State Budget: Mixed Signs for Students

There are mixed signs from the Michigan legislature around support for strategies to advance education in the state. Investments around early literacy programs and educator evaluation, support and training are key to improving learning, and are needed by Michigan students.

So far, the Senate budget includes a $35 million investment in early literacy programs and the House has included nearly $15 million for educator evaluations and support. But some policymakers are not supporting these hugely important — and long overdue — investments in action to raise student achievement.

Decades of research have shown that being able to read by the end of third-grade is essential for future achievement. And we also know that the teaching quality is the most significant in-school factor for student learning. So it is critical that these investments are adopted as part of the state budget.

Our students deserve a great education and a system that helps them succeed. We need the support of the rest of the legislature to ensure that Michigan invests in these proven methods to improve schools across the state.

 Shhh… Testing in Progress

Last week marked the beginning of a new era in Michigan education. After 44 years, the MEAP finally retired and was replaced with a new generation of assessment – called the M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress).
The new assessment, administered on a computer for most students, replaces multiple-guess bubble sheets with questions that look for deep comprehension and critical thinking skills, requiring students to demonstrate understanding of content – not just memorization.
Early reports show that testing is going well. Click here for a full listing of spring testing windows.

Infographic: Enormous Impact of Effective Teaching

effective teacher.4.22

From the Capital

SENATE BEGAN CONSIDERING PROPOSAL ON EDUCATOR EVALUATION. Last Tuesday, the Senate heard testimony from some of Senate Bill 103 (R – Pavlov), with another hearing this morning (4/21) to consider testimony and potentially vote on the measure expected this spring. Teaching quality is the most important in-school factor for impacting student learning. Investing in a proven statewide system of educator evaluation, training and support is critical to improving education in Michigan. Read Ed Trust-Midwest’s testimony and recommendations here.

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION TO CONSIDER BILL TO CHANGE MERIT CURRICULUM. The hearing will take place on Thursday, April 23 at 9:00am in Room 521 of the House Office Building.

House Bill 4390 (R – Tedder), would allow a personal finance credit to satisfy an economics requirement of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. The current bill would lower the standard for Michigan students, but during a hearing last week, the bill sponsor said that he will seek to amend the bill to require that a personal finance course would cover the same content standards as economics. The committee will also consider S.B. 139 (R – Colbeck), regarding certain fund-raising activities during school hours and H.B. 4265 (R – Price) regarding community colleges.

HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSED PACKAGE OF “EARLY WARNING”BILLS.At a hearing on Wednesday, the House Committee on Financial Liability Reform passed a package of bills aiming to establish an “early warning” system for schools at risk of financial distress.

Click here for full update.