Michigan: Critical Need for Early Literacy

Being able to read is key to being able to learn. By the end of third grade, students transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. That is why investing in ways to improve early literacy in Michigan is so critical. This important investment has been left out of the Michigan House budget process so far this year – and we must make sure that it makes it into the state’s final budget, later this spring.

Today, “Michigan is among the lowest performing and improving states for early literacy,” according to Sarah Lenhoff, director of research and policy at The Education Trust-Midwest. “In fact, Michigan is one of only six states in which 4th graders are learning at lower reading levels today than they were a decade ago.”

Leading education states have long recognized the importance of early literacy for improving learning. As the Michigan Legislature works on the state budget, we have the opportunity to learn from leading education states and invest strategies that work for our students. By investing in proven ways to improve reading instruction, identify struggling students earlier and utilizing research-based interventions when needed, Michigan can turn the tide and raise the achievement of all students.

Infographic: Tennessee Outpaces Michigan Reading Gains


Guest Blog: Fostering Creativity in the Classroom

The following excerpt is from a guest blog post, written by Assistant Principal Matt Moll of Emerson Middle School, Livonia Public Schools. The full post is available here.

“Michigan has moved to higher learning expectation for students. These standards are more rigorous and challenging for students and teachers alike. This rigor is important for making sure that every student is working towards graduating from high school ready for career, college and life. It also provides a great opportunity for classroom teachers to connect topics and skills, and go deeper into lessons. Our higher standards foster creativity in our classrooms”

“With career- and college-ready standards, we as teachers need to shift our paradigm and not think that the content is what we are teaching, but that we are using content to teach a set of rigorous standards and skills that will greatly benefit our students in their future.  It is through this change in thinking that autonomy and creativity in the classroom can be realized.”

Matt Moll is a former teacher and currently serves as assistant principal in Livonia Public Schools. His full guest blog post is available here.

From the Capital

LEGISLATURE ADVANCES EDUCATION BUDGETS. Last week, the House and Senate appropriation committees passed their budgets, which will now go to the full chamber for consideration. The House continues to invest in educator evaluations and support, but has not including funding for the Governor’s early literacy initiative. The Senate, which is supporting a significant investment in early literacy, has reduced funding for educator evaluations and support to $1 million, from nearly $15 million.

Differences between the House and Senate budgets, including critical investments in early literacy and educator evaluation and support, will be worked out in a May conference committee, after both chambers pass their budgets.

Senate Education Committee, Today, April 28 at Noon in Room 110 of the Farnum Building. The committee will consider Senate Bill 103(R – Pavlov), regarding educator evaluations.

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, Wednesday, April 29 at 10:30am in Room 426 of the State Capitol Building. The committee will hear a presentation on the Early Childhood Education Center at University of Michigan – Dearborn

House Education Committee, Thursday, April 30 at 9am in Room 521 of the House Office Building. The committee is scheduled to vote onHouse Bill 4265 (R – Price), regarding community colleges; take testimony on SB 221, regarding distance education agreements; and hear an update from the Michigan Department of Education on M-STEP implementation.

Click here for the full update.