Koleszar, Legislative Dems Unveil Package to Support Teachers, Students Following COVID-19 Crisis

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Lansing, Mich., July 22, 2020 — State Rep. Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), state Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a package of bills in their respective chambers today to better support teachers and students in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by pausing various state assessments related to education for the 2020-2021 school year. Koleszar’s bill in the package would waive the state requirement to administer the Michigan Merit Exam, including the ACT WorkKeys Test.


“The COVID-19 pandemic forced our students, parents and teachers to face new challenges while working to continue learning outside of the classroom,” said Koleszar. “Distance learning was a necessary step to ensure the safety of our students and teachers during the COVID-19 crisis, but it can never truly replace in-person classroom learning. Using standardized tests to evaluate teacher performance during such an unprecedented time simply doesn’t make sense, and using those tests to determine school funding will only hurt the students who need the most help.” 


Collectively, the comprehensive legislative package would:


  • Pausing the state mandate that districts evaluate teachers for the 2020-2021 school year (Sheryl Kennedy, D-Davison).


  • Amend the requirement of teacher evaluations in tenure act to exclude the 2020-2021 school year (Kennedy).


  • Pause the requirement that the Kindergarten Readiness Exam be administered for the 2020-2021 school year (Darrin Camilleri, D-Brownstown).


  • Pause the requirement that districts administer the MSTEP and PSAT 8-10 to receive state aid payments for the 2020-2021 school year (Lori Stone, D-Warren).


  • Pause the state mandate that districts administer the Michigan Merit Exam including the ACT Work Keys in the Michigan School Aid Act (Koleszar).


  • Pause the Read by Grade including retention and the requirement of administering the screener for the 2020-2021 school year (Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing).


  • Pause the requirement that Michigan Department of Education assign schools a “letter grade” for the 2020-2021 school year (Brenda Carter, D-Pontiac).


Companion bills were introduced by Senate Democrats.


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