This Week & Next (Nov 14, 2014)

MDE Announces New Student Assessment for 2015
Yesterday, the Michigan Department of Education released details of the state’s new student assessment, called the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP), which will replace the state’s 44-year-old MEAP exam and will be used in Spring 2015. This exam represents a new direction for testing in Michigan as the test will be given online (with paper-pencil version available) and it will be based on college and career-ready standards. There will be multiple choice questions but far more open-ended questions than with the MEAP. This format will require students to demonstrate critical thinking skills and more detailed answers. Which test will replace M-STEP in 2016 and beyond is yet to be determined. Click here for MDE’s release and here for additional information on M-STEP.

Will Superintendent Flanagan Suspend Authorizers?
Bowing to substantial partisan political pressure from the Democrat majority on the State Board of Education, Superintendent Flanagan put 11 charter school authorizers on a list of those “at risk” of being suspended from authorizing new charter schools.  We understand that continued private negotiations have been ongoing between the Superintendent and the authorizers. The Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers has formally requested that Superintendent Flanagan utilize the Administrative Rules process to develop an authorizer suspension program, consistent with state law. The Council has also proposed an Authorizer Accreditation program to the Department, and they’ve been working with AdvancEd (a leading national accreditation organization) to implement such a system in the state. Stay tuned.

Search Firm Hired for State Superintendent Selection Process
The State Board of Education met this week and has decided to invest $42,000 with an Iowa firm to lead the search process to select a new Superintendent of Public Instruction to replace Mike Flanagan, who is retiring in June 2015. Based on the 2014 election results, the SBE will continue with a strong 6-2 Democratic majority, and it is expected they will try to hire a new Superintendent who shares their hostility to parental choice and charter public schools. Candidate recruitment is expected to begin immediately, with an announcement in April 2015. Click here to read the full proposal from Ray and Associates.

Jeb Bush Speaks Out on Education Reform
There is no question that Florida has increased academic performance for all students, largely as a result of a bold reform strategy passed in 1999 by Governor Jeb Bush. In a straightforward interview this week, Gov. Bush comments on the benefits of their transparent A─F grading system which give parents simple and accurate information about the effectiveness of their schools. He also supports setting challenging but realistic standards for students – especially early literacy – and ensuring they meet these goals with tests that accurately reflect what they should know. Most importantly, Bush believes that injecting competition into the system through school choice increased pressure on everybody to improve. Click here for the article.

Literacy Summit on Dec 3
Beyond Basics, an organization that is very successful in increasing student academic performance in the Detroit area, is hosting their second annual Literacy Summit on December 3 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. We urge folks to check out the event and consider registering.

Education Reform News Clips

Next Week

Monday, November 17

  • Statewide conference on cyber learning, hosted by MVU

Tuesday, November 18

  • GLEP’s Gary Naeyaert to speak at Kellogg Community College
  • State Board of Education Meeting, click here for the agenda

Wednesday, November 19

  • Edweek Webinar on Supports Beyond 3rd Grade Reading
  • Fordham Event on Elevating Parental Engagement

Thursday, November 20

Friday, November 21

Do you support what GLEP is doing to improve education in Michigan? Please consider making a donation to help us continue our efforts, and all contributions are very much appreciated!!


Gary G. Naeyaert
Executive Director