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State Schools Superintendent Defends Teachers

Apr 8, 2014

Flanagan defends teachers after report says Michigan schools falling behind

The state's top education official says people should not blame teachers for a new report that shows Michigan schools are falling behind.

Michigan schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan.
Credit www.michigan.gov

The Education Trust-Midwest presented its study to the state Board of Education Tuesday. It shows student growth improving in other states while Michigan students lag behind, especially minority and low-income students.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the report is troubling. But he says it's important to provide some context.

"In spite of the legitimacy of that report, our teachers are working hard," said Flanagan. "And there are growth issues, but, also, we're the only state that's been in a depression. We lost a ton of seasoned teachers through retirement incentives, we have a turnover of 50% of the superintendents, which, leadership matters."

Flanagan says the problems addressed in the report are not because Michigan lacks talented, dedicated teachers. He says the report's authors show there is plenty of blame to go around.

"They're doing the right thing by kind of holding our collective feet to the fire, the whole system; legislators - starting with them - and through all of us, including classroom teachers."

The report recommends adopting more rigorous school standards and implementing a new statewide teacher evaluation system. Flanagan says he thinks the state's recent adoption of the Common Core State Standards will help improve student performance.