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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Apply for a MCTM conference scholarship

Want to attend the MCTM Annual Conference and Institute this year in Traverse City to hear Dan Meyer, Cathy Williams, and many others but finances are an issue?  With cutbacks in school/district professional development monies, many more teachers are paying for PD opportunities from their own funds. The MCTM Scholarship Committee is excited to offer a new opportunity to MCTM members: $500 Teacher Conference Scholarships for the MCTM Annual Institute and Conference! 
Any teacher who is an Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) member is eligible to apply for the scholarship (except for current MCTM Board Members).  Scholarship applications and guidelines can be found below.   Applications are due on May 20, 2016, with recipients notified by June 10, 2016. Up to five $500 scholarships will be awarded.
The application is made up of an information form as well as a brief, typed proposal (two pages maximum), a letter of support that describes your role in mathematics education (preferably from your current administrator), and confirmation that you are a current member.  Details are available at the link above.
Applications are due no later than May 20, 2016, and are to be emailed with attachments to
Questions about the scholarship?  Please contact Scholarship Selection Committee Chair, Christine Kincaid Dewey at

Monday, May 9, 2016

Will Michigan toss out Common Core?

Information and Talking Points Regarding:  Senate Bill 0826 (SB 0826)
Opposed by Leaders from Several Michigan Mathematics Education Organizations
Leaders of several Michigan mathematics education organizations met during the week of April 24, 2016, to discuss the potential ramifications of Michigan Senate Bill 0826 (SB 0826). Many of the proposed actions from that bill are presented below as they are stated in the Senate fiscal analysis document. 
“The bill would amend the Revised School Code to do the following:
·       Terminate all plans, programs, efforts, and expenditures relating to the implementation
of Common Core standards.
·       Prohibit the State Board of Education and the Department of Education from adopting or implementing any other national or multistate consortium standard, or the use of any assessments aligned with such a standard, that would cede control of Michigan educational standards.
·       Require the State Board and the Department to adopt for all grades State academic content standards in English language arts, math, and social science, and require the standards to be substantially the same as those used in Massachusetts during the 2008 - 2009 school year.
·       Require the State Board to develop academic content standards independently, instead of as part of a multistate consortium.”

*We ask that you take action today and contact your state representative and state senator to express your thoughts and any concerns you may have regarding this proposed action. And, please share this information, your thoughts, and your concerns with colleagues in other content areas.  Ultimately, ALL content areas are likely to be affected by this bill, should it pass.

Find your Michigan representative:
In addition, Representative Amanda Price is the Chair of the House Education Committee.  Her contact information is:
Phone: (517) 373-0838  or   
Toll Free: (888) 238-1008

Other initiatives and programs would also be affected:  MTSS, School Improvement, educator evaluation, STEM courses and grants, K-3 early literacy efforts, and more!
Kathy Berry, President, Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM)
Karen Reister, President, Michigan Mathematics Consultants and Coordinators (M2C2)
Dr. Shari Stockero, President, Michigan Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (MI-AMTE)

Key talking points you may wish to consider addressing:
1.        The high quality of our Michigan Academic Standards, including the ELA and Mathematics standards adopted in 2010 and the K-12 Science Standards adopted just this year (2016), has already been established. These standards have been supported by a number of respected professional organizations.  See a listing of many diverse organizations supporting the 2010 Michigan Academic Standards for ELA and Mathematics at:
2.       The 2010 Michigan Academic Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics are just now reaching the full-implementation stage.  Very limited data is available from state assessments from spring 2015, and the structure of the spring 2016 assessment has been altered from that 2015 version, complicating any attempts to try to draw conclusions about the standards, their implementation, and students’ performance and growth.  Change to another set of standards would be highly disruptive to teaching and learning, curriculum, and assessment.
3.       Aside from state assessment, many local schools and districts have only recently created or purchased resources designed to align to these state standards.  Across the state, this cost is likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars. These costs include software supports and tools, textbooks, revised and redesigned courses and units of study, collaborative efforts to connect Career and Technical Education with the core academic standards, teacher and administrator training, and more. The MAISA ELA and Mathematics units across K-12 are excellent examples of thousands of hours of collaborative work by hundreds of educators across Michigan. You are likely to be able to readily name several other examples of expenses – including time - your school and district have incurred to be able to best support teachers and students in learning the content in our state standard.
We thank you for considering these urgent issues.  Please know that – on past advice from state representatives and senators – direct communication with constituents via telephone or email truly does affect how these legislators think about and ultimately act upon proposed legislation.  Your voice does have power to effect change to move mathematics education forward in Michigan.  Please take just a very few minutes of your time to call or email your state legislator elected officials.
Scot Acre, President, Detroit Area Council of Teachers of Mathematics (DACTM)
With support from Valerie Mills, Past-President, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)

Full text of SB 0826 as well as its associated fiscal analysis may be found at:
A Fact Sheet from the Michigan Department of Education regarding the 2010 ELA and Mathematics Standards: