MDE Chooses Expediency Over Transparency

In late March, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) sent a revised state education plan to Governor Rick Snyder for his review and signature. Once signed, the plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education and will direct state education efforts in key areas for the foreseeable future. Unlike other states submitting plans this spring, the MDE is not releasing the final plan for Michiganders to see until after it has been submitted.

The plan, developed under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, will direct efforts in critical areas including school accountability, educator effectiveness, and improving low-performing schools. Leading education states have shown the effectiveness of focusing on these areas to improve student outcomes. As Michigan ranks near the national bottom on important measures, including student literacy and math, we should learn from the success of other states and follow best practice.

States have the option of finalizing these plans in the spring or fall 2017. Michigan is one of fifteen states planning to submit this spring. A link to the final plan of each of these states and the District of Columbia is below.

The third administration of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) begins this week for students in grades 5, 8 and 11. Schools will have flexibility to administer the assessment through May 5. Additionally, students in grades 9 and 10 will take the PSAT this week, while 11th grade students take the SAT and ACT WorkKeys.

The M-STEP is the only state test that most students take in grades 3-8, and it measures student progress on Michigan’s rigorous learning standards. This provides important information to parents, teachers, and schools about where students excel and struggle. It also allows Michiganders to compare academic performance between school, districts, and even with other states. The M-STEP takes up less than one percent of student instructional time each year.

M-STEP sample test questions and online practice tests are available here. Free online SAT practice is available through the Kahn Academy. Annual assessments for students in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 will be administered between May 1 and May 26.

Noteworthy News

Capital Update

House and Senate in Recess. The Michigan legislature does not meet this week. The Senate next meets on Tuesday, April 18 and the House resumes session on Wednesday, April 19.

State Board of Education meets on Wednesday, April 19 at 9:30 a.m. in the Ladislaus B. Dombrowski Board Room of the Hannah Building. The agenda is available here.

Tweet of the Week

@PCunningham57: Final 4ever: @EdTrust on the bracket that really counts. @JohnKingatEd @arneduncan @edu_post [Link:]