Lobbyist / December 2016
Type: Open Committee
FAREWELL TO THE 98th LEGISLATURE. Lawmakers left town last week ending the lame duck session and bringing to a close the 98th Michigan Legislature.
Several pieces of legislation are on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for his signature or potential veto. Others were left to die and be reintroduced next year.
ENERGY REFORMS MAKE THE CUT. An 11th hour compromise on legislation (SBs 437 and 438) designed to shore up Michigan’s electricity market amid declining in-state production gained final approval after two years in the making.
Governor Snyder will sign the bills as he was directly involved in the final deal along with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
What is included in the compromise?
The percentage of electricity customers being served by choice marketers could roll backward if the percentage of customers falls below the current 10 percent cap, customers who leave their choice provider to commit to DTE, Consumers Energy or the other incumbent utility to stay for six years, AES companies avoid paying a four-year fee to cover costs of an incumbent utility’s new power plant under certain conditions, gives customers a chance at seeing rate relief in times of lower than expected energy needs, and raises the amount of energy Michigan would need to generate from renewable sources from 10 to 15 percent by 2022.
UI INSURANCE FUND SURPLUS TO HELP BALANCE STATE BUDGET. Under legislation (SB 1008) headed to the Governor’s desk, $10 million in “surplus” unemployment insurance funds would be transferred to the General Fund to help balance the state budget. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign the bill because the administration signed off on the transfer as part of the overall budget plan for 2017.
NURSES TO PRESCRIBE DRUGS? Governor Rick Snyder will have to decide whether to sign into law legislation that would allow state-regulated nurses with advanced degrees, known as advance practice registered nurses (APRNs), to prescribe drugs and controlled substances.
GAS STATIONS CAN SELL BEER. Legislation (SB 929) to allow gas stations to sell beer and wine along with fuel has been forwarded to the Governor. It is a companion bill to recently passed House Bill 4895 that allows big-box stores to sell beer and wine from gas stations they operate close to their property.
STEP ON THE GAS. If Governor Rick Snyder agrees, speed limits on nearly 1,500 miles of Michigan’s rural highways could see a 5 to 10 mph increase. The legislation would only allow speed limit increases on highways where the Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan State Police conduct traffic safety and engineering studies to determine at least 85 percent of motorists are already driving at the proposed increased speeds.
DRONES DROP ON GOVERNOR’S DESK. Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Systems, have been given a regulatory home. Under the legislation (SB 992), a 27-person task force would be charged with hashing out further regulations and passing them along to the Legislature.
WHAT LEGISLATION WAS NOT TAKEN UP IN LAME DUCK?
NO FAULT. Fifty-five votes could not be found in the House to pass a compromise deal over a lingering proposal that would cap the number of hours a family member could be paid for caring for a catastrophic car accident injury victim and cap benefits at $400,000 for those without a Michigan auto insurance policy.
VOTER ID. Legislation (HBs 6066 thru 6068) giving voters showing up on Election Day without an ID card seven days to present one to a local clerk in order for their vote to count died in the Senate.
FOIA. The 10-bill package of legislation (HBs 5469 thru 5478) that would open up legislative offices and the Governor’s office to open record laws was taken off the table in the Senate.
GOVERNOR’S PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP. Among the Governor’s top priorities, the issue stalled in the House out of concern that it would clear the way for toll roads.
TIF. Legislation that would allow “transformational projects” to recapture up to $50 million in state tax money in its first year of existence died in the Local Government Committee. The measure was being pushed by Detroit developer Dan Gilbert.
PENSIONS/OPEB. Lawmakers backed off legislation that would have put all new teachers into a 401(k)-style retirement system plan, effectively closing teachers’ pension plan.
A thirteen-bill package to scale back local governments’ obligation to pay retiree health benefits also failed to get support.
RAINY DAY MONEY. A proposal to put away 25 percent of any General Fund money left over at fiscal year’s end into the Rainy Day Fund.
