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Monday, June 3, 2013

Help support the Common Core in Michigan

The Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics asks for your support in fighting a battle forged in the Michigan Congress.  We need your voice more than ever to sound off about efforts to turn back the adoption of the Common Core in this state.  MCTM has adopted a position paper on this very issue.  We have distributed our position to Michigan policy makers with plans for a more wide range distribution.  We have continued to articulate a stance of higher standards and equity for all children in our great state. 
The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a bill that can turn back the clock for Michigan students.  Every child deserves the right to a high quality education that provides opportunities to be prepared for the world of work and to be college ready.  MCTM knows that this readiness does not begin in grade 9 but begins in kindergarten.  All K-12 educators must work together to get students ready starting in the early grades and building across to grade 12.  The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics provides rigorous standards that are coherent and well articulated across the grades. 
Standards are academic goals or targets.  They are essential so that all schools no matter how they choose to reach those targets are aiming for the same student outcomes.  Schools and districts determine the curriculum which is a plan for instruction consisting of differentiated instructional strategies and activities that best meet the needs of their diverse student population.  A curriculum is customized and is not one size fits all. 
MCTM President Irene Nordé, Ph.D.
House Bill 4276 has passed sponsored by republican Tom McMillin and is waiting for a vote that may be held as soon as Tuesday in the Senate.  We are asking for your help by writing a letter to your senator to express support for the Common Core.  There are many misconceptions that have been shared with congressmen/women including the Common Core State Standards represent a national curriculum and not a state led effort. Both are not truthful statements.  To learn more on the status in the Michigan Legislature visit the link below.

A few talking points have been provided and a link to the Michigan legislature website for contacting your State Senators below.  Please share this communication with as many supporters as possible – both MCTM members and colleagues.  Thank you in advance for your efforts and support provided on behalf of Michigan students.
Main speaking points for grassroots messages to State Senators.. to be personalized to the Senator, using any locally-relevant details:
  • The language in the state budget that will prohibit the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and computer-adaptive Smarter Balanced Assessment will be detrimental to schools and students in your district and across Michigan.
  • This will cause us to reverse the course we all have been on for the past three years
  • It will cause Michigan to lose its flexibility waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act – which means that every school in Michigan will be accountable to having 100 percent of its students proficient in math and reading by next year.
  • Every school in your district will not be making AYP – and will have to begin the federal No Child Left Behind sanctions, like providing our students with choice and transportation to other school districts; costly tutoring services; and possibly the entire disruption of how we run our own schools.
  • It also will mean that you will be changing learning standards again for the teachers and students in your district; having the valuable teacher evaluations be based upon the old MEAP and Michigan Merit Exam; and having less federal Title I funds for the lowest-performing schools in your district.
  • The Common Core State Standards are high-quality standards that your school districts have spent great time and effort over the past three years to align curricula and begin implementing.
  • These Common Core standards are strongly supported by business leaders and education leaders in Michigan, including those leaders in your district.
  • Please don’t drag our schools back three years, and put us further behind the other states that are going forward with the Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessments. These already have been vetted through extensive public comment three years ago, before the State Board of Education adopted them.
  • Please trust your local educators that the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments are the right course our schools are on. These new standards will help the students in your district be career- and college-ready and help drive greater economic development in Michigan and in your district.
  • If this detrimental provision in the budget bill is adopted, and we are prohibited from continuing the implementation of the Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessments, you will leave your local school boards, administrators, teachers, and parents with no place to go but backwards.

To find your State Senator, scroll down to the “Related Sites” at the bottom of the webpage.

Public Policy Committee 
Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics

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