Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Today, at the Michigan Capitol: Will Two Terrible Bills Go to the Full House?

Michigan Parents for Schools is reporting:

They may try to push the 3rd grade retention and A-F ratings bills out of committee and through the full House tomorrow. 

Bill #1: Third Grade Retention

The third grade retention bill says that kids have to read proficiently by third grade, or they'll be held back. MIPFS calls it an "all stick, no help" bill.

Writes MIPFS: 

They've softened the bill a bit since it was first introduced, but the basic thrust is still the same. Instead of helping schools serve challenged students, instead of providing the resources schools need to run quality reading programs, the bill proposes simply to hold students back. Does this make any sense to you? It certainly doesn't to us.

Take action on the third grade "read better, or else" bill here

Bill #2: Grading Schools Like an Appliance

Last year the schools were given a color-coding system as a way to "help" inform the public about school quality (based, naturally, on standardized testing). That system didn't make any sense to me,** and now the proposal is to scrap that for a replacement system in which schools would be graded from A to F. 

According to MIPFS, 

Now we have HB 5112, which proposes to scrap that whole (brand new) system and replace it with a simplistic rating that gives every school and district a letter grade from A to F. Not only that, but this "grade" would be based almost entirely on standardized test scores and would grade schools "on a curve," ensuring that some will always "fail." 

We're not shopping for toaster-ovens here.

Take action on the "grading schools like appliances" bill here.

Also, PLEASE: Share this information about these bills on facebook, twitter, your email lists--the children of this state thank you!

**By the way, if you are interested, Okemos Parents for Schools nicely dissected the ridiculousness of the color coding system in this post

Under the new model, every school receives a color on a scale of green, lime-green, yellow, orange, or red - in descending order:
A school earns a color based on the number of points it amasses — two points for each goal met, , one point for each goal met by demonstrating improvement, and zero points if the goal isn’t met at all. Schools that earn 85% or more of the points possible are assigned a green color. To get lime green, they have to earn 70% to 84% of their points; yellow, 60% to 69%; orange, 50% to 59%; and red, below 50%.Michigan to debut color-coded system for measuring school performance, Detroit Free Press, Aug. 19, 2013.
You can see how Okemos scored on the state's Accountability scorecard. As a district, Okemos scored "Orange," the second to lowest rating.  However, every building scored "Yellow," one step higher.  Yet, in every category, every building scored "Green."  How can that be?

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