OIL, GAS PERMIT RESTRUCTURING. With three days of lame duck remaining, House Energy Policy Committee Chair Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) decided not to take up a bill to restructure how the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issues oil and gas permits and their appeals.
ANTI-PICKETING. Legislation that would make it much more difficult and expensive for people to picket businesses was shelved by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive).
LONG-TERM INFRASTRUCTURE REPAIR WOULD COST BILLIONS
Governor Rick Snyder’s-created commission has determined the state needs billions of dollars in long-term infrastructure repairs.
How many billions? The state needs to put up $4 billion per year for 20 years to close the “investment gap” of more than $60 billion in its infrastructure, according to the commission report.
On a forecasted annual basis, there is a $2.7 billion gap in transportation infrastructure. For water, it is $1 billion, and another $70 million for communications.
The 15-member 21st Century Infrastructure Commission’s report included several ways to raise the money including “real money in the multiple billion dollar category” along with smaller amounts in the $100,000 range. Bonding is another option.
However, there was no discussion by the group about dipping into the state’s General Fund to pay for a host of projects.
STATE BUDGET DIRECTOR IS LEAVING
State Budget Director John Roberts has announced he will be leaving for the private sector after the Fiscal Year 2018 budget presentation in February.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Al Pscholka (R- Stevensville) is being strongly considered to replace Mr. Roberts.
The Governor’s office indicates a replacement is expected to be announced before the end of the year.
MEEKHOF SAYS NO
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) has announced he will not seek the Republican nomination for governor in two years.
For months, he had refused to answer the question, “Are you running for governor?”
Committee Liaisons & Representatives: DAS Advisory Committee / December 2016
Focus Areas: High Quality Student Evaluations
Type: Open Committee
Next meeting will be held on May 4, 2017
BAA Advisory Committee
November 3, 2016
Legislative and MDE Updates/New MDE Org Chart
The Special Education office is under the Student Transitions division with Career and Technical Education, Early Childhood Education, Child Development and Care, Head Start State Collaboration, and Preschool and Out-of-School Time Learning under Deputy Superintendent Susan Broman.
The way things are set up now you have Superintendent Whiston, then Chief Deputy Superintendent Norma Jean Sass, then the three Deputy Superintendents Susan Broman, Venessa Keesler, and Kyle Guerrant who oversees Finance and Operations. We will try to find an overall MDE org chart. There are a lot of new staff on our teams as well.
As far as general MDE updates, there isn’t a lot to report. Right now, all our energy is focused on ESSA planning, putting together the state plan, working with the various action teams and committees. We are starting to assemble the next phase of the process and in next several weeks we plan to put together some materials to present to the board. At the end of the month we will be doing informational presentations at least 5 different ISDs starting with Wayne RESA.
Legislatively it’s been comparatively quiet around assessment and accountability. There is however, a lot of discussion around the 3rd grade reading law and how that will affect us regarding assessment and accountability. We are spending a lot of time looking at the early grade assessment tools that we have out there and looking at what we will need to do. How we are going to make the 3rd grade assessments work. There is a scenario where MDE would buy assessment tools for the schools to use. Everything is still in the discussion stage.
As we get into this Andy prefaced the discussion by noting that the department is still in the information gathering stage of this. There have not been any hard decisions made. We are currently well into Phase 2 of the process. Creating a state plan like this is a journey. Many of us were not around when NCLB was signed so this was new for us in many respects. This is a huge undertaking, it is one plan for the entire department.
There are 4 phases in the development of the official state plan for implementation;
- Phase 1 is Strategic Vision Development. The development of the top 10 in 10 which went very well and establishment of the Vision committees. The vision committees were the precursor to the action teams they laid out the ground work for the action team in terms of the plan and how to go about it. The action teams met several times last summer and were divided by subject (finance, assessment, accountability, supports, etc.) Phase 1 is complete.
