By Amber Arellano
Executive Director, Education Trust – Midwest
Despite glaring weaknesses and widespread bipartisan criticism, the U.S. Department of Education has approved the State of Michigan’s proposed plans for what are supposed to be thoughtful state-level systems of educational improvement. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos approved the plan tonight.
The plan, developed under the Every Student Succeeds Act, was widely panned by educational experts, equity-minded advocates, Governor Rick Snyder, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and even the U.S. Department of Education. Michigan revised the plan five times to address what the U.S. Department of Education called “insufficient” and in need of “substantial revisions.”
Michigan had the opportunity — and the responsibility — to develop the statewide improvement systems that have been so hugely successful at raising student achievement in leading education states such as Massachusetts and Tennessee. That opportunity largely has been squandered — and that is a tremendous disservice to every Michigan student, but especially vulnerable children who need leaders at every level to insist on better outcomes for them.
Every Michigan student should have access to a high-quality school. Every Michigan parent should be able to count on knowing that schools are accountable for educating students, and have access to honest, accessible, meaningful information about local school quality. Every Michigan educator should have honest, aligned college- and career-ready data to inform their instruction – along with helpful support for their instruction. Michigan students and educators deserve no less, yet that is exactly what the Michigan Department of Education has delivered.
For years, Michigan has fallen behind other states in educational quality and now is among the bottom ten states for many important measures, such as early literacy. This plan demonstrates that the Michigan Department of Education is far more committed to a declining status quo than building the high-quality, honest improvement systems that could actually help Michigan become a top ten education state.
What do you think of the state of Michigan’s lack of plannning to improve our children’s education? Let us know @DetroitSchlTalk. We really want to know. We want to tell your story. @ArellanoTweets @EdtrustMidwest @MIEducation @MILeg #Voices4Ed #Kidsb4Adults
The Education Trust-Midwest is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to improving outcomes for all Michigan students, especially for African American, Latino, American Indian, and low-income students. The Education Trust-Midwest believes in the power of intelligent education policy and practices — informed by data, research, and the successes of other states — to make Michigan a top ten education state for all students.