This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Bob Kefgen's picture

The Senate Education Committee took testimony Tuesday on SB 727, a bill to eliminate the Basic Skills Test (currently the SAT) for teachers going through alternative certification programs…the argument being that the things being assessed may not be relevant for people transitioning to teaching mid-career (i.e. does a former translator who wants to teach Spanish really need to get a a qualifying score on the math potion of the SAT?). Several groups—including a plethora of traditional university teacher preparation programs—urged the committee to expand the bill to encompass traditional programs while the MDE spoke in favor of the bill and the idea of expending it, citing a lack of evidence that a basic skills test helps improve the qualify of the state's teaching workforce. On Wednesday, the School Finance Research Collaborative—a group encompassing a variety of education and business interests backed with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation—released the results of their year-long study into the actual cost of educating students to the level of our state's standards. At 358 pages, the report will take some time for educators and policy makers alike to digest, but among the recommendations are a significantly larger base foundation allowance and a system for adjusting that amount to account for things like geographic differences between districts and the additional costs associated with special needs and ELL students. Finally, the week wrapped up with the Senate Economic Development Committee reporting out SB 684-685, a package of legislation (which MASSP reported on previously) tied to the recommendations of the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance that would amend the state's Education Development Plan and School Improvement Plan laws to add a number of new unfunded mandates and reporting requirements.