When Common Core began receiving strong push back from parents across the nation, pro-Common Core advocate Mike Huckabee urged lawmakers to ““Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat.” Governors and state leaders have taken his advice to heart. Recently, Gov. Pence, rebranded the Common Core in Indiana. Is Michigan going to do the same thing and rebrand the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) and call them the “new” MEAP?
It is no secret that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and Superintendent Flannagan want to move forward with Smarter Balanced (SBAC) as the assessment for Michigan students. However due to lawmakers pushing back, language was added to an appropriations bill (SB 775 and HB 5314) which would require Michigan to use a “new” MEAP for the next two years and then in 2016-17 Michigan must implement a new assessment. The amendment was sponsored by in the Senate by Senator Pavlov (R-St. Clair) and in the House by Rep. Lyons (R-Alto), School Aid Subcommittee Chair Bill Rogers (R-Brighton) and Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw).
At first glance, this may seem like a victory but could it be just another rebranding like Indiana? Is the MDE planning on using the content of SBAC and just calling it the “new” MEAP to meet the requirements of this amendment?
An MDE communication, 2014-15 Michigan Statewide Assessment Transition dated April 2, clearly states that the content of the “new” MEAP will come from SBAC.
“MDE will administer the English language arts and mathematics assessments using the content provided by the Smarter Balanced consortium to replace those content area assessments in MEAP, MEAP-Access, and MME.”
This is not a win, if the MDE is sliding in SBAC under the guise of the “new” MEAP. The fact that two two Indiana incumbents lost their primaries because of their vote to “rebrand” common core should serve as a warning to Michigan lawmakers. Parents are in no mood to be fooled by “rebranding.” Contact your lawmakers and let them know you are on to the tricks of the MDE and politicians who use “rebranding” to implement “new” assessments.
UPDATE: MIRS News asked the MDE about the possibility of SBAC being the “new” MEAP. You can read the update here.