MDE Confirms Major M-STEP Changes

On Thursday, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced major changes to end-of-year testing, coming for the third time in six years. Join us in telling State Superintendent Brian Whiston and Governor Rick Snyder that students, teachers and parents need consistency – not more churn.

According to a 2017-2018 Guide to State Assessments, beginning this year, MDE has decided to end portions of the test designed to assess writing, critical thinking and problem-solving. Given the importance of writing, math, critical thinking and problem-solving in real-world success, the change seems short-sighted. It also appears to be inconsistent with the MDE’s “Top 10 in 10 Years” plan, which states that “Michigan must ensure that each and every child can read and do math, be a creative thinker and problem-solver, and be an informed, open-minded, and engaged citizen in our society.”

The change may also undermine accountability for student learning once again. That is because multiple years of consistent data is needed in order to reliably be used for thoughtful improvement systems. By changing the test content, the MDE is also expected to have to change the “cut scores” – which are used to determine whether a student is considered proficient. The MDE encountered criticism due to cut score tweaking in previous years.

Michigan has spent much of the last decade redoing our state assessment. If we hope to become a top ten education state, we need to stop the constant change in Michigan classrooms and give students and teachers the space to improve teaching and learning. Join us and tell the State Superintendent to stop this data churn!

Dream.  Never stop Dreaming. 

The following excerpt is from an October 23, 2017 blog post written by Jose L. Orozco, Community School Coordinator Supervisor at Kent School Services Network. Read the full post here.

As a high school counselor, there is no prouder moment than when you see the students that you have worked with for the past couple of years walk across that stage to be handed their high school diplomas.

However, I knew in the back of my mind that there were students in the graduating class whose futures were filled with uncertainty.

In particular, I still recall the incident of a high school senior coming into the high school after graduation and asking me to help him with an issue he was having with the college he was going to attend.

The student was a “Dreamer,” as we call undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, living here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, now under threat.

By investing in the education of all of our students, we are investing in our future. The data is clear: these young people are making significant economic contributions to our country, and those will only grow if we encourage and support their educational ambitions. By pushing them out, we’re wasting a lot of talent and human potential that we desperately need in this country.

Read the full October 23 blog post here

Michigan can learn from top education states

The following article, by Brian Gutman, ran in the Detroit News on October 19 and is available here.

For nearly every group of students, Michigan’s public education system is simply not meeting the needs of students, and as a result, far too many Michigan students are not prepared to succeed after high school. Once an average state for educational performance, Michigan is now in the bottom 10 states for many measures.

We are past the point of recognizing there is a problem and need to focus on solutions.

So where do we start?

States across the country are showing how a commitment to improvement, attention to data and insistence on evidence-based practice and policies are improving outcomes for kids. Our students are just as capable as the students in Massachusetts, Tennessee and every other state. Now is the time for Michigan to follow the lead of those states and put our students first.

Click here for the full text of the article. 

Noteworthy News

Capital Update

House Workforce and Talent Development Committee meets today at 9:00am in room 326 of the House Office Building. AgendaHouse Bills 51395142, and 5145, regarding career and technical education.

House Education Reform Committee meets Thursday, October 26 at 9 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda:

  • House Joint Resolution M (Kelly – R), which proposes a constitutional amendment to eliminate the state board of education, superintendent of public instruction and the state board for public community and junior colleges;
  • HB 5126 (Garcia – R), which would exclude certain law enforcement officers from prohibited seclusion and restraint practices in schools;
  • Senate Bill 574 (Hildenbrand), which would allow charter schools to receive revenue from enhancement millages – regional property taxes collected by an intermediate school district. Currently, these funds benefit local school districts but not charter schools. This bill passed the Michigan Senate last week.
  • HB 5157 (Hornberger – R), which would not permit schools that operate year-round or open before Labor Day to be in session on Mondays and Fridays in August.

Tweet of the Week

Column: Michigan can learn from top education states via @detroitnews @EdTrustMidwest