LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Damoose joined members of the Senate Republican caucus in introducing legislation to strengthen academic standards and encourage and provide additional resources to help boost student success.
“Michigan’s educational standing is not ideal, and we need to take that seriously,” said Damoose, R-Harbor Springs. “We rank in the bottom 10th percentile in a number of meaningful standards, like reading and math proficiency, graduation rates and SAT scores.
“The MI Brighter Future plan will help students access additional resources and learning opportunities, require proven training methods for educators, give parents more control over their child’s progress, reinstate accountability in teacher evaluations, and provide for performance-based bonuses.”
The four pillars of the MI Brighter Future plan are:
- Set the bar high. Strengthen key provisions of the third-grade reading law, require student progress to be part of every teacher’s evaluation process once again, and restore the A-F grading scale for parents to easily understand how schools are performing.
- The best teachers where they’re needed most. Provide bonuses to highly effective teachers who take positions in schools where they can have the biggest impact rather than promoting and retaining teachers despite classroom performance.
- Give every kid a chance. No student should ever be left behind because of their means or ZIP code. Scholarship opportunities will help families afford additional educational assistance and help cover the costs of summer or after-school reading programs.
- Back to the basics. Reading is the foundation of a successful education. But too many schools have gone away from teaching the basics and reading scores have plummeted. Our plan will ensure teachers are trained in proven phonics-based reading methods that have worked for decades.
“The majority approved legislation last term that eliminated third-grade reading benchmarks, ended required annual evaluations of teachers and eliminated the easy-to-understand A-F grading scale for schools,” Damoose said. “These are major steps in the wrong direction and will put Michigan students even further behind.”
Damoose added that lawmakers need to start thinking outside the box rather than just growing the K-12 budget with no accountability.
“We’ve massively grown the education budget in the last few years and equalized the state portion of per-pupil funding for the first time since 1994, yet we’re still in the bottom 10 nationally for student performance,” Damoose said. “More money isn’t always the answer, and I believe we need to take a hard look at different ways we can boost student success. This package is the first step in making that a reality.”