A Message to Michigan Senators

(Note:  This post was written by Melanie Kurdys, Co-Founder of Stop Common Core in Michigan)

Michigan Senators,

SB 826 Repeal & Replace Common Core in Michigan passed the Senate Education Committee, without amendment.  It is awaiting a vote by the Senate as a whole.

One of the possible delays with the legislation may be the SB 826 Senate Fiscal Analysis  which suggests:

   “The bill would have a significant negative fiscal impact on the Department of Education and local school districts and boards.”

We respectfully disagree.

First, the House Appropriations Bill calls for the current state assessment, M-Step to be dropped and replaced with a computer-adaptive assessment.  THIS strategy would be extremely costly to the MDE as well as local districts.  Building a brand new assessment is expensive. Computer-adaptive state-wide assessments are an experiment prone to significant start-up problems and REQUIRE every school district in the state to have current and adequate computer technology and internet access.

SB 826 calls for the adoption of the Massachusetts pre-Common Core assessment, a proven, paper and pencil assessment.  Years of actual questions, answers, cut scores and disaggregated student achievement are available FOR FREE online.  All Michigan needs to do is modify Social Studies questions to reflect MI history instead of MA.  The cost and administration of a paper and pencil assessment is far less than a computer based assessment.  And based on our experience with M-Step, the results will be available to the schools in a much more timely manner!

Second, local districts do not have to change their curriculum.  Local districts and importantly, teachers, will have the freedom to teach using best practice, rather than an experimental cookie-cutter approach.  They can change if they choose, but change is not required.

Finally, the cost of the failed Common Core experiment is profound.  A failed first attempt at a Common Core aligned assessment, M-Step, is just the tip of the iceberg.  More sustained and substantial costs include:

–          wasted education time focusing on testing, teaching to the test and testing more,

–          frustrated children at key points in their life, turning them off to education,

–          angry parents moved to fight with their impotent local school boards and superintendents,

–          lost credibility in accountability and the entire public education in Michigan.

The best, most economical approach to getting MI education system back on track, is to Repeal & Replace Common Core as defined in SB 826.  Pass this bill TODAY!