Truth or Satire: A Look at Michigan’s M-STEP Test

By Brenda Ortega

OK, class. It’s time now for a very important… Question, Jimmy?… No, it’s not time for lunch yet… Yes, I know it’s chicken nugget day! You won’t be late if we start now, alright?

Today we’re going to practice for the big, long test that will be used to label you and your school and even our community and the whole of public education in Michigan and across the U.S. – above every truly wonderful thing we do and accomplish in our work together.

Curtis Kelenske

Curtis Kelenske: 5th/6th-grade Multi-age Teacher, Leland Public Schools Years in Education: 13 Type of non-union experience: 1 year in private Catholic school, 6 in a charter school What was it like working in a school without a union? The working conditions and work load in the charter school were very difficult. You had to do whatever…

Brett Hudson

Brett Hudson: Health and P/E Teacher, East Jackson Community Schools Years in Education: 2 Type of non-union experience: Charter School What was it like working in a school without a union? As a new teacher (only having experience without a union) I am not too familiar with the collective bargaining process. However, it was pretty…

Rob Atwood

Rob Atwood: P/E and Health Teacher, Baldwin Community Schools Years in education: 8 Type of non-union experience: charter school – 5 years; virtual charter school – 2.5 years What was it like working in a school without a union? In my traditional and virtual school teaching experience, the employees did not have a say on…

Katie Condon

Katie Condon: 5th-grade Teacher, Saginaw Public School District Years in education: 5 Type of non-union experience: Three years at a charter school What was it like working in a school without a union? When I first started working at the charter school, it wasn’t that bad. I had the assumption that I was going to…

Michael Adams

Michael Adams: 3rd-grade Teacher, Holt Public Schools Years in education: 6 Type of non-union experience: Michigan charter school What was it like working in a school without a union? It was the worst! Working without a union left me feeling like I had no voice to advocate for students or myself. Teachers were in constant…

Bill Boerman

Bill Boerman: STEM Teacher/K-7, Holland Public Schools Years in education:  22 Type of non-union experience: 7½ years at charter schools in Michigan; 10 years in public schools in Colorado that had no collective bargaining rights What was it like working in a school without a union? There were many added pressures working in a non-union environment that…

Amy Lawrence

Amy Lawrence: 7th-grade Math Teacher, Schoolcraft Community Schools     Years in education: 9 Type of non-union experience: charter school What was it like working in a school without a union? At the school I worked at, we were often required to go to a week of additional PD/training in the summer, as well as attend 5-7…

Shannon Ager

Shannon Ager: Kindergarten Teacher, Novi Community Schools Years in education: 6 Type of non-union experience: Two charter schools What was it like working in a school without a union? It was often frustrating working in a school without a union.  Teachers were not always treated in the best manner, particularly in terms of our working conditions.  I…

Michael Adamisin

Michael Adamisin: 9th-grade Science Teacher, OPEA President, Oak Park Schools Years in Education: 6 Type of non-union experience: One year at a Detroit-area charter school What was it like working in a school without a union? In a word… unnerving. The year I was there saw >50% staff turnover from the previous year, all replaced…