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State Board Approves Reform Priorities
February 8, 2011
LANSING – With bi-partisan support, the State Board of Education approved today several measures to dramatically move Michigan education forward, including a package of school reform priorities in anticipation of Governor Rick Snyder’s special message to the state legislature on education, slated for April.
The Board also gave approval to improve the passing scores for the MEAP and Michigan Merit Exam state assessments to better reflect a student’s college and career readiness; and agreed to an improved state accreditation system of data transparency and accountability.
In the unanimous adoption of its reform priorities, the Board made recommendations to re-organize schools to improve education performance, including linking part of the state’s education foundation funding to student achievement growth.
“Our goal is a performance-driven education system,” said Board President John Austin, “where Michigan’s students advance at grade-level or faster, and graduate from high school with the skills needed for post-secondary learning without needing remedial work. Our recommendations lay the foundation for this results-driven system in Michigan.”
The Board also unveiled a comprehensive approach to support and enhance teacher quality, including teacher tenure reforms that link teacher licensure with the ability to increase student achievement; and new plans to reward “master” teachers, and enhance teacher career paths.
“The actions taken by the State Board today are bold and progressive,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. “They displayed great leadership and steadfastness in doing what is right for the children of this state.”
The State Board’s reform priorities address the needs of both students and educators, said Board Vice President Casandra Ulbrich.
“Helping all students master the challenging content we now require in Michigan is dependent on the skills, ability and motivation of the teacher in the classroom,” said Ulbrich. “That is why we must advance policies that ensure new teachers are prepared to teach Michigan’s tough curriculum to all students, receive mentoring opportunities and that they get the ongoing professional development, performance evaluation, and career rewards needed to be effective in advancing student achievement.”
The State Board also reiterated the call it made in its May 2010 Reforms, Restructuring and Revenues Report, for Michigan to make difficult changes to legacy health and pension systems, along with school organization and service delivery, in order to fully finance the “core elements” of education—universal pre-school and kindergarten, K-12, and support for post-secondary degree attainment for all Michigan citizens.
One of the focal points in the reform priorities is the development of key partnerships between public and private institutions, including universities and key education stakeholders.
“If we are to truly address the needs of students and educators in these Board-supported reform measures, it is imperative to enter into public-private partnerships at a local level,” said Nancy Danhof, State Board Secretary. “This will help provide assessment of professional and student needs, followed by a robust system of professional mentors, resources, consultants, and professional learning, paired with the needs in each of Michigan’s more than 4,000 schools.”
The Board also took action on several of its priority recommendations at Tuesday’s meeting—raising the scores needed for proficiency on the MEAP and Michigan Merit Examination to match national benchmarks for college and career readiness, and making changes to the Michigan School Accreditation System (MI-SAAS) to better identify chronically underperforming schools that need intervention. As intended, the MI-SAAS plan will be sent to the state House and Senate education committees for their review.
The Board also called for creating efficiencies and improving performance by consolidating Michigan’s 80 early childhood initiatives in a new Department of Education-housed Agency for Early Childhood Education; and exploring whether similar efficiencies could be found by combining duplicative youth mental health agencies and services.
> Education Improvement and Reform Priorities ? Recommendations to Governor Snyder and the Legislature - 68153 bytes
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