In the name of "education reform," and "accountability," the Legislature decided last year that student standardized test scores had to be a factor in teacher and administration evaluations. Their move is now raising some interesting questions: How public should the information on individual teacher and administrator evaluations be? What is the public entitled to know?
Update: Rep. Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) lost her request to reconsider the vote on SB 619 to expand charter schools, but she was successful in her request for a roll call vote on the immediate effect of the bill. The 57-52 vote failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority, so SB 619 will not go into effect until next spring.
April 26, 2012—House Republicans managed to strong-arm enough votes to barely pass SB 619—legislation to expand cyber schools—on a 56-54 vote. Thanks to intense lobbying efforts from MEA members and many other groups, the bill was vastly improved from the original passed by the Senate.
Fifteen amendments were offered, but only six Republican ones were adopted. There was no debate or explanation of any of the amendments.
With the amendments, the bill now reads:
Through Dec. 31, 2013, there can only be five statewide authorizing bodies for cyber schools. The number can double the following year, but there can be no more than 15 after Dec. 31, 2014.
Cyber school enrollment can’t exceed 2,500 in the first year; not more than 5,000 in the second year; and no more than 10,000 in the third year and beyond.
The Department of Education can stop the authorization of any new cyber schools if the number of students enrolled is more than 1 percent of the total student enrollment in public schools for the 2012-13 school year. In 2014, the limit is 2 percent.
Last year’s legislative onslaught of so-called education reform proposals shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In his April 2011 special message on education reform, Gov. Snyder gave marching orders to legislators to lift the charter school cap, overhaul teacher tenure, tie teacher evaluation to student performance, encourage unchecked growth of cyber schools and tie funding to student achievement.
Now, eight months later, Snyder has updated hislist of education reform proposals to reflect legislative changes. He’s also added some new initiatives which give us a glimpse into this year’s political agenda. His emphasis is still on alternative forms of education—especially cyber schools—which dismantle public education and sell it off to private companies.
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE)plans on making the first U.S. Department of Education (DOE) NCLB waiver request deadline of Nov. 14 that would exempt Michigan from meeting a 100 percent proficiency requirement by 2014. The next deadline would be in February.