- Phase 2 is the initial Plan development and cycles of development and feedback. We are close to finishing Phase 2. In this phase, we put the team together and charged them with how to move forward with the plan. Each team had a little different charge. We put out some surveys out and the teams took the feedback and had the opportunity to incorporate that into their part of the plan. Now that we are into November we have gotten all that information and we are putting together a recommendation. We are not at the stage where we will put all of this back out there and give folks the opportunity for folks to discuss what we came up with. We will be traveling around the state to have open meetings with the public and gather more feedback. We are doing more this time around that we have done in the past, we will be having some evening sessions as well so that we can get feedback from parents and the public. We will then take the feedback and move into phase 3.
- Phase 3 Finalize and Submit. We will take all the feedback and start writing the plan. This will probably go on for the rest of the winter, we are moving as quickly as we can but we are still waiting for guidance from USED. The plan is due this spring and although we don’t have the guidance we feel that we will be ready.
- Phase 4 Implementation. Implementation planning begins in January 2017 with the official USED plan is due in Spring 2017. We feel that we should have the plan done in advance of this deadline giving us time to make adjustments once we hopefully get guidance from USED.
The broad goals for the assessment vision: Provide timely, meaningful, and useful information for teachers, parents, student, and taxpayers. We want to put data into the hands of teachers along with training and tools to help them develop a plan for meeting all the needs of each student. We want to provide parents with timely information on how their child’s proficiency with grade level expectations. We want to provide students with information about where they really are in terms of academic performance and help them set goals. We want to inform taxpayers how we are really performing as a state to allow them to hold schools accountable for growth and proficiency.
The key components of the assessment system; we really want to figure out a system to get multiple points of feedback throughout the year, increased consistency of benchmark tools across the state to try and reduce the amount of testing in schools, to be cognizant of testing times, to have growth measures in addition to proficiency measures, support individual lesson plans and writing, and problem solving to prepare students for success. Andy shared the assessment vision timeline broken out by type, subject, timing, and purpose.
They key points that we needed to talk about were when, accommodations, and overall approach. The big thing we needed to talk about was when. When would the vendors be ready to put together a system to meet our vision? Would they be ready in fall 17 or 18? What we found out was that most vendors are not ready for a potential 2017 launch of a new assessment model for Michigan. This was particularly apparent to vendors that historically have not provided statewide summative assessments in the past. A lot of what we heard was that they could do it but not for a year or so.
Accommodations was a huge question as well. Right now, we provide a lot of accommodations to our students with disabilities. We found that there was a spectrum of accommodation tools available across the vendors and again the vendors that have not historically done statewide assessments have never had to do accommodations. The largest number of currently available accommodations came from DRC and Smarter Balanced.
Lastly overall approach, ESSA says that we could use a combination of interim and benchmark tests in lieu of a summative test, as long as they still meet all of the requirements of peer review. We wanted to hear from the vendors if they had an idea of how to make that work each vendor had different ideas of how to fulfill the assessment vision but an unexpected finding was that all of the vendors still recommend having a summative assessment at each grade level.
The other thing is an alternate assessment, whatever we provide as an assessment there needs to be a version of the same system that is an alternate assessment for students with disabilities. I think we could find a way to buy ourselves some time for a couple of years but we would eventually have to have an alternate.
Some possible paths forward:
ü We keep a summative assessment for all grades in the spring, the vendors recommend this and it covers us for accountability and state and federal requirements. It does not have to look exactly like the M-STEP and the new 3rd grade reading law makes it difficult not to have a summative in 3rd grade. Our options are to keep or modify the current summative test without a new RFP. This would allow us to move to adding additional supports quicker without the time it takes to develop and process an RFP. The other option is to write an RFP and let a potential different vendor create a summative test. The risk with this option is that you don’t know who the vendor might be.
ü We build a Benchmark/Interim test we would be able to use in accountability and as our required test but this would increase the testing instances and it would raise concerns about giving up what the field likes about benchmark tools because we would have to add components of required testing such as additional content, accommodations etc. to what has been historically optional and it would be expensive. The pros of this would be that we could provide one statewide system, we could include growth scores but we would still not be able to replace the summative test with this.
