California Dream Act Clears the Legislature
ALABAMA SCHOOL YEAR: Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed into law a measure allowing storm-ravaged school districts to shorten their school years, The Birmingham News reports. As in most states, Alabama law mandates that schools hold 180 instructional days a year. The new law allows school districts to petition the state superintendent to curtail that requirement if the governor has declared a state of emergency. Pay for school employees would not be affected. Many schools in Alabama were destroyed by last month's storms.
STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL TACKLE FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS: Attorneys general from 10 states have banded together to investigate for-profit colleges, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The group will look at the schools' marketing efforts and try to determine whether they engaged in consumer fraud, a concern that was first raised by a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office last year. Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, an outspoken advocate of strict regulation for the schools, has emerged as a leader in the effort, which centers on high student loan balances and low graduation rates. Conway has previously launched his own investigation, as have attorneys general in Iowa, Illinois and Florida. But working together will make it easier for states to share information and perhaps file joint lawsuits, according to the Chronicle.
MICHIGAN CUTS: Michigan's House of Representatives approved a party-line bill last week that would cut state aid to K-12 schools between $256 and $297 per student, according to the Detroit Free Press . The bill, which Democrats opposed, cuts student aid less than the $300 per student that Governor Rick Snyder proposed but more than the amount endorsed by the state Senate, which limited the cuts to $170 per student. The House bill also cut state universities by 22 percent and community colleges by 15 percent. Universities would see another 5 percent cut if they extend health benefits to domestic partners, under a last-minute provision added by Representative David Agema, a Republican.