EAST LANSING – Michigan Education Association President Paula Herbart today urged the Legislature to pass HB 5707, keeping the current “student growth” as a percentage of educator evaluations at 25 percent. Current law is set to move that benchmark to 40 percent next school year and exacerbate the over-emphasis on standardized tests in Michigan schools.
“Michigan schools are already forced to place too much emphasis on standardized test scores – increasing the share of a teacher’s evaluation based on those scores will make a bad problem worse,” Herbart said. “It is imperative that the legislature take this measure up, pass it and send it to the Governor before they adjourn for the summer.”
Multiple studies have shown that student test scores are not an accurate means of evaluating teacher quality. As a result, many states are reducing or eliminating the role of standardized test scores in evaluations as permitted by the new federal education law, the “Every Student Succeeds Act.”
“High performing states have figured this out and are moving in the opposite direction of our current law. Michigan should follow suit,” Herbart said.
In remarks at a Center for Michigan event earlier this year, Michigan Teacher of the Year Luke Wilcox, an East Kentwood math teacher, discussed the shortcomings of the current law, saying, “Tying the evaluation to a high-stakes test does nothing to improve a teacher’s performance.”
Parents, teachers, employers, and education experts all agree that a first-rate education should focus on critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills. These abilities are developed through open-ended experiments, exploratory reading and writing and extracurricular classes such as music, art and physical education. Standardized testing takes valuable time that could be devoted to meaningful learning.
“Increased emphasis on standardized test scores in evaluations will ratchet up pressure to spend precious classroom time preparing for and administering tests – and leave less time for teaching,” said Herbart. “As we’ve often said, education should not be a partisan issue. We are pleased that HB 5707 is sponsored by Republican Rep. Aaron Miller, and we look forward to working with both Republicans and Democrats to pass this legislation, as well as enacting other meaningful education policy changes.”
Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-337-5508