Saturday, November 8, 2014

Did the Michigan Appeals Court just neuter achievement standards?

I'm certainly no legal expert so I cannot offer a valid analysis of the Michigan Court of Appeals decision regarding this case, but I do take issue with the follow excerpt provided by Kate Wells at Michigan Radio:
So the state has a more supervisory, indirect role in a student’s education, and they’re fine so long as they’re providing schools with the necessary tools – which they are, the state argues, because other schools are doing just fine in the same system.
The "doing just fine in the same system" is the root of the problem in Michigan as well as other states. This assumption concedes that if all schools are basically operating off the same or similar school funding under the same or similar achievement expectations, then all is well with the world. Right?

Wrong. The court obviously failed to include in its analysis and ruling the fact that many children come to school at various age levels seriously behind and basically handicapped in the classroom. Should not this be the third ingredient to determining just how much the state and each school district must support those kids, financially as well as with other resources? I agree that the district and the state should not be sued based on existing law and many courts are loathe to force legislation where there is none, but this ruling basically says that no matter what the condition or levels of prior learning achieved, there is no compelling responsibility on the part of the school or the state to ensure each child attains an adequate level of learning to reach the same expected outcomes.

Therefore, in my humble and non-legal opinion, this court has just concluded that the state's curriculum standards, high-stakes testing achievement standards, and four-year graduation requirements are null and void since no arm of the state is compelled to ensure all students achieve them.

Probably not a valid argument but certainly a basis for interesting debate.

Michigan court rules against ACLU in "right to read" case | Michigan Radio