A few local public-school bureaucracies in Michigan don’t want you to know how badly they may have failed your kids. At the same time, they’re forcing parents to jump through hoops to get their kids evaluated.
President Joe Biden’s administration says obtaining data on student learning requires high-quality statewide assessments which can “help identify where opportunity gaps are persistent and where they have been exacerbated – particularly during the pandemic.”
But Governor Gretchen Whitmer and state Superintendent Michael Rice have repeatedly gone out of their way to make it tougher for kids to learn and for parents and teachers to address learning gaps.
Following their lead, some school district bureaucrats in different parts of the state have spent the last few weeks reaching out to parents to actively discourage them from allowing their kids to take the M-STEP, an assessment tied to emergency supports, learning coaches, and tutoring help.
The Biden administration doesn’t mince words.
When Rice and the state’s school bureaucracy tried to get a waiver for the M-STEP, the President’s team smacked them down, telling Lansing “the benchmark assessments available to Michigan LEAs do not replace statewide summative assessments…” and local districts should “do the best they can to maximize the number of students who are assessed with comparable, reliable, and valid statewide summative assessments.”
Local bureaucrats dismissal of educators guidance, and their blatant attempt to prevent you from learning exactly where your kids stand is shocking, it’s appalling, and it’s wrong.
More than ever this year, it’s up to parents to fight for their kids’ education. At GLEP we’ll always fight alongside you.
Executive Director, Great Lakes Education Project
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“It’s about time. All along the science and data has shown that younger kids are not transmitting this virus to adults.”
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“We want some data to see where we have some fragile learning places coming off of a pretty bizarre learning year (so we can) integrate that into the learning next year,” he said.
The M-STEP is the state of Michigan’s “summative” assessment. In other words, it measures what and how much students know, and whether or not they are meeting state and national standards. It’s designed to identify student successes and learning gaps, if they exist, for parents and teachers, so they can get their students up to grade-level and ensure they don’t fall behind their peers both locally and across the nation.
Those assessments are more important than ever as students emerge from 15 months of pandemic-learning.
The Biden administration has provided additional flexibility to the state to administer assessments in ways that support students and educators because of its “commitment to effectively address existing and increased gaps in opportunity exacerbated by the pandemic.”
This isn’t hard. If parents and teachers don’t know where learning deficits have occurred, they’ll have a pretty tough time addressing them.
Did your student take the M-STEP? Did your local district try to prevent you from accessing critical data about your child?
You deserve answers today. Contact your superintendent. Plan to attend your next school board meeting. Speak out.