Michigan Education System

PRE-PROPOSAL

1. Media Artifact

Link to media artifact(s) giving background on the issue. Please list the title of the artifact(s) and then make the title(s) a link to the page in the MSC site where the artifact has been posted. You may include media artifacts made by other MSC members, if relevant, even if they are not authors of this proposal.

Media artifact

2. Persona and POV statement

Persona:

Persona: Mrs. Rachel Sharp

Age: 38

School/Occupation: Pre-Kindergarten teacher

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Quote: "You can't make a change unless you raise your hand and ask."

About:

  • Has been a teacher in the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD) for 12 years
  • Has 3 elementary school-aged children
  • Has not renewed her licsense to teach in over 5 years

Goals:

  • Wants to move towns and school districts with her husband and kids
  • Wants to change the course curriculum she follows and have more flexibility in it
  • Wants to become certified to teach middle school students while receiving more funding from the state government  

POV Statement:

  • User: Mrs. Rachel Sharp, a Detroit Pre-Kindergarten teacher, who is constantly finding flaws in the Michigan education system
  • Need: The State of Michigan Board of Education to amend the guidelines that teachers like her follow
  • Insight So that her students and children have opportunities in the future that her generation did not have in part to her academic curriculum

3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Funding

One potential solution that can help address the problems that lie in the Michigan Education System is an increase in teacher funding. Teachers get paid for about 180 days per year yet work for more than 250 – including prep and planning, grading, summer professional development and responding to emails. By providing teachers better funding and pay, they will be more motivated to work and more motivated to provide their students with the education that they need to succeed. Additionally, teacher turnover is a big problem in Michigan, so providing teachers with better pay will result in less turnover.

SOLUTION 2: Teacher Development

Teachers, like Mrs. Sharp, do not have a comprehensive academic course plan to follow. Thus, each school is teaching a different curriculum for the same course. Not only is this affecting the students, but it puts pressure on the teachers, as they feel like must accomplish a certain amount by the end of the school year. Teacher development can be improved by all teachers following a concise and condensed curriculum. Currently, it is up to each teacher to make their own course guidelines. Additionally, to eliminate inequality in classrooms across Michigan, the state should create more structured academic plans that each school and teacher follow. All teachers must have to get proper training and certification to be able to teach and should be checked that they are up to standards yearly. 

SOLUTION 3: Early Childhood Education 

The state of Michigan does not consider 3-year-olds to be preschoolers. Thus, schooling for children begins later in life. Children have the ability to learn early and actually benefit from being educated earlier rather than later. By beginning preschool earlier, children will have more ability to learn more post preschool. This will also open up for more job opportunities. Additionally, the third-grade reading level is a problem in Michigan, so by starting education earlier, it is very likely to end this issue and have more educated students. By starting education around age 3, this not only helps students reach their full academic potential but also opens the door to more jobs for teachers. 

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS

Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

House Bill No. 4904 which requires an evaluation for teachers and school administrators to make sure that they are following the correct guidelines and curriculum for teaching. There are many different ways in which the evaluations will happen and it will also be based on the performance of their students. This bill relates to my proposal as I believe that there needs to be stronger teacher qualifications and regulations. 

This proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan because education is the foundation of existence. The ways in which we have educated effects the ways in which we act, think, speak, and be. Education must begin in the early stages of life.

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

As a college student, I have been aware of the issues within the education system. During my first semester at Michigan, I took Education 118: Introduction to Education, Schooling, and Multicultural Society. Since then, I have had an interest in learning more about the education system. I also have always loved kids and working with kids. In my sophomore year, I declared my psychology major and enrolled in Psychology 211: Project Outreach. My class focused around preschoolers and I volunteered for 40 hours at an Ann Arbor Head Start.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Yes. My service activity influenced my thinking about this proposal. I volunteered at EMU’s Bright Futures where children who come from economically challenged homes attend school. Students like these have parents who are unable to educate them at home and need to have their full learning potentials in a scholastic setting.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Andrea Buckley: Bright Futures Site Coordinator Holmes Elementary School:

My volunteer work was at EMU’s Bright Futures program at Holmes Elementary school. When my volunteer work was finished, I had a coffee chat with Andrea Buckley, the site coordinator, to discuss the underlying issues of Bright Futures and the education system in Michigan. While Bright Futures is an after-school program and does not explicitly teach English or Math, the children are still learning. The program works with economically challenged school districts. The website shares that “Bright Futures is designed to address the needs expressed by the families and children served, community stakeholders, and school staffs.” A major difference in the Bright Futures program is that it works with children and families to help solve their issues while also educating them. The program looks to find a balance with learning and social life. Andrea finds that the biggest flaw in the education system is how outdated it is. She hopes that the program can be the gap between school and family life, and be able to intertwine the two. Another problem that we discussed is how many students are able to enroll. While the program is at economically challenged school districts, not all students are able to be apart as there is not enough room and funding. This is a major problem because all students should be able to have equal opportunity.