The thing is these are just possibilities, we are waiting to hear back from the superintendent’s office on what they think.
Accountability Timelines for 16/17 and 17/18 – Chris Janzer
Chris started by saying that even though he was only supposed to talk about timelines but he has a whole presentation on Accountability and ESSA. Starting with timelines, the appeal window for scorecards opened on last Monday and that will be open until the Monday after Thanksgiving. The scorecards and rankings that we are doing right now are based on 2015/2016 data and are still covered under the old flex waiver. There isn’t anything really new there. There are some major changes to the way the rankings are does. Schools now have 2 rankings now, they have the Top to Bottom ranking that measures achievement and growth and then we pulled out the achievement gap piece that has its own rankings. We anticipate a public release of this data in December.
Using the 16/17 school year data we are planning to run a pilot of the proposed ESSA accountability system. There are new federal designations, sort of a replacement for the priority and focus designations. We won’t be doing that for the 16/17 data but for 17/18 we will be doing that. So, the pilot would take place a year from now and then the following year we will be doing the full-blown system
We also have a one page document that I hope to have posted on the accountability website…
The requirements under NCLB that are the same under ESSA;
ü Testing in grades 3-8 and 11 in math and ELA,
ü Science is required for reporting but not for the accountability system and science is once per grade span.
ü Annual accountability reporting
ü Disaggregation of data by student sub groups with a minimum N size
ü Full academic year meaning a minimum time of enrollment before we can use the student results in achievement and growth calculations
Social Studies Update – Scott Koenig
Andy introduced Scott Koenig to the committee. Scott has been with the department for about a year now and is our Social Studies content person. Scott gave an overview of the presentation starting with Where Social Studies assessment is going and within that he will give an update on where the social studies standards are headed.
Early Literacy Update – Linda Howley/Julie Murphy
Linda opened the presentation with an overview of the MDE developed Ela and math K-2 benchmarks. She started with the MDE guidance that has been posted on our webpage since June 2016. The guidance gives districts guidance around benchmark assessments for k-2. There is no required testing in these grades but MDE recommends that districts should be giving benchmark assessments in Ela and math in grades 1 and 2 beginning with this school year. There are no planned high stakes accountability attached to these assessments
We do not recommend this in kindergarten as students are just coming in, districts may want to do some observational evaluations in kindergarten.
The reason for the guidance is that we know that some districts have developed their own benchmark assessments for grades 1 and 2 but they may or may not align to MDE standards. MDE has been developing a k, 1, and 2 benchmark assessment in Ela and math for these grades that districts can use. We made these assessments available operationally this fall and districts are free to use Ela or math or both in grades 1 or 2 this fall. We know that districts use a variety of benchmark tools so we wanted to give them some guidance on which tools are considered meeting the definition and criteria of a benchmark assessment. The guidance from MDE is that if your district chooses to administer a benchmark assessment in grades 1 and 2, other than the MDE developed benchmark assessment, you need to make sure that the tool you are using meets both the definition and criteria of a benchmark assessment. We have provided the definition of a benchmark assessment in the guidance document and the criteria that a benchmark assessment needs to have such as, it is administered at regular intervals, typically in the fall and spring, its needs to compliment Michigan’s assessment system, and it needs to be aligned to Michigan’s academic standards in Ela and math. These are a few of the criteria that a benchmark assessment needs to contain.
The one thing that’s changing although very slight, is that we are producing Unified English braille (UEB) test booklets for kids in the youngest grades. Our visually impaired students in the 3rd and 4th grades will take UEB braille, it is the now accepted version of braille. In the past, it was American Braille English Version (ABEV). Grades 5-11 will have the current version of braille but grades 3 & 4 will use the new UEB and we do have practice tests available. If you contact our office, we will put you in touch with the Low incidence outreach office and they will send out braille practice tests for those kids that would like to practice using the braille booklets using either the UEB or the ABEV braille and eventually all braille will be UEB. We are doing the conversion in that manner because it’s the younger kids that are being taught the UEB.
