Powering improvement through best practices

Great teachers can improve the lives of their students long after they graduate. That’s why effective teaching and school leaders for every Michigan student is a pillar of Michigan Achieves, a campaign to make Michigan a top ten education state.

“A teacher’s effectiveness is more important than class size, where a school is located, and even more important than the overall performance of the school,” Education Trust-Midwest executive director Amber Arellano wrote in recent guest opinion article in The Detroit News. “Leading education like Tennessee have implemented high-quality, statewide systems of educator evaluation and support, and Tennessee has become a national leader for student learning gains.”

In the budget adopted earlier this month, Michigan’s leaders approved spending $14.8 million on educator evaluation and support. “This kind of modest investment –about $9.50 per student – can have a significant impact on student growth,” Arellano wrote. “Now, we must make sure that we spend this money well.”

The House Education Committee is now debating how to implement the system of educator support and evaluation. “We’re urging lawmakers to look at best practices from leading states to drive Michigan’s educational improvement,” Arellano wrote.

Detroit charter aims to be best in the nation

At Detroit Merit Charter Academy, more than 90 percent of the students are low-income, 98 percent are African American, and about 11 percent have disabilities. And Merit students are beating their peers across the state no matter their income-level or race, undermining stale beliefs about who can learn at high levels.

“It’s not rocket science,” according to Principal Sandra Terry-Martin. “We have really high expectations.”

Close to 70 percent of Merit’s students are proficient in math, far above the state average of 30 percent for all students. In reading, 88 percent of students at Merit can read on grade level or above, far above the state average of 64 percent statewide.

Graphic: Detroit Merit Students Compared with State Peers

detroit merit

One of the keys to the success at Detroit Merit is a unique commitment to teachers’ development. New teachers are assigned a mentor and get lots of face time with experienced teachers and administrators, something incredibly rare in most schools.

Detroit Merit Charter Academy is featured in Michigan Achieves: Becoming a Top Ten Education State as a Michigan success story.Learn more about what is working at Detroit Merit Charter Academy.

Capital Update

House Committee on Education met on Thursday, and again this morning at 10:30 a.m., to take additional testimony on Senate Bill 103 (Pavlov – R), relating to educator evaluations. Read our testimony from the previous committee hearing here.

Senate Committee on Education met today, June 16, at 8:30 a.m. in room 110 of the Farnum Building, to consider two bills related to pay and retirement of union officials (Senate Bills 279 and 280, (Knollenberg – R)), and a package of bills related to financial reporting and deficit elimination (House Bills 4325 and 4326 (Poleski – R), HB 4327 (Pscholka – R), HB 4328 (Lyons – R), HB 4329(Somerville – R), and HB 4330 (Kelly – R).

The Senate Committee on Education will meet again on Thursday, June 18 at noon to consider House Bills 4325-4330. The committee will meet in Room 110 of the Farnum Building.

To access our full update, please click here.