Joining forces to equip parents on third-grade reading

Last week, the Detroit Parent Network and The Education Trust-Midwest announced a partnership designed to help prepare and equip Detroit area parents for Michigan’s ‘Read by Grade Three’ law.

Made possible through the support of the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, co-developed toolkits for parents and families will be publicly available as a result of this collaboration. Designed to help parents ensure that the needs of their students are being met, the toolkits will focus on the requirements of the law, ways to engage with schools and school districts to support student learning, and identify existing community resources to help students learn to read.

“This partnership joins together the research and policy development expertise of the Education Trust-Midwest with the trusted voice and long history of successful parent engagement of Detroit Parent Network,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest. “We are excited to combine our efforts to help support parents and students in our region.”

“Our children thrive when our families and communities are strong,” added Jametta Lilly, chief executive officer of Detroit Parent Network. “DPN is proud to join with the Education Trust-Midwest in this important strategy that will help expand parent awareness and understanding of the significance of early literacy and the Third Grade Reading Law. We look forward to helping inform and coach parents with the accessible information and peer-to-peer training that supports learning in their home, school and community.”

Passed in fall 2016, Michigan’s ‘read by grade three’ law requires that schools and school districts identify struggling readers, create and implement a plan to improve reading, and communicate clearly with parents about reading progress. Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, students who are not at- or near-proficiency in third-grade reading may be subject to retention.

Read the full release here.

Revised social studies standards responsive to earlier concerns

Last fall, significant pushback to proposed new social studies standards caused the State Board of Education and Michigan Department of Education to review and reconsider proposed changes. As explained in a guest opinion column for Bridge Magazine, Education Trust-Midwest’s Brian Gutman and Lauren Hubbard wrote: “This shared history – the good and the bad – have shaped our national identity. America’s full history is what Michigan students deserve to learn. It is what we, as citizens, need our next generation of leaders to understand.”

Earlier versions of the standards – expectations for what students know and are able to do by the end of each grade – glossed over significant moments in the struggles to achieve civil rights, civil liberties and equality.

After reviewing and revising the draft standards once again, the State Board of Education will consider adopting new social studies standards at their meeting on April 9. The Education Trust-Midwest is pleased that the new draft standards are responsive to concerns raised in our formal comment on the issue, and promote a full and complete education on the struggle for civil rights in America.

Compare the proposed 2019 standards to the draft 2018 standards here.

Capital Update

The Michigan legislature is on recess this week and next. The House and Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, April 9.

The State Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Friday, April 5 at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room of the John A. Hannah building to discuss and review applications for the Superintendent of Public Instruction position. The position is hired by the State Board of Education and a hire is expected by summer.

The State Board of Education will also meet on Tuesday, April 9 at 9:30 a.m. in the Board Room of the John A. Hannah building. The agenda includes presentations on the School Finance Research Collaborative and revised Social Studies standards. Changes to a previous proposal of new social studies standards faced significant backlash for minimizing struggles for civil rights and civil liberties, including by The Education Trust-Midwest.

Tweet of the Week

@colonelb: Strong public schools are vital to our national security. Our military’s success is dependent on members who can apply their knowledge and skills to navigate the increasingly complex tools that keep our country safe. #PublicSchoolProud #MichED