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:
How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?
How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?
Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:
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.).
Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)
The state of Michigan as a whole is limited in its ability to cater its educational programs towards students of diverse learning styles in K-12 educational models as well as post-secondary institutions. It’s a problem that there exists a lack of recognition for students in Michigan who learn and portray their skills differently. The educational system that Michigan currently operates on stems from a historical model from the 1800s that utilizes instructor-based learning. Educational settings in Michigan, at both schools and colleges, usually entail the following: a classroom, a teacher, a projector to display information through a powerpoint presentation, and desks for students to sit in, listen, and discuss material. Meanwhile, assessments in Michigan are generally measured through criteria such as levels of class attendance, participation, exam achievement, and contribution to group projects. Although this approach is commonly employed within Michigan schools and institutions, it’s detrimental because it forces all students to conform to a specific learning style and assessment that may not cater to their personal strengths. Besides students with visible and invisible learning disabilities, there are others who would prefer to demonstrate their learning of classroom concepts more effectively and accurately through methods other than those that are assigned. The traditional educational model in Michigan favors only students who are naturally talented in performing in areas of assessment deemed by the institutions to be measures of career success or employment readiness.
As per The Detroit News, state leaders in Michigan have invested approximately $80 million in the last few years in an effort to raise performance on the reading section of the state’s standardized M-STEP exam. However, the article cites that “Michigan’s third-graders show the greatest decline in third-grade reading compared to peers in other states.” This statistic makes me question the effectiveness of funding the current educational programs in place to raise third-grade reading levels. Clearly, the funding did not influence a significant positive growth in the state-wide third grade reading level status on a comparative scale with other states. Perhaps, this might be due to the state’s inability to provide unique learning mechanisms tailored to students’ strengths. Maybe the $80 million of funding that went towards M-STEP reading training courses were taught in a traditional classroom format.
At the higher education level, Michigan also fails to diversify its education approach because of how inflexible the current educational system is. Most learning approaches are constrained by factors such as time, pace, physical setting, and method of learning. According to Michigan’s Bridge Magazine, “People have different learning styles and abilities, and we should allow people to follow the path that is best suited for them.”
Establishing a Michigan law that would regulate or balance different teaching platforms and learning mechanisms would greatly improve students’ scores on assessments like M-STEP, while ensuring that students of different backgrounds have a voice in the style of education that they prefer. This can be achieved by allowing students to speak up on whether they would like to be assessed through a traditional classroom environment or through unconventional methods like blended-learning settings, technology-based flipped classrooms, or massive open online courses (MOOCS). Another way to achieve this goal is to provide additional mediums of professional development for teachers to adapt their instructional methods towards different learning styles. Ultimately, funding towards education in Michigan should be diversified across various learning approaches, in order to achieve greater equality for students who learn in ways that are different.Potential Solutions:
Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.
Before I share the solutions that I would like to suggest, I’d like to update that I’ve shifted and narrowed my focus to K-12 education (specifically secondary school). I originally started my proposal on a track to address post-secondary education, but after some consideration of funding feasibility, legality, and scalability within the state of Michigan, I’ve decided that K-12 schooling will be easier to target as an audience for a bill proposal.
SOLUTION 1: Teacher Professional Development - Recognizing Different Learning Styles
To provide context, in February of 2018, the Mental Health Task Force of the Michigan House of Representatives introduced a bill (House Bill 5524) that would require all public schools in Michigan to implement a 150 hour mental health first-aid course for teachers. The purpose of this is so that teachers can better identify students in their classrooms who are experiencing mental health issues. Recently, the bill was cleared with a 107-2 vote by the House.
Based on the success of the pending bill mentioned above, I’d like to suggest a similar bill which would require all teachers from Michigan public high schools to go through another 150 hour professional development course to understand student development theories and appropriately create lesson plans to accommodate students of different learning styles. The aim would be that upon completion of this mandatory course, teachers would actively observe student strengths and weaknesses in the classroom, distinguish student learning styles, and gear future teaching methods towards student preferences. “Students who learn differently are believed to comprise at least 20 percent of the population, and often face significant obstacles if they dream of a future that includes college” according to Caledonian Record. With a bill like this, a greater diversity of student learning styles will be recognized, valued, accepted, and treated by teachers in a more fair manner. I would estimate that this solution would be possible at a similar cost as that of House Bill 5524.
SOLUTION 2: Investing in Personalized Learning Technology Equipment
Recently, in November 2017, the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, approved the legislation of Senate Bill 133, which called for an investment of about $3 million in additional career education technology equipment advances.
In an effort to solve a variety of student learning challenges in the traditional high school classroom environment, I’d like to propose an amendment to Senate Bill 133. While the end goal of the original bill is to strengthen Michigan students’ preparation for a variety of challenging careers in the workforce, I feel that empowering students with confidence in their ability to learn is a precursor. To that end, I’d suggest amending Bill 133 by splitting its $3 million worth of funding (tentatively at $1.5 million each) between career education technology equipment and personalized learning technology equipment for students in Michigan public high schools (i.e. students with learning deficiencies, but can be used by anyone). This is a solution that will cater well to the interests of students lacking in their ability to learn in traditional high school classrooms and it will not burden the state of Michigan with an increase in funding. Rather, it would allow the state to better allocate the funding that already exists from the establishment of Senate Bill 133 in November. Michigan can learn from how other states like New York are implementing learning and education technology equipment into their classrooms in order to decide how it would like to invest into worthwhile equipment.
SOLUTION 3: Promoting Virtual and All-the-Time Learning through Mandatory Recording & Streaming in Michigan Public High Schools
This solution would be to legally mandate that all public Michigan high school teachers record their lectures in a way that can be instantly streamed to class members and automatically saved for viewing later. The purpose of this approach is to serve the needs of both students who would like to absorb information in a physical classroom setting, as well as students who prefer to listen and follow along virtually from anywhere. This platform not only helps students who may have auditory or visual retention challenges, but also students looking to reinforce material already learned. With this solution, the concept of learning “in class” would be innovated from traditional lecture halls to virtual and inverted classroom methods. Since Michigan is a state requiring consent of multiple parties, the recording of lectures without permission is currently prohibited. This solution would have to overcome regulations from Section 750.539 D of Act 328 and wiretapping laws in Michigan in order to be effective as an equally accessible infrastructure to improve the education platform for students with various learning preferences.
Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:
You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.
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.
- Shri Thanedar, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Michigan 2018
- Platform: Said he's all for cyber education
- Called himself "Bernie Sanders with financial savvy"
- Entreprenuerial Campaign
- Claims that he doesn't need company endorsers
- Reforming prison funding to invest more into Michigan education
- Kyle McCoil, Rackham Graduate School Representative for MVision Party of Central Student Government
- Provided insight on student development theory and relativism
- Believes that more radical change in human development happens during higher education phase compared to prior to college
- Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Center for Adapative Technologies
- Graduate Student Instructor, Women's & Gender Studies
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.?
- Worked individually
- Researched ideas, drafted language, composed podcast, consulted with people from different departments and perspectives
- Researched ideas, drafted language, composed podcast, consulted with people from different departments and perspectives
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.
(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....
(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)Counter-arguments:
What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?
1. Perspective of teachers themselves (Interview teacher for his/her thoughts)
3.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)?
- Potentially modify an existing bill's funding in a manner that splits costs between existing cause and the cause that my proposal will advocate for
These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.