A bill to repeal the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Michigan also would allow parents to opt their students out of any school activity – including classroom tests and assignments – among a number of poorly designed provisions in the proposal.
No educator voices were included in discussions of what should replace the CCSS under a repeal. House Bill 4192, proposed by Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland), would adopt Massachusetts state standards from 2009 – before that state opted to switch to the common core.
Michigan school districts would be allowed to vary from the standards, based on local school board decisions about curricula, yet educators would still be held accountable for student performance on standardized state assessments – which would change to tests used by Massachusetts prior to 2010.
At a House committee hearing last week, speakers noted that the higher performance of Massachusetts students on standardized tests could be related to the fact that state spends $1 billion more on educating approximately 3 million fewer students than Michigan.
Asked by Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) if a high school would be required to award diplomas to students who opted out of classroom tests and exams, Glenn could not provide an answer. The Detroit Free Press called the plan “madness” in a column after the hearing.
MEA opposes making rushed changes to standards after educators have spent countless hours of work on implementation, and more than $250 million has been spent on materials and training related to the CCSS, a set of rigorous expectations adopted by more than 40 states in recent years.
HB 4192 would not allow further changes to the standards for five years. Under the bill, school districts could adopt curricula that differ from the standards. Districts would be required to develop a curriculum plan by grade level and make it available for public review and comment.
“This is a complex issue that imposes changes to standards which do not carefully address the needs of Michigan students and educators,” MEA Lobbyist David Michelson said.