Assessments Information Commnetary Common Core Problems Legislative Updates Uncategorized

Where’s the transparency?

Trying to piece together the events in Lansing today is not easy but the net result seems to be clear, the implementation of Common Core will go forward but questions about the assessments and SBAC remain.

Last week, the Senate cowardly gaveled through resolution S-4 as a substitute resolution to HCR-11 previously passed by the House.  S-4 was sent back to the House for approval.   Today, without any discussion of the differences between the two versions the House  passed the substitute resolution.   But it is not clear exactly how it actually happened.   Several lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, are doubting if the resolution was officially adopted.  Here’s how Gongwer described the events,

“When it was gaveled through, [Representative] Mr. McMillin  was waving his arm trying to be recognized to speak, but was ignored. Mr. McMillin also said he had his doubts that the House even officially adopted the resolution, as there was no call for “everyone in support to say aye,” something he said he was listening for. But, Mr. Adler said the resolution was adopted with the substitute.

Representative McMillin wasn’t the only one confused and concerned about the resolution and how it was passed.  MLive reports

Rep. Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge) posted on her official Facebook page after the session saying she had also intended to object to the resolution.

“My request to speak in opposition to the Senate Common Core Resolution was ignored. Resolution was gaveled through without a vote. No transparency!” Abed wrote.

In a comment MLive reporter Ben Smith posted a statement from Ari Adler communications director for Speaker Bolger, explaining what happened in the House today:

“There should be no confusion over what happened in the House today with HCR 11. We did a concurrence vote; Speaker Pro Tem Walsh opened the board for a non-record roll call vote to see if there was support. He saw support and ruled the resolution was adopted as amended.

This is one common way to hold a vote on resolutions. Another is a voice vote, which apparently is what Rep. McMillin was talking about but on which he is in error today regarding HCR 11.

It is also important to note that the House already held a record roll call vote on the initial passage of HCR 11. Today, the House agreed to the Senate’s revisions as the changes were not significant.”

The changes are significant, the new resolution does NOT allow Michigan officials to remove standards they believe are not in the best interest of students.  That may seem insignificant now but in the future, when the standards are changed, Michigan cannot remove them.  With the Common Core, it’s all or nothing.   Sadly, lawmakers had their chance to retain some control in HCR-11 but the substitute resolution, S-4 took that away.

What’s next?

For now, the Michigan Department of Education is allowed to implement the standards and required to give lawmakers a report on related assessments options by December 1.

MLive also reports that there are more discussions to come.

“As we move forward, I think there’s going to be innumerable discussions that follow this, not only on implementation of the standards, but on the assessments to come,” Kelly said.

“I’m looking forward to the December 1 report,” McMillin said. “I think that there’s going to be a lot of interest in Smarter Balanced and whether or not our districts are prepared technologically and cost-wise.”

Today’s “vote” is another cowardly action by state lawmakers.   Lansing has just lowered the bar for all Michigan parents and students. For the standardized test, let’s have our kids not put their name on the test and shout out their answer. The MDE and state officials would be screaming because they don’t have any record of how kids our doing. Accountability for kids but not lawmakers that is what Lansing is teaching our kids.