CONSULTATION 2: Jackie Segel, Senior at the University of Michigan School of Education

Jackie Segel, a friend of mine in the School of Education talked to me about the issues she finds in the education system. Her work is in both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. We talked about the inequities between districts such as Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Jackie told me that Ann Arbor has many more resources compared to Ypsilanti schools, which reflects how the children do in school. She mentioned to me that her Ypsilanti 3rd graders were at a pre-kindergarten writing and reading level, while her Ann Arbor 1st graders were above grade level. Another issue is teacher pay. Ypsilanti teachers make 10x less than Ann Arbor teachers.  In addition to this, for schools where pay is less, qualification for these teachers is also less which is doing nothing but hurting the students' educational potentials. Underprivileged areas cannot good teachers, so underqualified teachers are teaching the most endangered and underprivileged children when in fact these areas should have the most experienced and qualified teachers. Also, Jackie was telling me that early education needs to be necessary and provided by districts. For example, many Ann Arbor pre-schools have a “young 5s” program where the students come out 10x more ready for kindergarten and excel in school compared to students who do not go through the “young 5s.” Lastly, many Ypsilanti programs are not funded through the school and parents do not want the send their children to these programs because they cannot afford it.

CONSULTATION 3: Josh Granader, Teacher at Teach For America

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

Josh Granader is a teacher at Teach For America, a nonprofit organization that looks to educate those who are in need and give an equal education to all. Josh works in the Bronx, New York. I asked Josh to tell me about his experience and his thoughts on the education system. He said that programs like Teach For America should be everywhere. The goal is to educate all students and give them equal opportunities where they would most likely not be getting. Josh loves what he does, and while he is not qualified as a teacher, being a teacher at Teach For America has been extremely rewarding to him.

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

I met with Jeff to discuss my proposal. At first, my persona was about a father who struggled to have a proper education and had goals to educate his children differently than he was. I was going for a father who was looking from the outside in into the education system. After discussing with Jeff, my ideas were a bit confusing, and it made more sense to change my persona to an educator, in this example Mrs. Sharp and discuss her views of the education system in Michigan. I was thinking about doing the persona of a child in preschool, but I did not feel as though preschoolers goals were complex and enough to tell a good story.

I met with Jeff again after submitting my first proposal. We discussed that I needed to be a bit more specific in the needs and goals of my persona and to crack down on the details. At the time of our meeting, I did not have my perambulatory or operative clauses, so I also added those to this final proposal.

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

As far as my research goes, I have discussed my proposal with my consultants and have done a ton of research online. My consultants come from different backgrounds and jobs but work in the education field. I volunteered at Holmes Elementary school for their Bright Future's program. I spoke with Andrea Buckley who is the site coordinator. What I learned from her is how outdated the education system is. I spoke with Jackie Segel, a friend of mine who is at the University of Michigan School of Education, learning to become a teacher. While she is not currently a teacher, she is learning how to be one and be the best one she can be. I also spoke with Josh Granader, a teacher teaching at Teach for America. While all of my consultants are not directly the same as my persona, they all have a relation to the education system and have given me a ton of insight into the needs and wants of the education system.

Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

I am working by myself on this project, so I have done everything myself.

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS.... Teachers in the state of Michigan are guided by a statute that requires 6 semester credit hours for elementary school teachers and receive a grade of C or better

WHEREAS.... Standard teaching certificate renewal requires at least 150 hours of education-related professional learning

WHEREAS.... 3-year-olds are not considered to get pre-school education

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. Teachers must receive a B+ or better to prove better than average, not average

2. Teachers should be required 300 hours of educational learning or 30 hours per academic semester

3. The state of Michigan must include 3-year-olds as preschoolers which will also create more job opportunities

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. Students are performing to their full potentials, so teachers do not need to be performing better

2. Teacher development is strong enough currently

3. There is not enough funding in the state of Michigan

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

This proposal will be expensive. The government must take action and help subsidize this problem. The issue that lies here is that teachers are not developed nor working to their full potential, but that is due in part to the price they are being paid. The government and Board of Education must implement a more rigorous teacher development program while also helping pay for this.

The average teacher in the state of Michigan makes $62,702 for the school year. Teachers work for many more hours than just the school day. Thus, teachers should be rewarded for that. Teachers plan and prep for just as much time as they spend in the school day. Teachers should gain a salary of at least $100,000 for the work that they provide. Education is the foundation of society and the only way to improve the system is by having trained and equal individuals.

If teachers are becoming more qualified to teach a rigorous education, they need to pay for textbooks and schooling. The average amount of money that someone spends on textbooks is around $1,200 and schooling can cost around $30,000 per semester.

References:

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/detroit/2019/05/09/the-4-year-olds-are-alright-in-michigan-the-3-year-olds-less-so/

https://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-5683_14795---,00.html

https://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-5683_14795_83462---,00.html

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/detroit/2018/07/30/for-michigans-3-and-4-year-olds-with-special-needs-its-hard-to-find-a-place-to-learn/

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dhs/Child_Care_Center_Rules_419095_7.pdf

https://patch.com/michigan/across-mi/teacher-pay-how-michigan-ranks

 

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Total votes: 1

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