This will be the final update from The Education Trust-Midwest for 2018 with updates resuming on January 8, 2019. We hope that you will join us on January 16, 2019 for Opportunity for All: 2019 State of Michigan Education Conference (info and registration here). Happy Holidays!

You're Invited: Opportunity for All on Jan. 16

You are invited for a special conversation on improving educational excellence and equity in Michigan schools on January 16. The event, Opportunity for All: 2019 State of Michigan Education Conference will feature panels and remarks by Michigan education and civil rights leaders, and former U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr. King served in the cabinet during President Obama’s second term.

The event is free, but registration is required.

WHAT: Opportunity for All: 2019 State of Michigan Education Conference

WHEN: January 16 from 9am – Noon

WHERE: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit

Click here to reserve your seat today!

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Update from a not-so-lame duck

The 99th Michigan Legislature will convene for the final time this week, as lame duck draws to a close at the end of the week. As widely covered by the media, the end of this legislature has been anything but “lame.” Needless to say, several significant education policy issues may still advance this year. These include:

A-F School Accountability (House Bill 5526): Perhaps the most widely covered education issue of lame duck, a proposal to issue annual report cards for schools narrowly passed the House of Representatives last week. The bill now heads to the State Senate for consideration. If passed, the bill will issue a letter grade for each of the following: student academic performance, student academic improvement; English learner progress; graduation rates; and the academic performance of students compared to students in demographically similar schools. Schools will also receive a rating of “significantly above average” to “significantly below average” for each of the following: chronic absenteeism; assessment participation; and performance of student groups compared to the statewide average for the group. Unlike prior versions of the bill, the Michigan Department of Education will be responsible for creating the full grading system, with oversight by a peer review panel appointed by the Governor and legislative leaders.

Teacher Preparation Bills (HBs 559856025605): Five bills intended to improve teacher preparation in Michigan passed the House earlier this month and received a hearing the Senate. In order to make it to the Governor’s desk, the bills would need to be passed out of the Senate Education Committee and passed by the full Senate this week. For more details on each of the bills, see our December 11 update.

Public “Innovative” Schools and Districts (HBs 6314 & 6315): This pair of bills would enable public schools and school districts to reclassify themselves as “public innovative” schools and districts. One designated “public innovative,” the schools and districts would be exempt from several critical requirements for public schools. Unfortunately, the decision to reclassify lacks meaningful parental input, rigorous vetting and robust accountability systems to ensure that students are well served by schools under this designation. Schools and districts reclassified also may lack comparable, reliable data – essential for system-wide improvement and needed to inform parents, teacher and policymakers on the success or shortcomings of educational practices. These bills are under consideration by the Senate Education Committee and would need to be passed by both the Committee and the full Senate to make it to the Governor.

Minimizing Data in Educator Evaluations (HBs 5707 & 6401): These bills would reverse a compromise struck in 2015 regarding the use of student growth data in the evaluations of educators. Under current law, 40 percent of an educator’s evaluation comes from student growth data. That 40 percent can be split between state and locally-provided growth data. These bills would reduce the use of data in evaluations to just 25 percent total, with as little as 12.5 percent of an educators evaluation coming from statewide data that is comparable between districts. The bills passed the House shortly before 4 a.m on Thursday morning, after a 17-hour session day. They now move to the Senate for consideration. Ed Trust-Midwest opposes these bills because they move Michigan backward in critical efforts to improve the quality of classroom instruction while not addressing the serious concerns often cited by proponents – the need for greater data consistency and reliability; relevant, higher quality professional development and ensuring that educators are empowered through actional feedback and relevant supports.

Proposed School Aid Disinvestments: As end-of-year spending bills wrap up, Ed Trust-Midwest continues to monitor for proposals that would divert funds intended for the School Aid Fund for income tax refunds and road construction. At a time when Michigan’s education system has seen years of consistent decline in key indicators of student learning such as third-grade reading, we urge state leaders to invest in strategies to make the system more effective for improving teaching and learning for students.

We're Hiring

The Education Trust-Midwest is looking for talented champions for equity to join our team. Current openings include:

  • Associate, External Relations
  • Senior Data and Policy Analyst
  • 2019 Winter K-12 Research and Policy Intern
  • 2019 Summer K-12 Research and Policy Intern

Visit for more information on the positions and to apply.

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