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News From the Capitol, Feb 3, 2023
February 3, 2023 by MASB Government Relations
  • MDE Presents in House Education Committees
  • Senate Committee Addresses Retention in Third Grade Reading Law
  • Michigan School Board Members Advocate on Capitol Hill


MDE Presents in House Education Committees

In separate meetings this week, the House Education Committee and the House K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee heard from State Superintendent Michael Rice, Ph.D. from the Michigan Department of Education.

In the Education Committee, the focus was on the third grade reading law. Dr. Rice expressed support for strong reading interventions but opposition to the mandatory retention section of law. Katharine Strunk, Ph.D., Professor of Education Policy at Michigan State University, also presented and outlined data showing how ineffective retention has been in similar laws across the country but noted that it was too early to reach conclusions in Michigan.

In both committees, Dr. Rice outlined MDE’s legislative priorities for the current session.

Senate Committee Addresses Retention in Third Grade Reading Law

The Senate Education Committee took testimony on and approved Senate Bill 12 this week. This bill would repeal the mandatory retention sections of the third grade reading law and state that if a child is still not reading at grade level as they move into fourth grade, the reading intervention program for that child would continue.

Dr. Rice and Dr. Strunk gave their presentation on third grade reading to the Senate Committee (see previous article). Other advocates also spoke in support of the bill.

SB 12 is now before the full Senate for consideration. MASB supports the bill and hopes we see movement on it next week on the Senate Floor.

Michigan School Board Members Advocate on Capitol Hill

More than 60 school board members and superintendents from Michigan attended the National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. this past week. This was the first time attending for about half of the group. In all, about 500 school board members from across the country descended on our nation’s Capitol to stand up for public education.

Our delegates met with 12 of 13 of Michigan’s Congressional offices and attended MASB’s annual Senate Breakfast. During breakfast, Sen. Debbie Stabenow spoke about her work with child nutrition and gave advice about working with people you don’t always agree with. She urged people to find the one thing another person is passionate about and work with them on that. She gave examples during her Congressional career and how it led to her being a more successful Senator. Sen. Gary Peters spoke about the need to have your informational technology protected and gave resources for districts that may face cyberattacks. Both Senators also expressed the need for more funding under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and support for recruiting and retaining teachers. 

Many thanks to the attendees who made the trip to Washington, D.C. for this conference. We hope you’ll share your experiences with others and urge you to continue to make your voices heard. Look for more detailed coverage in the next issue of DashBoard. 

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