Support for Early Literacy, Teacher Evaluations

There was good news for supporters of better schools for Michigan’s students in the legislature last week.

School aid appropriations subcommittees approved budgets for the next fiscal year that include increased funding for early literacy programs and support for teacher evaluations, feedback and support.

In the Senate, the appropriations subcommittee recommended a $35 million investment — $10 million more than Governor Snyder proposed to get children reading at grade level by third grade. The committee also recommended greater support for schools serving more vulnerable students by increasing at-risk funding by $100 million.

In the House, the school aid appropriations subcommittee continued backing a research-based, statewide system of educator evaluation and support by maintaining a $14.8 million allocation for the program.

The Senate recommended an increase of $100 to the minimum per pupil spending and the House called for a $274 increase to the minimum per pupil allowance.

There’s still a lot of work to be done between now and when these recommendations will be considered by the full legislature. But at this point, we’re encouraged by these positive signs.

Anxious about testing? Don’t be.

In the next few weeks, schools will be rolling out the M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress), replacing the 44-year-old MEAP, which is going into a long-overdue retirement.

There may be some noise over the new test, but we know the progress that this change brings. After years of consulting among Michigan teachers, parents, researchers and school leaders, we expect M-STEP to provide a much better idea of how well our students are doing and providing better feedback to improve schools and teaching practices for students.

Curious about the online assessment? Test drive M-STEP (you must use Google Chrome for the M-STEP preview)

How Does Michigan’s Funding Gap Between Highest and Lowest Poverty Districts Compare?

MI Funding Gap

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