The following summarizes content from the state's application for Lead State Partner in 2011.
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Michael P. Flanagan
Primary Point of Contact: Susan Codere Kelly — Project Coordinator
Partner Organizations: Michigan Science Teacher Association; Michigan Virtual University; Science Matters/Building a Presence; Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM; Michigan STEM Partnership.
Background: Michigan requires students to complete three science courses, including one in biology and one in either chemistry or physics, in order to satisfy the Michigan graduation requirements. In 2008, Michigan restructured its science standards from grade bands to grade level standards K–7 and College and Career Readiness science standards for high school. Michigan is a local control state, where districts have the discretion to teach state standards in any order as long as they are taught before statewide assessments. The Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) assesses students in grades 5, 8, and 11; however the grade 11 exam is a compilation of the ACT Science Reasoning component and a state developed supplement. While Michigan believes its science standards to be rigorous in content, it is aware of the advantages of multi-state collaboration and the benefits of common standards and is eager to work on developing, adopting, and implementing the NGSS.
Commitment: Michigan has shown a strong commitment to standards based learning through its adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and its position as a governing state in SMARTER Balanced. The Michigan Department of Education has worked to develop a framework for universal implementation of standards, which include the CCSS and any future standards, to allow for equal implementation across the state. The framework will allow implementation structures to be in place for the NGSS for assessment development and improvement, professional development, infrastructure improvements, and communication. This dedication to development and implementation of common standards shows the commitment Michigan has to the adoption of the NGSS.
STEM Involvement: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are vital to Michigan’s economy, for the state must transform from a historically unskilled labor force to one comprised of skilled workers, specifically in the areas of science and technology. Michigan’s Science Teacher Association and regional Math/Science Centers have curriculum support models in these subjects that could act as models for other states. Additionally, the Michigan Virtual University (MVU) allows for an easily accessible database of science education tools, curriculum, and professional development. Working with the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM, Michigan has formed a statewide STEM Partnership network of business and industry professionals, policy makers, and educators in order to enhance STEM education in Michigan.
Alliances and Infrastructure: There are strong professional alliances in Michigan that assist with science education advancement statewide. The Michigan Science Teacher Association puts on one of the nation’s largest annual conferences, and there are strong professional educator organizations in the following content areas, earth sciences, biology, chemistry, and physics, which result in strong professional development, communication, and educator resources. The Science Matters/Building a Presence network Michigan branch is one of the largest in the country with approximately 3,500 teachers representing over 60% of school buildings involved. These members receive a complete update on all national and state science education information, which again helps with communication and professional development within the state.
Check back soon for more information on Michigan's state team and implementation plans