue to meet state standards.

Some states also offer their own online public schools. These virtual programs generally operate from a state office or a school district. Statewide public school programs vary. Some online public schools offer a limited number of remedial or advanced courses not available in brick-and-mortar public school campuses. Others offer full online diploma programs.

A few states choose to fund “seats” for students in private online schools. The number of available seats may be limited and students are usually asked to apply through their public school guidance counselor. (See also: 4 Types of Online High Schools).

The Michigan Virtual School is an online resource that enables Michigan high schools and middle schools to provide courses (all taught by certified teachers) and other learning tools those students wouldn’t otherwise have access to. The Michigan Legislature funded it in July 2000 to be operated by the Michigan Virtual University, a private, not-for-profit Michigan corporation. MVS works in cooperation with individual school districts to grant course credit and diplomas.

Through MVS, Michigan high school and middle school students can take a variety of courses and learn any place there is a computer and an Internet connection. We’re here to help prepare our children for a lifetime of integrating technology into their work and their lives.

Middle College Schools [4]

Middle College High Schools are designed to meet the needs of students who may do better in a non-traditional high school setting or are interested in being challenged. These programs provide students with both a high school diploma and up to 60 college credits, which are transferable to most state colleges and universities. Middle College High School programs may be career focused and usually are located on a college campus. These programs are created through community collaboration between an intermediate or local school district and a community college. Enrollment in these schools can begin as early as ninth grade with college classes beginning as early as tenth grade. Early/Middle College High Schools have several locations in Michigan.