ETM Urges MDE to Reconsider Backtrack on Honest Public Reporting and Accountability

Earlier today, The Education Trust-Midwest urged State Superintendent Brian Whiston to use the thoughtful school accountability system proposed by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) last month. Despite best practice, the wishes of parents and the support of many from civil rights and business, recent comments suggest that the MDE will abandon meaningful accountability.

This feedback was provided in EdTrust-Midwest’s formal comments to the MDE, in response to the state’s draft plan for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act. These comments follow the recommendations made in Becoming Top Ten: An Analysis of Michigan’s ESSA Plan.

Becoming Top Ten: An Analysis of Michigan’s ESSA Plan finds:

  • Much improved school accountability in the draft, which MDE now seems to be moving away from;
  • An assessment change that would undermine years of work by educators and stakeholders to improve practice and provide honest reporting on how schools are performing against high standards;
  • A need to make long-term goals more ambitious;
  • More planning needed to ensure that all students have access to excellent educators;

Read the full analysis and submit a comment here. 

“In order to be top ten, we actually have to set goals to become top ten — and the honest data to tell us whether we’re on track to meet that goal,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest.

Despite proposing a clear and meaningful system for communicating whether a school is serving the needs of all of their students well, the MDE now seems to be moving in a different direction. Recent reports suggest that instead of robust accountability, MDE will create a wide-ranging dashboard of information for parent to decipher. While this kind of information should be made available to parents, it is not a replacement for accountability.

This Thursday is the last day for submitting public comment, which can be done here.

House Bill Would Send Michigan Schools Back to the Days of the Original iPhone

A bill moving through the Michigan House of Representatives proposes to take Michigan schools back nearly a decade – to the days of the original iPhone. House Bill 4192, which is the subject of a Michigan Competitiveness hearing tomorrow, would replace current academic standards with standards abandoned by Massachusetts several years ago.

In a thoughtful critique of the proposal, University of Michigan School of Education professor Nell K. Duke asks, “Would we ask the field of medicine to revert to 15- to 20-year-old standards for treating cancer? We would not, nor should we ask the field of education to revert to 15- to 20-year old standards for educational achievement.”

In addition to the disruption that lowering our academic standards would cause for students and teachers, there is also a very real cost to taxpayers.

According to Ron Koehler, assistant superintendent of the Kent Intermediate School District, “A single school district of fewer than 3,500 students in February told a House committee it had spent nearly $1 million over a five-year period on professional development to implement the Michigan Content Standards. A recent analysis indicated the cost to abandon our current standards and implement new ones could range from $41 million to as much as $289 million statewide.”

Instead of revising the Common Core yet again, lets focus on the changes in policy and implementation that will help improve outcomes for Michigan students.

Noteworthy News

Capital Update

State Board of Education is meeting this morning in the Ladislaus B. Dombrowski Board Room on the 4th floor of the Hannah Building and streaming live here. Agenda: Presentations on: the Every Student Succeeds Act plan; the 2017 State Education Technology Plan; health and physical education teacher prep; and the role, structure and function of Intermediate School Districts. There will also be a vote to convene a close session to discuss annual evaluation of the State Superintendent.

House School Aid and Education Committee meets today at 10:30 a.m. in Room 352 of the State Capitol Building. Agenda: Presentations on financial and data analytic tools and career and technical education (CTE).

Senate Education Committee meets today at noon in Room 1300 of the Binsfeld Building. Agenda: Senate Bill 27 to repeal section 1280c of the Revised School Code – which authorizes the State School Reform/Redesign Office (Pavlov – R) and SB 174 (Knollenberg – R) regarding the accreditation of public schools.

Senate K-12, School Aid and Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets tomorrow, March 15, at 8:30 a.m. in the Harry T. Gast Appropriations Room on the 3rdFloor of the State Capitol Building. Agenda: Update on Section 102d of the School Aid Act, financial data analytics, from Eidex; Update on Section 107(15) of the School Aid Act, “Linked Up”; Update on Section 32q of the School Aid Act, the Early Learning Collaborative; and Update on Section 104(4) of the School Aid Act, the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment.

House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness meets on Wednesday, March 15 at noon in Room 519 of the House Office Building. Agenda: House Bill 4192 Glenn – R) which would repeal Michigan’s rigorous career- and college-ready standards and instead implement standards last used nearly a decade ago.

House Committee on Education Reform meets Thursday, March 16, at 9 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda: HB 4163 (Garcia – R) regarding the exclusion of school calendars as the subject of collective bargaining; and presentations regarding alternative school ranking and statewide accountability systems.

Tweet of the Week

@PaulLiabenow: Stay the Course Michigan. [RT @EdTrustMidwest: Michigan teachers and school leaders agree that the state should stick with high standards: #proudMIeducator