Dr. Michael Rice to be next State Superintendent

Earlier today, the Michigan State Board of Education named Dr. Michael Rice to be the next Superintendent of Public Instruction. Dr. Rice is currently the Superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools. The following statement may be attributed to Amber Arellano, executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest:

“Today, the State Board of Education began a new chapter for Michigan students in the selection of Dr. Michael Rice to lead the Michigan Department of Education. It is now incumbent on Dr. Rice to ensure that Michigan students from every race, zip code and family income level have access to the world-class education that they need and deserve.

“Visionary leadership in leading education states have shaped public education in those places through coherent, equity-minded and student-centered policies, and evidence-based practices. Taking Michigan public education from the national bottom to top ten will require systemic change at all levels.  We hope that Dr. Rice will be the visionary leader that Michigan students need him to be. The Education Trust-Midwest stands ready to partner with Dr. Rice to ensure access and opportunity to a high-quality education for every student.”

OPPOSE: Changes in math requirements would leave students ill-prepared

Proposed changes to high school graduation requirements being considered in the Michigan House of Representatives would leave students unprepared in high school and after graduation.

The bill, House Bill 4271 (Howell – R), would allow students to satisfy a portion of the high school math course requirements by taking Algebra II, statistics or financial literacy. Currently, all students must pass Algebra II. Earlier today, the bill passed the House Committee on Education and will next be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Lowering expectations does not serve any student well, no matter their plan for after high school graduation,” said Brian Gutman, director of external relations at the Education Trust-Midwest. “Algebra II is essential for many postsecondary pathways, and when it is not required, students from low-income families often lack access to this rigorous coursework. At a time when we should be finding ways to tear down barriers to postsecondary success for all students, this would place a new barrier in front of vulnerable students.”

According to Soobin Kim, a researcher at Michigan State University’s School of Education, requiring the course increases access and outcomes for low-income students. “[T]he policy provides opportunity to take advanced courses, which gives them more options as far as career trajectory,” Kim said.

In Meandering Towards Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates, the Education Trust similarly found that math requirements were the greatest barrier to students completing a college-ready curriculum, “not because [students] did not take enough math credits, but because they did not specifically take an algebra II credit.” According to the report, “Algebra II is a course that’s particularly related to enrollment and success in college.”

Furthermore, students are held accountable for Algebra II content on the SAT – the 11th grade state assessment. According to the the College Board, the organization that develops the SAT, “Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 align to…the four SAT [math content] domains.

Every Michigan student should be prepared to succeed after high school, no matter their path. Achieving this goal begins by ensuring that every student has access to rigorous coursework, including Algebra II, and the supports to succeed.


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The Ripple Effect of a Teacher

Capital Update

House Education Committee met this morning to discuss changes to school calendaring and high school graduation requirements. House Bills 4368 (Hornberger – R) – 4369 (Johnson – R) would allow school districts to begin the school year before Labor Day without a state-granted waiver, and eliminate the requirement for ISD-wide common calendars for school breaks. House Bills 4269 (Griffin – R) – 4271 (Howell – R) and 4282 (Hauck -R) would make changes to the math, health, world language and arts graduation requirements of the Michigan Merit Curriculum, including concerning changes to current math requirements.

All of the bills considered by the House Education Committee passed this morning. They will next be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee, before heading to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

State Board of Education is meeting today to interview finalists for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction position. After one finalist candidate withdrew from the hiring process, the Board interviewed Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice at 9:45 a.m., and will interview Wayne RESA Superintendent Rady Liepa at 11:30 a.m., and Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift at 1:45 p.m. The interviews may be live streamed here.

Tweet of the Week

@JohnBKing: As we begin #TeacherAppreciationWeek 2019, profoundly grateful for amazing 4th grade teacher at P.S. 276 in Brooklyn who literally saved my life. He and I talked about my experience in his classroom in this @StoryCorps conversation. #ThankATeacher