Michigan Department of Education

standardized testing photo
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The Michigan Department of Education again has asked the U.S. Department of Education to waive standardized testing for the 2020-2021 school year so Michigan teachers can focus on making sure students are caught up in their education. State Superintendent Michael Rice says in the request that Michigan can't safely and uniformly administer a fair standardized test. Standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year was waived for Michigan, but U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told states to expect testing to come back for the 2020-2021 school year.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she's troubled by the record of Donald Trump's pick for education secretary. The Massachusetts Democrat said Betsy DeVos' advocacy for school choice and charter schools amounts to support for policies that would drain taxpayer dollars from public schools to "unaccountable private and for-profit operators."

In a letter to DeVos on Monday, Warren also faulted what she called DeVos' "paper-thin record on higher education and student debt."

school lockers
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A plan will go ahead to let private and religious schools get taxpayer money for health and safety programs mandated by the state. 

That’s after the Michigan Supreme Court declined to weigh in on the issue.

Governor Rick Snyder asked the court for a non-binding but influential advisory opinion on whether the new budget provision violates the Michigan Constitution’s ban on direct or indirect state financial support for non-public schools.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley speaks on the Capitol steps about special education reforms at an October rally.
Courtesy photo / Michigan Governor's Office

While most of the rallies these days are focused on presidential candidates, a different kind of rally took place on the State Capitol lawn. 

Parents, lawmakers and advocates gathered on Wednesday to raise awareness for the needs of special education students.

A recent package of bills banning the use of restraint and seclusion in classrooms except in cases of an emergency is making its way through the legislature.

This legislation came from a recommendation by the Special Education Reform Task Force.

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Seven schools have been released from the state’s list of lowest-performing schools. But 124 schools remain.

The Michigan School Reform Office released a list of the bottom five percent of schools based on academic performance Thursday.

Thirty-one schools were named so-called priority schools for the first time. The rest have been on the list before.

Most of the schools on the list come from Detroit, but also include schools in Benton Harbor, Flint, Grand Rapids, and the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan.

school lockers
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At least half of students in every grade scored “below proficient” on every subject of the M-STEP, this year’s state standardized test.

Still, the Michigan Department of Education is happy with the improvements that have been made.

The results show gains in two-thirds of the grades and subjects tested compared to last year.

standardized testing photo
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Michigan students improved in slightly more than half of the grades and subjects tested on newer, more rigorous standardized assessments, but their proficiency declined in other areas.

M-STEP results released Tuesday show that fewer than half of the students were proficient in 17 of 18 subject-grade tests.

Book photo
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Michigan is set to release the results of student scores on newer, more rigorous standardized tests.

The M-STEP scores will be made public Tuesday by the state Department of Education.

Students took the annual assessment in the spring.

It was given for the first time in 2015 after replacing the 44-year-old Michigan Education Assessment Program, or MEAP.

Schools in the bottom 5 percent are monitored for improvement and potentially can be placed into a state turnaround district or be closed.

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Officials say at least 23 Michigan school districts are projected to end fiscal year 2016 with a budget deficit.

The Detroit News reports the number is down from last year, when there were 41 school districts on the list.

Officials say seven of the districts on the 2016 list will have deeper debt than the previous year, including Detroit's public school district.

Bill DiSessa, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education, says school districts across the state have seen their enrollment numbers plummet.

Courtesy, Michigan Department of Education

A west Michigan educator is the state’s Teacher of the Year. 

Tracy Horodyski of Kenowa Hills Public Schools received the award Friday from the Michigan Department of Education.

Horodyski is a reading interventionist and literacy coach at Zinser Elementary.

The department says she has 16 years of educational experience and was selected out of 178 Michigan nominees.

In a statement, Michigan Superintendent Brian Whiston calls her an “extraordinary representative of our Michigan teachers and the positive impact they make on our schoolchildren.”

Michigan releases more detailed breakdown of school tests

Dec 17, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Education released a more detailed breakdown of results of the state's new, more rigorous standardized tests, highlighting some of the challenges facing educators in Detroit.

16 Michigan districts to come under treasury oversight

Sep 16, 2015

Sixteen Michigan school districts operating with deficits for more than five years are expected to come under oversight of the state Treasury Department under a new law.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston listed the districts Thursday in a quarterly update to lawmakers.

Five districts - Detroit, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, Benton Harbor and Pontiac - already are operating under a state-appointed emergency manager or consent agreement.

The other 11 districts will have to submit an enhanced deficit elimination plan to the state treasurer.