2015-12-17 / Community

State Board of Education adopts Strategic Goals to make Michigan a Top 10 Education State in 10 years

By John Bonke
Staff Writer • 810-452-2668 • jbonke@mihomepaper.com

LANSING — The State Board of Education recently adopted Strategic Goals to help make Michigan a Top 10 education state in 10 years. These goals were developed following formal presentations to the State Board of Education, discussions between State Superintendent Brian Whiston and state Legislative leaders, and input from a broad contingent of education stakeholders, specialists within the Michigan Department of Education, and the general public.

“Nothing is more important to grow new jobs, see rising incomes, and create economic security for Michigan families than to educate all our people to the highest possible levels,” said State Board of Education President John C. Austin. “An essential foundation is to deliver the essential skills needed in early childhood and K-12 education for later success. These goals will guide us to get where we belong in Michigan, among the top states in learning outcomes and educational attainment.”

Work will continue in the generation of strategies to accomplish these goals and how progress on those goals will be measured. Whiston is expected to bring a finalized plan to the State Board early next year.

To realize Michigan becoming a Top 10 education state within the next 10 years, the existing structure and system of education must be challenged and reshaped. Michigan must establish an education system that grants indelible rights for all stakeholders to succeed - a system focused more on what is best for children and their learning.

One legislator would like to see more immediate changes.

“I’m encouraged by the fact that the state Board of Education is committed to improving educational outcomes for our students, but they don’t have 10 years to wait,” said Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair Township). “My hope is that the Board will be addressing some more immediate challenges as well.”

• M-STEP baseline set

Michigan students helped set the course for success when they took the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) this past spring, establishing a new baseline for performance, according to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).

“I’m thrilled that Michigan was a leading state in successfully implementing a new assessment system,” Whiston said. “In 2010, we raised the bar on our state standards and our test now reflects that rigor.”

“This was an all-new and more rigorous test and the statewide results will be lower than we’ve seen in the past, and that’s ok,” Whiston said. “M-STEP sets up a new baseline from which to improve and set us on our way to be a Top Ten education state in 10 years.”

After 44 years of the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) test, 82 percent of Michigan students across the state sat down in front of computers to take the first-ever M-STEP. A paper-and-pencil option also was available for buildings not yet prepared to test online.

Whiston said the M-STEP measures the state’s standards, which give students a deeper understanding to what they are learning. The standards now take students from just knowing the facts, to learning how to use those facts to understand context, apply them to problem solve, and make those facts relevant in their lives.

In Spring 2016, Michigan students will take the M-STEP in grades 3-8. Students in grade 11 will take the Michigan Merit Exam, which includes the SAT, WorkKeys, and M-STEP science and social studies tests. New for Spring 2016, students in grades 9 and 10 will take the PSAT.

• New Science standards

Michigan students will get a deeper understanding of science and its application in the world around them with new state science standards adopted in November by the State Board of Education. They replace the standards adopted in 2006, and introduce science and engineering practices.

“These new Michigan Science Standards will help our terrific Michigan science educators engage young people in the doing of science, solving real world problems, and getting excited about pursuing science and engineering careers, said Austin. “They also send a clear message that Michigan is serious about being the top science and engineering state, preparing the talent to solve the problems of the future right here in Michigan.”

Additionally, the new standards are a set of student performance expectations and incorporate three main elements: Disciplinary Core Ideas (science specific concepts in the life, earth, and physical sciences); Science and Engineering Practices (the practices of engaging in scientific investigation to answer questions, and engineering design to solve problems); and Cross-Cutting Concepts (conceptual ideas common to all areas of science).

Strategic Goals

• Goal 1: Provide every child access to an aligned, high-quality P-20 system from early childhood to post-secondary attainment - through a multi-stakeholder collaboration with business and industry, labor, and higher education - to maximize lifetime learning and success.

• Goal 2: Implement, with strong district and building leadership, high-quality instruction in every classroom through a highly coherent, child-centered instructional model where students meet their self-determined academic and personal goals to their highest potential.

• Goal 3: Develop, support, and sustain a high-quality, prepared, and collaborative education workforce.

• Goal 4: Reduce the impact of high-risk factors, including poverty, and provide equitable resources to meet the needs of all students to ensure that they have access to quality educational opportunities.

• Goal 5: Ensure that parents/guardians are engaged and supported partners in their child’s education.

• Goal 6: Create a strong alignment and partnership with job providers, community colleges, and higher education to assure a prepared and quality future workforce; and informed and responsible citizens.

• Goal 7: Further develop an innovative and cohesive state education agency that supports an aligned, coherent education system at all levels (state, ISD, district and school).

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