Monday, June 2, 2014

Moving testing from Department of Education to Treasury could jeopardize federal funding

We previously posted about a plan circulating in the Legislature to move oversight of student testing form the Department of Education to the Treasury.  Okemos Parents for Schools, May 27, 2014. We noted lawmakers acknowledged the proposal was political payback.  Now a nonprofit citizens group has came out against the proposal.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit Citizens Research Council of Michigan cites the state's experience in 2003 with Treasury oversight of the MEAP as an example of the problems that come with taking control of testing away from the Michigan Department of Education.
"While this proposed solution may serve as an expeditious policy response and meet other priorities, it most likely would come at a cost of less efficiency and accountability in carrying out state education functions," CRC director of state affairs Craig Thiel wrote on the group's website. [, May 24, 2014.]
In 2003 the CRC recommended returning control of the MEAP to the Department of Education from the Treasury after Governor Engler moved oversight of the test and the Treasury's tenure with the test was marked with delay after delay in scoring and reporting. 

Additionally, the CRC notes that Michigan currently has a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law which includes a mandate to give a standardized test aligned with the Common Core curriculum.  The new Smarter Balanced Assessment the Department of Education was set to use next year would have complied with that mandate.  If the treasury gives a new version of the MEAP, as proponents of the switch favor, Michigan may not be in compliance with its waiver.  Failure to comply with the waiver could have devastating effects on federal funding.

Failure to comply with the waiver could result in all the state's schools being deemed "failing" and forced to spend 20 percent of their federal funds on tutoring and mandatory school choice.
Michigan's schools receive between $800 million and $1 billion in federal Title I funds each year, meaning at least $160 million in funds could be diverted to choice and tutoring if the waiver is revoked. [Id.]

No comments:

Post a Comment