Tuesday’s election put Democrats in charge of the state House, Senate and governor’s office. That could mean bonuses for teachers, more funding for vulnerable districts and an end to the third-grade reading law.
Local school boards across Michigan are seeing more candidates running on LGBTQ books, transgender rights and history curricula than on the more prosaic concerns of school leaders, including budgets and boosting student achievement.
Conservative parents and advocates are filling Lansing meetings of the state board to read excerpts from school library books with sexual themes. They want bans or restrictions on explicit material, but school books are selected at the local level.
Scores in math and English/Language Arts were mostly down this year compared to before the pandemic on the Michigan standardized test known as M-STEP. The results are likely to heavily impact education spending priorities.
There is a steep increase this year in the percentage of third-graders behind in reading skills — a troubling trend that was far worse for students who spent significant time learning remotely when they were in second grade during the pandemic.
State lawmakers approved funding to ensure students in grades 8 through 12 develop a deeper understanding of the state’s 12 federally recognized tribes, tribal governance, the Trail of Tears and the history of abuse at federally funded boarding schools.
Tips about planned school attacks rolled in after the Oxford High School shooting. But the OK2SAY confidential tip line also allowed officials help students in distress, including those who were suicidal.
Michigan now has 10 alternative certification programs, intended to help reduce a shortage of classroom teachers by finding candidates outside traditional college education programs. Critics worry they compromise teaching standards, shortchanging students.
About 700 Michigan schools have adopted the TRAILS program to help students manage their emotions, de-escalate conflict and make better decisions. The program received a huge funding increase in the latest budget deal.
Currently, most college students studying to become teachers must work for free while student teaching, a burden that creates one more obstacle to pursuing a teaching career. The bill would pay them $90 a day, and also pay their classroom mentors.
Nearly 5,700 families have been notified that their children tested a year or more behind in reading, making them eligible to be held back a year. But few children actually repeat third grade due to generous loopholes in the law.