Last week the Michigan Senate Education committee took up the issue of Michigan Basic Skills test in testimony for Senate Bill 727 (SB727). The bill proposes to eliminate the basic skills test so that more people can become teachers in Michigan. Teachers of Tomorrow is leading the charge on this effort because we have seen first-hand how this is adversely affecting the teacher pipeline in Michigan.
In October 2017, MDE notified all providers that the new SAT would be required and it had an immediate adverse impact on potential teachers. We have so many career changers who look at this as a ridiculous barrier. They proved their basic skills when they earned their bachelor’s degree. Having them go sit in a high school with their future students to take a 4-hour test makes no sense.
At the hearing we had a discussion about basic skills. One of our Spanish teachers made the point that she is teaching in Pontiac schools where they don’t have a Spanish teacher and she doesn’t need advanced math skills to teach Spanish. We agree that they need math – but do they need:
- Solving quadratic equations
- Interpreting nonlinear expressions
- Quadratic and exponential word problems
- Radicals and rational exponents
- Operations with rational expressions and polynomials
- Polynomial factors and graphs
- Nonlinear equation graphs
- Linear and quadratic systems
- Structure in expressions
- Isolating quantities
The answer from the committee and all attendees was a resounding NO!
Please keep an eye on SB727 on the elimination of Basic Skills – we will keep you posted on progress on the bill. It should be voted on in committee the week of January 22 and then head to the Senate floor. Please let your Michigan legislator know your support for this bill!