Press Release

Now MDE Must Play Unprecedented Leadership Role in Ensuring Quality Educator Evaluations, Improved Feedback and Higher Student Achievement

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (Oct. 20, 2015) – Today Michigan legislative leaders took a major step forward in efforts to make Michigan a top ten education state for learning and improve the quality of teaching for Michigan educators. The state Senate concurred in support of House legislation that is expected to create Michigan’s first statewide educator evaluation and support system. The bill now heads to Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.

Senate Bill 103 (Pavlov – R) will provide more than $14 million dollars and a beginning framework of an improvement-oriented evaluation system, including minimum standards for fair and comparable measures of teacher impact on student learning growth and new state standards for educator evaluation tools. A key amendment to the bill also makes Michigan’s master teacher pathway much more meaningful — and focused on elevating the state’s top teaching talent.

“Unlike leading education states, Michigan has not invested in nor developed new systems to better train and support Michigan’s existing teachers,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “We’ve done even less for school leaders.”

“Now the Michigan Department of Education can change that. It will need to play an unprecedented leadership role in systems change, oversight and ensuring the new system is providing sophisticated feedback to teachers, improving instruction across all districts and dramatically raising student achievement,” Arellano added. “Combined with the state’s new college- and career-ready standards for teaching and learning, this is a huge opportunity for Michigan students.”

Among the MDE’s responsibilities in developing and leading on the new system:

  • The MDE is charged with ensuring more than $14 million dollars is spent on training evaluators of teachers on the use of research-based observation models.
  • The MDE is charged with providing high-caliber growth data generated from the state assessment as one measure among many for evaluations, as well as a stronger data system that includes tailored feedback for improvement to Michigan teachers, teacher roster verification and improved accessibility of data to inform instruction.
  • Leading education states have developed transparent non-partisan partnerships to provide feedback on early implementation; thoughtful business rules to ensure evaluation ratings are produced fairly; a rubric to help evaluators combine data from different measures; certification of evaluators; a research-based student survey for districts to include students’ input in evaluations; and other supports to ensure evaluations are reliable, helpful and productive. We encourage the MDE to develop similar high-caliber work.

“The thoughtful implementation of strong systems of educator evaluation and support have been key to the success of leading education states, such as Tennessee,” Arellano said. “Every student – regardless of where they live, family income, race or background – deserves a great teacher. This legislation is a step toward making that a reality.”

The leadership of Sen. Phil Pavlov (R, St. Clair Township), Rep. Amanda Price (R, Park Township), Rep. Adam Zemke (D, Ann Arbor), Sen. Margaret O’Brien (R, Kalamazoo County) and Rep. Lisa Lyons (R, Alto) was critical to the development of the newly proposed system. Many others, from Governor Snyder from Dean Deborah Ball at the University of Michigan’s School of Education, invested much effort into the new system.

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The Education Trust-Midwest (ETM) promotes high academic achievement for all Michigan students at all levels – pre-kindergarten through college — with a particular focus on African American, Latino, American Indian and low-income students. As a non-partisan education research, policy, technical assistance and policy organization, ETM works alongside parents, educators, policy makers, and community and business leaders in Michigan to transform schools into institutions that serve all students well.

Ed Trust-Midwest also houses the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). Led by veteran educators who have deep expertise and experience in high-poverty schools, the CETL with the ETM team provides instructional support, coaching, consulting, data analytic and other technical assistance to P-12 schools and educators.