The goal of this blog is to inform and empower individuals to improve education for kids.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
The Change of the M-STEP Due to Public and Teacher Feedback
parents, and students often felt powerless when it came to government-mandated
standardized tests such as the Michigan Student Test for Educational Progress
difficult for teachers and parents to understand if the amount of time spent on
standardized testing was necessary and beneficial to students. Hours were taken
away from teaching and learning time last school year in order to administer
the M-STEP. This was a problem.
The M-STEP was
also an online test. This took computer time away from teachers and students
who needed them for instructional and learning purposes. This was another
There were also
technology problems such as software failures, which also ate up teaching and
the state had issues with the M-STEP. Many felt that standardized tests were an
unreliable and inaccurate measure of student growth.
testing increased stress and wasted time, creating a toxic environment that
hurt teacher and student morale.
argued standardized tests should not be on the cutting edge of education
because it promotes teaching to the test, which can impede, rather than
assessments such as observations, performance tasks, and portfolios should also
be used to measure and improve student educational progress.
teachers and parents of Michigan finally demanded less time for standardized
testing and more time for learning. They’d had enough.
Time for a Change
to public opinions, complaints, and feedback, the Michigan Department of
Education (MDE) shortened the length of the M-STEP.
This shows the
importance of teachers’ voices in education policy. As a Michigan Educator Voice
Fellow, I play a role in the engagement between Michigan teachers and the MDE.
to be respected as other professionals. They need to have a say in education
lawmakers seem to have accepted the importance of teacher input when developing
education policies. Most states have projects similar to the Michigan Educator
Voice Fellowship to teach teachers the best ways to make an impact on education
in their states.
have valuable experiences and insights from the classroom that could be shared
to help shape and influence education policy.
Support for Teachers Who Lead
Educator Voice Fellowship provides support and training for teachers and
administrators who want to share their experiences and insights with local,
state, and federal policymakers. Fellows learn how to effectively engage
policymakers and the public through blogging, social media, and public forums.
should start a blog and share their education stories and initiatives on social
media. This would enhance the teaching profession in addition to building a
stronger professional learning network (PLN).
do not get paid. They do it because they want to share their experiences. We
can improve education with better communication systems. Teachers need to
celebrate and encourage innovation in schools.
to be “sharing people” by nature. Better communication systems would allow more
opportunities for teachers to connect, engage, and collaborate with each other.
need to have coaches and mentors to help them learn the ropes. Such
collaboration can assist with professional development and improvement. All
schools should create a professional learning community (PLC).
technology resources available for communication in schools are endless. There
are Twitter Chats everyday allowing teachers to collaborate with each other and
share their united voice. Voxer Groups are an excellent way to communicate
within a PLC or PLN.
resources can also be used to involve parents and community partners. Such a
strategy can improve school culture by increasing communication about
expectations and student progress. It is essential for teachers and parents to
communicate and work together to close achievement gaps and improve attitudes
administrators, and community members are all needed to play a role in
education reform and policy decisions. Communication is the key to creating and
maintaining high-quality schools.