Michigan Must Support Its Most Valuable Education Resource – Teachers and School Leaders
director of government affairs, of The Education Trust-Midwest, testified to the
Michigan Senate Education Committee on the importance of educator evaluation and support. Their testimony follows.
Thank you for giving us the chance to speak to you today about Michigan’s statewide system of educator support and evaluation. I am Jason Mancini, director of government affairs at The Education Trust-Midwest (ETM). With me today is Sarah Lenhoff, our director of policy and research. ETM is a nonpartisan, data-driven, education research, information and advocacy organization. We work to serve as a source of nonpartisan information and expertise – and a partner to state leaders, educators and others – about Michigan education and achievement gap closing.First, we’d like to thank lawmakers for your leadership on the development of this new system focused on raising teaching and learning in our schools. From the very beginning of this system’s development in the 2011 tenure reforms, the legislature has been a leader on the issue of raising teaching quality.Clearly, Michigan desperately needs this new system. Today, Michigan is at or near the bottom for student learning and improvement among all 50 states in most subjects and grades. In key subjects, like 4th grade reading, our students are actually learning at lower levels today than they were ten years ago. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The state of Tennessee provides us a good model of how a teacher evaluation and support system can help dramatically and quickly transform our schools – and Michigan students’ learning levels.Tennessee has been far outpacing Michigan – and the national average – in student improvement since 2011. Indeed, it is now the nation’s leading state for student improvement, according to the national assessment. These gains are being made not just for white students but for African-American students, too.
Tennessee’s leaders attribute this extraordinary improvement to their implementation and investment in their statewide educator support and evaluation system, along with higher standards. In fact, none of the leading education states have improved student achievement without holding teachers accountable and supporting their improvement.Today we’d like to highlight just a few of the reasons why Senate Bill 103 could be a game changer for Michigan educators:
As Tennessee and plenty of leading states demonstrate, educational improvement can start with good policy, but it needs investment and sustained implementation to make it soar in classrooms.Thank you for your time today.
The Education Trust-Midwest is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to improving outcomes for all Michigan students, especially for African American, Latino, American Indian and low-income students. The Education Trust-Midwest believes in the power of intelligent education policy and practices — informed by data, research and the successes of other states — to make Michigan a top ten education state for all students.