It’s MEAP vs. Smarter Balanced; state aid vs. NCLB waiver

Battle lines are being drawn between state lawmakers and State Superintendent Mike Flanagan over the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests. Lawmakers want the test to be given next year; Flanagan says it’s not an option.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is field-testing a replacement test based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). MDE has already recommended an exam produced by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

But Representatives put a provision in the House’s version of the 2014-15 proposed state school aid budget that would only give funds to schools if they give the MEAP test next year. MDE would be required to produce the test.

Flanagan insists that Smarter Balanced has to be used or Michigan will lose its waiver from No Child Left Behind that requires a test that measures student growth. The MEAP doesn’t do that. He also said there was not enough time to get schools ready for the MEAP. In addition, the state will lose almost a billion dollars in title money.

Legislators blocked funding from the 2013-14 MDE budget for implementation of CCSS without their permission. The Legislature ordered a report analyzing all of the state’s testing options before they would give permission for any money. MDE recommended Smarter Balanced as the only choice for the next three years.