The Craig Fahle Show

A Delay in Teacher Evaluation Standards Could be Coming

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lawmakers could once again delay the implementation of a new statewide teacher evaluation system. Jake Neher, Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, filed this report:

State education officials would no longer oversee K-12 standardized testing in Michigan under a bill in the state House. It would move those duties to the state Department of Treasury.

The state Legislature and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) have been sparring in recent months over standardized tests. The MDE wants to replace the state’s MEAP test with a computer-based exam that measures student growth – unlike the MEAP. But lawmakers say the department is dragging its heels on looking into other options, including keeping the MEAP.

“We’ve had some challenges in dealing with the Department of Education,” said state Rep. Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck).

Genetski introduced House Bill 5581 Wednesday. “And it seems at times as if we’re dealing with more of a political animal than an aspect of the administration.”

“When the person crafting your budget tells you that you’re going to do this, and you continually say ‘we can’t,’ I think there’s other people who can,” said Genetski.

State law requires the new evaluation system to be in place during the current school year. State Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor) says that clearly isn’t going to happen.

“We don’t have all our ducks in a row," he says. "And everyone said, rather than cause more problems, let’s just delay the whole thing and see if we can get on the same page and then move forward.”

The state Department of Treasury oversaw standardized tests under former Governor John Engler - a Republican. Democratic former Governor Jennifer Granholm gave those duties back to the MDE.

The state Senate has unanimously voted to push back the deadline until the 2015-2016 school year. The bill would also reduce from 50% to 40% the portion of teacher evaluations that would be based on standardized tests that measure student growth.

-- Posted by: Laura Weber-Davis