Thursday, May 15, 2014

Boycott the MEAP if it returns…

The unmitigated legislative hubris of Michigan’s lawmakers is fully exposed as demands for the return of the much reviled MEAP ring loud in the capital’s cambers. For those that are unaware, Michigan schools have, for many years, supported the framework offered by the Common Core Standards. In the Birmingham School District, we built our curriculum around the common core foundation because we, like other districts, choose to support stronger standards and higher student achievement. The standards are our baseline and we move higher from there. 

The legislature's  zealous pursuit of a return to the MEAP is due to the federal government’s support of the Common Core initiative with funding. Current federal funding includes monies further supporting the Michigan based and funded implementation of the Common Core Standards and the new Smarter Balanced Assessment tests. 

It is this new “federal support” that has our legislators agitating for a return to an outdated, non-aligned, and ineffective MEAP test.This agitation come from the misrepresentation that accepting federal monies lessens Michigan’s control over it’s schools curriculum and testing. IT DOES NOT.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a superior tool designed to gauge understanding, and help support student progress. This computer based test adapts to the students level of understanding which allows districts and teachers to support, accelerate, or reinforce the learning that happens in the classroom. The results are returned quickly which makes the data relevant and actionable. The MEAP, in contrast, simply tests to a flatline of knowledge; the results are returned so late in the year that districts and teachers can do nothing in the current year to help students. The MEAP is a backwards looking test; it tells you where you were and does little to help districts and students move forward. Relative to helping students today, the MEAP is a waste of time and money. 

Lansing must listen to and support the work of parents, school boards, administrators, and teachers who are working for a better educational future; this sudden shift backwards will hurt us all. I am calling for school boards, administrators, and parents to support a boycott of the MEAP should Lansing implement its return. It’s time to push back. 

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