Take Action! Oppose Test Changes

The Michigan Department of Education recently announced significant changes to the end-of-year assessment, the M-STEP, marking the third round of changes in six years. These changes will create disruption for teachers and students, make data less reliable for parents and policymakers and focus far less on important skills, including critical thinking, problem solving and writing.

Click here to send a letter to Governor Snyder and State Superintendent Whiston telling them that our students and teachers need stability in the classroom – not constant change.

Bill to send additional tax funding to charter schools moving through legislature

A bill that would send some property tax funding to charter schools has passed the Michigan Senate and is moving through the Michigan House of Representatives.

Currently, Intermediate School Districts can go to voters to request additional school funding through a “revenue enhancement millage.” Funds raised are sent to school districts within the county or region, based on the number of students attending traditional public schools. If passed, Senate Bill 574 (Hildenbrand – R) would permit these funds to also be distributed to charter schools. As a result of more students being supported by these funds, fewer dollars would be available per student.

It is currently unclear whether the bill would apply to funds that have already been approved, or if it would only impact revenue enhancement millage requests approved by voters in the future.

The Dream Act: Lifting Limitations on Students’ Unlimited Potential

The excerpt below is from an October 19, 2017 blog post by Wil Del Pilar, vice president of higher education policy and practice at The Education Trust. Click here to read the full post.

Passing the Dream Act “would create a pathway to citizenship for more than 2 million young people in America, giving them a chance to fully participate in and contribute to the country they grew up in, that educated them, and that they believe in, according to Wil Del Pilar, vice president of higher education policy and practice at the Education Trust.

“Absent passage of the Dream Act, we relegate so many young people to a life of uncertainty, isolation, and hopelessness,” Del Pilar wrote in a blog post. “This is the reality for undocumented students. Instead of being able to live up to their potential, their immigration status is often a limiting force, constraining the valuable contributions they can make to the economic and civic well-being of our nation.”

He encouraged his readers to contact members of Congress to urge them to pass the Dream Act. “Education is a civil rights issue, and as advocates for children and social justice, we must stand together.”

Read the full post here.

Noteworthy News

Capital Update

House Workforce and Talent Development Committee meets today, October 31, at 9 a.m. in room 326 of the House Office Building. Agenda: House Bills 5139 – 5142, and HB 5145, regarding career and technical education and instruction.

Senate Education Committee meets today, October 31 at noon in room 1300 of the Binsfeld Building. Agenda: Presentations on teacher and substitute shortages in Michigan.

House Education Reform Committee meets Thursday, November 2 at 9 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda:

  • Senate Bill 574 (Hildenbrand), which would allow charter schools to receive revenue from enhancement millages – regional property taxes collected by an intermediate school district.
  • HB 5157 (Hornberger – R), which would prohibit schools that operate year-round or open before Labor Day to be in session on Mondays and Fridays in August.
  • HB 5071 (Albert – R), which would require higher education institutions to provide annual disclosers of certain information to each student that takes federal student loans, including an estimate of the amount borrowed, the potential payoff amount, estimated monthly repayments and resources to learn more about student loans.

Tweet of the Week

“We can change the lives of our students. IT CAN BE DONE! And it can be done in this generation.” - @RyanSmithEd