Letter: Michigan schools deserve stability

Michigan needs to set rigorous educational standards and measure student achievement against them in a way that can be compared to their peers across the nation. After several years of public debate and legislative action around improving standards and assessments in Michigan, we finally reached that goal by adopting the Michigan Standards and M-STEP assessment in 2014.

Now, after spending millions of dollars to rewrite standards and tests, countless hours of training teachers and administrators on how to implement them and just one year’s experience using them, some want to start all over again with little evidence the change will produce better results.

Efforts to adopt new education standards and testing methods should be rejected because:

■Standards and tests can only be productive if they are used consistently over time. Two changes in two years will just confuse and frustrate students, teachers and parents.

■There is no evidence that other standards and assessments are any better than the Michigan Standards and M-STEP.

■Michigan will have to spend more money and countless hours of retraining if new standards are adopted. The Senate Fiscal Agency has already noted that such a change will have a negative fiscal impact — on top of discarding the millions we have already spent developing the Michigan Standards.

■The Michigan Standards and M-STEP are “Michigan-controlled,” contrary to what advocates for change are saying, and adopting another set of standards and assessments won’t give Michigan any greater input and discretion than we already have.

One hindrance to Michigan’s economic growth is our lack of policy consistency — in economic development, fiscal matters, and education. Inconsistency leads to uncertainty and creates unnecessary anxiety at a time when job providers and people alike are striving to get ahead in today’s fast paced world.

We have a chance to remove uncertainty and support stronger K–12 outcomes by rejecting calls to change Michigan’s education standards for the second time in two years.

Doug Rothwell, president & CEO

Business Leaders for Michigan