Governor Rick Snyder is defending the right of a work group headed by a top state official, to meet privately on how to make schools operate more efficiently.
The group carries the unattractive name of "skunk works," and reports say it's working on ideas such as a school voucher-type Michigan Education Card, along with the use of high tech to reduce the cost of teaching.
Vouchers traditionally have been seen as taxpayer dollars allowed to be used in both public and private schools.
The Detroit News reports the goal is to create a "value school" that could operate on about five thousand taxpayer dollars per student, compared to the current average of about $7,000.
The group has been meeting privately since December, and in January, the newspaper reports, participants were instructed in a memo to use "alternative" email accounts. Democrats criticize the group, saying it's state officials meeting secretly, although group members say they're doing it on their own time.
The Governor says he "does not not view it as a controversy.....you want to be careful about this because.. do you want to discourage people from coming up with ideas?"
The Governor adds also that "it's not an official project that I have going."