Michigan Faces Many Educational Challenges In 2019

Jan 8, 2019

The Michigan State Board of Education holds its first meeting of the year Tuesday in Lansing.


 

The board will begin its 2019 inaugural meeting by swearing in its two newest members, Judy Pritchett and Tiffany Tilley.  Afterwards, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to deliver a few remarks. 

 

Whitmer is likely to talk about the new school accountability law that former governor Rick Snyder signed less than two weeks ago.  The Michigan Department of Education is asking state Attorney General Dana Nessel to review the measure for any potential conflict with federal law.   Michigan’s law would give schools an A-F grade in five academic performance areas.

 

Michigan also starts the year with a new school safety law.  Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards executive director Tim Bourgeois says the law may be new, but this is not the first time Michigan has addressed school safety.   

 

“It’s been a focus for a long time,” Bourgeois says.  “I think this is an effort to make sure everybody knows the best information that’s out there, and can accordingly make the decisions that are best for their areas.”

 

The law mandates all schools create their own emergency operations plans by 2020.  It also requires districts to talk with local law enforcement about safety features before starting any new construction or renovations.

 

Michigan is also searching for a permanent state superintendent.  The board of education is reviewing a set of candidates recruited by Iowa-based Ray and Associates.  The new leader is expected to be on the job by July 1. 

 

The next state superintendent will lead Michigan schools through a new reality.  The fall of 2019 will commence a “make-or-break” era in state education...when third graders who fail to achieve proficiency in English language arts will, by law, be held back in 2020.