Standing Up To Hate

Following the tragic events of last week, we have reposted an August 2017 article from Amber Arellano, originally responding to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, NC. The full post is available here.

The outcry against the hate displayed in recent days…will fade. It is easy to be outraged when racism is marching up the street waving a bright red flag.

Because there is no mistaking the targets of this hate. When white supremacists call for racial purity, they are targeting their hate at me. When neo-Nazis call to “kill the Jews,” they are talking about our neighbors and co-workers. And when the KKK don hoods and robes, they strive to incite the fear of death in our children and communities.

This moment is a reminder of our obligation to stand up against hate wherever and however it takes root. It is a reminder of our responsibility to teach that racism and bigotry have no place in our communities. And we must be committed to ensuring that every child — no matter where they were born, what they look like, how they pray or who they love — knows that they are welcome in our communities, that they matter for our future, and that they have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.


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Michigan's 8th graders don't need another change in standardized tests

Former Michigan Teachers of the Year, Rick Joseph (2015-16) and Luke Wilcox (2017-18) added their perspective to Michigan’s plan to change 8th grade state testing this school year, in the Detroit Free Press. For the full article, click here.

The goal of every teacher is to authentically engage with students to help them reach success. It is why we come to school every day and why our definition of success is so critical. Excelling in school is important, but it is the success after high-school graduation that really matters, no matter the student’s path.

This is the whole idea behind Michigan’s current year-end test, the M-STEP, and why plans to change to the PSAT in 8th grade is so concerning.

Michigan students take the M-STEP in grades 3-8. This test measures thinking and reasoning by asking students to apply knowledge and demonstrate skill. Switching to the M-STEP has required shifts from students and teachers to align what happens in the classroom each day to long-term goals. Now, the state of Michigan plans to change to the PSAT for 8th grade, which focuses on short-term success on a college entrance exam. Real questions remain about whether the change from the M-STEP to the PSAT will help direct our students toward their own success. This is why Michigan should pause this change, until we can fully understand the impacts of this choice on teaching and learning.

As the ultimate goal of education is to prepare our students to succeed, our assessments must focus on that goal. When we prepare our students to be problem solvers and critical thinkers, they will be prepared to question, collaborate, communicate and adapt to the realities of life. But when class time is used to prepare for a test that is not relevant to a student’s academic experience, we are wasting valuable time. With a move to the PSAT, we are focusing on preparing for another exam, instead of preparing students for broader success.

Michigan teachers want their students to soar, and we all make great sacrifices to support and to help them learn and grow every day. But we need systems that make sense for our students and their learning. While no test is perfect, the plan to move to the PSAT falls short for our students.

Click here for the full article.


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Tweet of the Week

@edu_michelle: Former #MichEd Teachers of the Year oppose changing 8th gr assessment to #PSAT. @freep