Supervisors of Low Incidence Programs (SLIP) (CoP) / December 2016
Focus Areas: Program Evaluation, Skilled Staff, Specially Designed Instruction (SDI)
Type: Open Committee
- Behavior & SLIP Winter Conference – January 19-20, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza, Lansing. Registration is open on the MAASE website under “Upcoming Events.” Hotel reservations at the MAASE rate need to be reserved before heading out on the Holiday Break.
- Next SLIP Meeting – February 7, 2017 @ 12:00 (Packard Room)
- March Site Visit – TBA soon!
1. SLIP Winter Conference – January 19-20, 2017 @ The Crowne Plaza, Lansing.
a. Registration is open and the program outlining the presenters for each day is posted on the MAASE Website. You can register for Thursday only, Friday only, or both days. Please share with your staff and encourage them to register before they go on break.
b. Hotel – Discounted MAASE room rates are available until the Holiday Break. Cost is $119 per night.
2. 1% Exceptions – Discussion on Additional Information Needed for BLC. This information did result in a color designation change for their building. Window is over. Tina will send out approval lists when the time comes for applications to be completed again for the next school year.
3. Annual Report – Memo recently sent out with new requirements to districts. (Link below). Discussion held over districts receiving OCR complaints related to website information that was not meeting ADA requirements. Issue relates to PDF format. Keep information posted until you are able to phase in corrected forms. AER’s are due by January 27th.
4. ACT – Suggestion – Do not register your school for ACT if you do not have ANY students taking the ACT. This should prevent you from getting materials and any further calls. This was an issue last year for districts that respond to emails from ACT. Tina communicated with Robin Wright from MDE and got her building designated as “Not Participating.” Her email is WrightR12@michigan.gov
a. Bills on Seclusion/Restraint are still being pushed forward during Lame Duck behind the scenes.
b. Discussion on Special Olympics and impact on district with OCR complaint in the past. Noted that Jeff Butler was recently assigned to the Special Olympics Board.
c. Discussion on ISD Plans versus staffing/student needs.
d. Floater Para written into one ISD plan was discussed as well.
e. Work group in the future for SLIP was discussed on the development of documentation/protocols related to Seclusion/Restraint guidelines, should this bill pass.
ISD Collaborative (CoP) / December 2016
Focus Areas: Program Evaluation, Skilled Staff
Type: Open Committee
This year’s Monitor’s Conference will be hosted by Region 4 in Detroit, May 10-12.
Registration will begin Wednesday, May 10 at 12:00PM with an optional group dinner at 6:00PM. There is a team building activity planned for Wednesday evening at 5:00PM, so please try to arrive for that.
The Monitor’s Conference will have the 4 MAASE Focus Areas embedded throughout.
ISD Plan Amendment Requests: The majority of members of this group received letters from MDE asking that amendments be made to the ISD Plan due to 1862 language changes. Some ISD’s have already submitted amended plans and have had them approved. Discussion revolved around the Guidance on Early child hood Michigan Mandatory Special Education and Early On Services for Infants and Toddlers Birth to Three Funding Support document and what language changes are being implemented that have successfully been approved.
Complaints: Five ISDs have been involved in complaint outcomes where the MDE-OSE has investigated an eligibility issue and over turned eligibility in their final report. Discussion among this groups members revolved around the MDE-OSE interpretation that State complaint procedures can be used to resolve any complaint that meets requirements of 300.153, including matters concerning identification, evaluation, educational placement , or the provision of FAPE. The MDE-OSE has stated that If the SEA determines that the public agency’s eligibility determination is not supported by child-specific facts. The SEA can order the public agency, on a case-by-case basis, to reconsider the eligibility determination, in light of those facts. MDE-OSE has interpreted “reconsider” to mean overturn.