Ferndale Schools Join in Injunction

Ferndale Schools Joins Other Districts in Injunction against MDE MI-SAAS Accreditation System

(Ferndale Public Schools Fanout, orig. 2/11/2011, http://www.ferndaleschools.org/districtnews/documents/Ferndale_eNews_Feb11_2011.pdf)

The Ferndale Schools has joined with other Michigan school districts and organizations in seeking an injunction to stop the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) from implementing a new accreditation and accountability system.

The injunction, if issued by the court, would bar the MDE from proceeding on requirements recently developed for its MI-SAAS (Michigan School Accreditation and Accountability System) which is designed to replace the current state accreditation system, Education YES! Gary Meier, Superintendent of Ferndale Schools and 2010-2011 President of the Middle Cities Education Association, says “Our school district is committed to continuous improvement and achieving the highest level of success for all of our students. We welcome and seek quality accountability measures, and will value an accreditation system that is fair for all the students of Michigan.”

The MI-SAAS system is flawed, argues Meier, because, contrary to state law, it relies primarily on standardized test scores to determine the success or failure of a school, and has not been approved by the House and Senate Committees on Education.

He adds, “The MISAAS design tends to be more punitive in its approach rather than providing opportunities for districts to improve teaching and learning. This is especially true for those of us who serve a diverse population ranging from top students to at-risk students.”

The Education YES! system was originally based on mastery, which held the potential that everyone could achieve mastery. But this proposed new system, which pits schools against each other through a head-to-head ranking, is designed so only 5% will be high achieving, and therefore, 5% must be lowest achieving.

Meier is concerned that in this kind of system, there is no way everyone can be successful. In fact, the majority of schools would not be successful under the proposed MI-SAAS measurement system.

Meier said, “My goal as a superintendent of the Ferndale Schools is to ensure the SUCCESS of our school district, the continuous improvement of teaching and learning in our schools, and success for all our students. I believe a punitive measurement system such as MI-SAAS would be increasingly detrimental to the progress we’ve made in serving all of our students.”

Legally Speaking: An Explanation of the Injunction:

On the legal side of the case, the argument is that the components and implementation of new standards through MI-SAAS do not comply with the Revised School Code which prohibits accreditation from being based solely on student performance on standardized tests such as the MEAP, MI-ACCESS and ACT/MME. Furthermore, MI-SAAS was not carried out in keeping with the Administrative Procedures Act, which requires public input of the new standards. Joining the Ferndale Schools in the filing, which seeks both preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against the MDE to proceed with MI-SAAS, are the Middle Cities Education Association, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Lansing Public Schools. For more detailed information, the district has posted the full Injunction document and the Middle Cities Education Association.

Every week during the school year, Ferndale Schools eNews is sent out to our Community Relations listserv. If you wish to receive these emails, send an email to the: Ferndale FanOut: FPSFanOut@ferndaleschools.org. To see all weekly eNewsletters visit this link: www.ferndaleschools.org/districtnews

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NOTE:  For a previous article on the University High School restructuring issue, please see our previous story – http://www.ferndale115.com/20100616uhs.html.

For more School News go to http://oaklandcounty115.com/category/school-news/.

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