Michigan has seen an increase in the state control of school systems. While distinctly trying to remedy issues within the management of school districts, it remains to be seen what impact, if any, these drastic interventions have on student achievement. The overall effect of these takeovers on student achievement remains unexamined. This article aims to gauge the overall effect of these interventions using emergency managers thus far in the State of Michigan.
In March of 2011 Governor Rick Snyder enacted Public Act Four, which allowed for governor appointed Emergency Managers to take control of financially failing cities and the school districts that resided inside of them. In May of 2011, not too long after Public Act Four's enactment, Detroit Public Schools were handed over to newly appointed Emergency Manager Roy Roberts. Then, that following June, Governor Rick Snyder and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan announced their outline for education reform for the lowest performing Michigan schools.
On Thursday, February 17, Governor Rick Snyder released his budget proposal for FY 2012 and FY 2013. Mr. Snyder has framed the controversial proposal as a "shared sacrifice." Furthermore, he and fellow Republicans portray the proposal as a necessary step to ameliorate Michigan's structural fiscal problems. They believe it is time to "stop kicking the can down the road." Conversely, Democrats, labor unions, various interest groups, and others have criticized the proposal as being unfair and an abandonment of investment in the state. One of the more contentious issues is education funding.
Over the preceding decade, Michigan lawmakers have made multiple attempts to pass anti-bullying legislation. To the chagrin of advocates of anti-bullying legislation, each attempt has ended in failure. Because of this Michigan remains one of only five states not to have passed anti-bullying legislation; granted, Michigan's State Board of Education recommends that schools adopt an anti-bullying program and has even provided a model anti-bullying program for school boards to adopt. But the lack of legislation has many concerned that school districts are not adopting anti-bullying measures and thus children are vulnerable.
Why is that "all states are above average"?
Written by Andy Chou
Thursday, 03 March 2011 08:33
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the nation’s report card, is the only national evaluation program for United States. It measures student performance on twelve main subject including math, science, reading and arts. NAEP samples a number of schools across the country similar to the demographics of the nation. It gives an overview of how American children are doing. In addition, it breaks down results between the four regions in US (northeast, southeast, central, west) and students with certain demographic feature, for example gender, race, and disabilities. With its concrete standards throughout the years, it is often seen as the golden standard for assessment.
Early NAEP only report national wide results, it does not report state-level data. In fact, NAEP was not originally designed for state comparisons. As most educational policies in the US are implemented in the district or state level, policy makers have been pushing for a valid test on the state level. After a few trial runs, state NAEP is now part of the nation’s report card. Nevertheless, NAEP still have no data on district level. Most states have developed a state assessment to evaluate district-level performance. In Michigan, the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) was used as the state assessment. Comparison between different state assessments is not meaningful due to the varying difficulty of state assessments.
Enormous changes were made after the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, more commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001. NCLB require states to evaluate 4th, 8th grade students regularly with NAEP in math and reading. In other words, states are required to hold up accountability of educational performances by holding tests and report the test results regularly. NCLB also sets the progress plans for the schools. Ultimately, all students have to be “proficient” by 2014.
As discussed by several scholars, the ultimate standard set by NCLB is practically impossible which can be seen as an oxymoron. In addition, schools not fulfilling the agenda will lose some of their funding. This gives the states the incentive to “cheat” on the test. Common measures include states giving out easier tests or setting lower standard of proficiency. Driven by the political pressure, results from states assessment reported that "all states are above average".
An Analysis of Governor Snyder's Budget Proposal for K-12 Education
Written by Andrew Revard
Saturday, 19 February 2011 18:03
On Thursday, February 17, Governor Rick Snyder released his budget proposal for FY 2012 and FY 2013. Mr. Snyder has framed the controversial proposal as a "shared sacrifice." Furthermore, he and fellow Republicans portray the proposal as a necessary step to ameliorate Michigan's structural fiscal problems. They believe it is time to "stop kicking the can down the road." Conversely, Democrats, labor unions, various interest groups, and others have criticized the proposal as being unfair and an abandonment of investment in the state. One of the more contentious issues is education funding. And that is understandable as it composes a significant portion of the state's budget. Therefore, this article will offer a comprehensive analysis of how Mr. Snyder's budget proposal will affect K-12 education. A second succeeding article will analyze the budget proposal's effect on post-secondary education (community colleges and universities).
Michigan Board of Education Approves an Increase in Cut Scores for the MEAP and Michigan Merit Exam
Written by Andrew Revard
Saturday, 12 February 2011 02:44
It was an active week for the Michigan State Board of Education. In addition to its policy recommendations for Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature, it voted to increase the passing scores, popularly known as "cut scores," for both the MEAP and Michigan Merit Exam. The Board approved the increases in a 7-1 vote. State board member Marianne Yared McGuire, a Detroit Democrat, was the lone dissenting vote.
Michigan Board of Education Offers Education Reform Recommendations to Governor Snyder
Written by Andrew Revard
Saturday, 12 February 2011 02:10
The Michigan State Board of Education passed a myriad of reform recommendations this week. The recommendations, entitled the Education Improvement and Reform Priorities - Recommendations to Governor Snyder and the Legislature, received bipartisan, unanimous support from the Board. The recommendations were passed in anticipation of Governor Snyder's planned special address on education to the Michigan Legislature in April. Some of the Board's recommendations were congruous with Governor Snyder's plans. The recommendations pertain to, among other topics, school funding, teacher training and compensation, and universal, life-long learning.
The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College.
The thoughts, opinions, and positions represented herein are solely those of the participating students and in no way represent an official position or policy recommendation of Michigan State University.
Andy Chou and Andrew Revard are Education Policy Correspondents for the Michigan Policy Network. Andy is a first-year student in Economics at Michigan State University. Andrew is a senior in Political Science at MSU.