Performance bonus criteria raises concerns

This week, the House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee outlined how schools would qualify for Gov. Snyder’s funding bonuses and then got an earful from traditional and charter school representatives concerned that they might miss out on the extra money.

According to the Department of Education, schools could earn up to three points per child, depending on whether the child scored proficient on a prior MEAP test and whether the score improved or not on a current year’s test—no points if a child’s score declined; two points if the child maintained or improved a prior proficient score; and three points if a child went from not proficient to proficient.

Scores would then be averaged for each district. Averages of at least 1.5 points in the MME subject and grade level areas would qualify for additional funding--$30 per elementary student and $40 for each high school student.

Putting a price on student performance raised concerns.

Charter school advocates worried that since charter schools aren’t like traditional K-12 schools, they would automatically be shut out of a portion of the performance money.

Traditional school officials don’t’ see the MEAP or MME as reliable measures of student growth. They recommend developing a new test that will measure student growth or district tests.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan offered his own funding advice to superintendents and members of the Gratiot-Isabella Regional Education Service District at an informal meeting. “Disliking change and being defensive doesn’t help. Take the money and run. Otherwise, it looks like you’re afraid of performance evaluations. Don’t you want to know how the students and your district are achieving?”