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Watch for more political sparks over student testing in Michigan this year

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Testing students to assess their progress in school could get a lot more political before the year is out.

Legislators and the Michigan Department of Education clashed this year over a test to assess Common Core state standards. If the past is any clue, lawmakers with the help of the governor could simply take away the Department of Education’s authority and give it to a state agency more friendly to their point of view, such as Treasury. Gov. John Engler made exactly that kind of move several times during his time in office.

A non-partisan policy research group says that would be a bad idea. Craig Thiel is with Citizens Research Council.

“Education and oversight and development of curriculum should be left to educators, just as we leave the designing of roads and highways to engineers in the Department of Transportation, and not to employees of the Department of Natural Resources,” Thiel said.

But, with the state schools superintendent retiring next year and this being an election year, Thiel says politics could trump good policy. 

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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