State Board of Education Update- May

Posted by Sherisse Butler on 5/21/2021 10:00:00 AM

The May 2021 meeting of the Michigan State Board of Education was held remotely on May 11th. State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice delivered an update on Michigan’s response to COVID-19, the effects of pandemic learning on Michigan students, and the MI Department of Education’s (MDE) priorities going forward. In particular, Superintendent Rice offered recommendations for how best to utilize the $3.5 billion in federal funds the state is receiving for K-12 education from the American Rescue Plan.


Superintendent Rice outlined the following priorities for MDE:

  • Early Childhood Education expansion: 
    • Districts can make an investment in preschool with federal dollars not typically available. Investing in children early on will benefit students in our state for years to come.


  • Health & Wellness: 
    • HVAC replacement/upgrades, windows able to open and close for ventilation
    • Expand programs in trauma-informed care, implicit bias training, social and emotional learning, and hire more mental health professionals in Michigan schools.
  • Michigan’s Teacher Shortage: 
    • Expand programs allowing school support staff to become teachers
    • Increase teacher pay (especially for starting positions) 
    • Reduce or eliminate barriers to recertification to encourage educators to remain in the profession. At least 1,000 former educators have expressed to MDE an interest in returning to the profession. 


  • School Accountability: 
    • Superintendent Rice called on legislators in Lansing to take action on third grade reading retention requirements, student testing performance being tied to teacher evaluations, and A-F grading in light of pandemic learning’s effects.


Following the superintendent’s report, the Board heard from Gloria Chapman, assistant director of MDE’s Office of Partnership Districts, on the partnership program and its implementation in DPSCD and other districts across the state. Chapman highlighted the receipt of Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grants by DPSCD and three other partner districts, as well as the collaborative efforts of MDE Partner Districts to provide students with food, technology, and social/emotional learning support during the pandemic.


The Board heard informational presentations from Easterseals Michigan on their work with behavioral health services in Oakland County Schools and from two Michigan Teachers of the Year from Oak Park and Portage Schools. Finally, a data presentation on the Top Ten Strategic Education Plan’s secondary learning expansion goal detailed the overall increases in both enrollment and completion of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Early Middle College, Dual Enrollment, and Individualized Education programs by Michigan students, while also recognizing areas with room for growth.


The Michigan State Board of Education will meet again on June 8th, 2021.