Whiston’s Letter Grade System Already been Debated and Rejected

By Tom McMillin, Former Michigan State Representative

Calls on State Board of Education to Demand the Scheme be Rejected

Former State Representative and candidate for Michigan’s State Board of Education Tom McMillin criticized today’s announcement by State Superintendent Brian Whiston that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) plans to go above and beyond any state or federal requirements, and start assigning letter grades to Michigan K-12 public schools.  McMillin said, “The legislature has looked at assigning one letter grade to public schools and rejected the idea. The notion that Lansing knows what parents and students value most is ridiculous and elitist. This is just another effort by MDE to control what goes on in the classroom.”

While in the legislature, McMillin led the effort to stop bills that would have assigned one letter grade to each school based primarily on a single, statewide test.  McMillin argued that making that test more high stakes would cause even more harm to quality education. “Already, that one statewide test has been made high-stakes by making it a significant part of teachers’ evaluations. I have no doubt that MDE’s and Whiston’s intentions are to make the test a significant part of this lettering scheme. This simply puts harmful pressure on local teachers and administrators to make the test the focus of instruction, instead of what the students really need,” said McMillin.

McMillin concluded, “The State Board of Education must step up and stop this central planning scheme that will only bring harm to public education in Michigan.”

McMillin is a candidate for the Republican nomination for State Board of Education. Michigan Republicans will decide its two nominee who will run in November, at their August 26 – 27 in Grand Rapids.  McMillin served as State Representative from 2009 through 2014. While there, he chaired several committees, including chairing the Education committee for awhile.


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