FLINT TWP. — Since 2010, Michigan public school educators have been preparing to switch from Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as a measure of student progress to Common Core State Standards (CCSS), due to be fully implemented by the 2014-15 school year.
But political changes in Lansing are threatening to derail the plan and has prompted the C-A School Board to join other districts, based on a suggestion from the Michigan Association of School Boards, to pass a resolution urging state legislators to support Common Core standards.
The board discussed the need for the resolution at its Tuesday night meeting but will not officially vote on it until its Oct. 16 meeting.
Common Core Standards were developed and are being adopted by most states to provide a consistent set of expectations for K-12 students with emphasis English language arts and math. Proponents say it will level the playing bill and enable student progress to be measured by the same yardstick nationally. To date, the CCSS have been adopted by 45 states but is also being vigorously opposed in several states.
“One reason we want to support Common Core is that it sets a consistent standard nationwide,’’ said C-A Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff. “It does not take away from local control. It is a broad set of standards that does raise the level or rigor we ask of our kids.”
After spending all this time gearing up for it, it does not make sense to take a timeout now, he said, adding that it is politically motivated.
What is happening in Lansing is because of a disclaimer put into the state-aid budget when it was adopted last spring, that required legislative authorization for CCSS expenditures.. The House of Representatives has voted to override the budget disclaimer, which went into effect Tuesday, but the Senate has not voted on it. Without full legislative support, the Michigan Department of Education can not spend money towards implementation of Common Core.
Tunnicliff said a wide range of things could happen next but rather than worrying about the outcome, the least school districts can do is voice its support via a resolution.
Board president Patrice Hatcher said she had contacted State Senator Jim Ananich and was told that he supports Common Core.
All but a handful of schools districts in Michigan would be considered failing schools if Michigan returns to the AYP measure, Hatcher said.
The board spent the earlier part of its meeting listening to school improvement plans for the 2013-14 school year from administrative teams for each building, as it does at the beginning of each year.
Randels and Rankin elementaries and the Middle School presented this week and Dye and Dillon elementaries and the high school will present at the Oct. 16 board meeting.
Aligning curriculum and instruction with Common Core Standards was a central theme of those presentations.
For example, Digits, an online math curriculum, that has been fully successfully implemented at the C-A middle school is based on Common Core Standards.
A stronger emphasis on problem-solving skills across the curriculum was another common theme in all presentations that also align with Common Core Standards, educators said.