Press Release

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Donnell Green

State must now ensure students receive aligned, high-quality tests; Senate resolution’s language may cause confusion, however

ROYAL OAK, MICH. (October 24, 2013) – After hours of testimony and weeks of analysis, today the Senate voted to trust the judgment of Michigan’s local school districts and teachers and restore funding for Common Core State Standards. The Senate resolution is an affirmation of the Common Core and Michigan students, who will now be better prepared to succeed after high school. Higher standards will also brighten our state’s economic future by producing graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete for 21st century jobs.

“We are grateful to Governor Rick Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and the many Republican and Democratic leaders for taking the next step toward ensuring that all students, no matter where they attend school, will be held to high expectations,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest, a non-partisan education research and policy organization dedicated to raising all Michigan students’ achievement.

“Our focus should now turn to making sure the standards mean something in the lives of students – and actually lead to greater learning,” she added. “Parents also deserve honest, comparable information about how our students are performing to others around the country. That means we must use a high-caliber assessment that is aligned to Michigan’s Common Core.”

Some of the Senate resolution’s language may cause confusion about what the state’s options are when the Michigan Department of Education must finalize its choice of a state assessment that is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.  For example, the Senate resolution calls for an assessment that “provides real time results” about student achievement. Common Core-aligned assessments would not meet such criteria.

“Common Core focuses on developing students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities — the real-world skills that they will need in college or the workforce after high school,” Arellano said. “For high standards to succeed, our students also need high-quality assessments aligned to the standards.”

State funding for Common Core implementation and assessments has been on hold since Oct. 1, the beginning of the state’s new fiscal year.

The Michigan Coalition for High Student Standards, — with more than 130 Michigan education, teacher, parent, business, community and military organizations, including Ed Trust-Midwest — has urged legislators through the summer and fall to restore state funding for Common Core.

The Education Trust-Midwest is Michigan’s only data-driven, non-partisan state-wide research and advocacy organization focused on what is best for Michigan students. Our mission is to work for the high achievement of all students, particularly low-income, African-American, Latino and American-Indian students in Michigan, and to provide honest, reliable information and expertise to our state’s families and policymakers.