The Executive Report
Meet your Director
MDE wants to hear from you on proposed science and social studies standards
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is scheduling public comment sessions across the state on the proposed updates to the state’s science and social studies content standards for Michigan’s K-12 public schools. Educators, parents, students and the general public are invited to attend.
At each public comment session across the state participants will hear a presentation on the proposed standards in both subject areas. Local educators, school and community business leaders, and other organizations will share their understanding of the standards. There will be breakout sessions for the public to ask questions. Go to
www.michigan.gov/mde to see the schedule of public comment sessions.
State Superintendent heard MEA concerns with M-STEP and announces changes in test scheduling and length
New State Superintendent Brian Whiston heard the concerns of MEA members, parents, and students over administration of the M-STEP this spring, and will be reducing the amount of time spent on standardized testing next year. In a news release, MEA President Steve Cook praised Whiston’s decision.
“In calling for significant reductions in student testing time for the upcoming school year, Superintendent Whiston has heeded the call of teachers, parents and students across the state who have been overwhelmed with a myriad of standardized tests,” Cook said.
MEA members shared their concerns and issues with the administration of the M-STEP to grades 3 to 8 and 11. They told replace the English Language Arts and math portions of the M-STEP.
Only fifth and eighth grade students will be taking the performance task portion of the English test instead of all students--this will cut two and a half hours from the testing time for the other grades. Students also will take tests in smaller portions over several days so they don’t have to do it all in one sitting.
Furthermore, Whiston reduced the testing window for all grades to three weeks: high school students will be tested between April 11 and April 29. This includes the SAT, PSAT and the ACT WorkKeys. Fifth and eighth graders will follow this same schedule. Grades 3 and 6 will be tested between April 25 and May 13; grades 4 and 7 are scheduled for testing May 9 to May 27.
Cook said, “I would like to publicly thank Superintendent Whiston and the State Board of Education for listening to the concerns expressed by MEA and others about the over-reliance on standardized tests. We look forward to working with the State Superintendent on other issues to continue improving public education in Michigan.”
MESSA will solicit dependent Social Security numbers this fall
New IRS tax rules require health plans to collect Social Security numbers for dependents.
In October, MESSA will send a letter to members asking them to submit their dependents’ Social Security numbers to MESSA.
The IRS wants dependents’ Social Security numbers so it can confirm compliance with health coverage and affordability provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Health coverage information for taxpayers and their dependents will be reported to the IRS for tax year 2015 on new tax forms that must be filed with returns. Taxpayers who fail to properly file their forms could face questions or penalties from the IRS.
MESSA members who have questions or who want to submit dependents’ Social Security numbers can call MESSA’s Member Service Center at 800.336.0013.