Statement from state Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) on the release of M-STEP scores, and the Michigan state policies which perpetuate low performance and lagging proficiency throughout Michigan

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

“Following the release of the most recent set of M-STEP data, I am disappointed that we are still perpetuating the use of testing as the sole metric by which we judge our children’s educational success. Our children are already tested to the brink of insanity — countries where students’ progress in school is measured by a single yearly evaluation also have the highest rates of child and teen suicide — yet we continue to use this standard under the guise of its egalitarianism, assuming that everyone being tested has begun on equal footing. Despite a variety of unmeasurable factors influencing children’s performance in school and their ability to learn, we tie funding for schools, teacher pay and student praise to a single test. Data should be used to inform, not penalize. The governor’s School Reform Office has yet to do the one thing it was created for: provide effective options to support the improvement of low-performing schools. These scores are the impact of 15 years of state control of Detroit Public Schools. Restoring local governance and proper funding, ensuring our students are taught only by highly qualified teachers, and providing wrap-around services for our children will prove a pathway to improved higher academic performance. It is time we take a more comprehensive approach to ensure improvement, instead of continuing to move the goal posts, penalizing teachers, and capitalizing on the disparities that result from poverty.”