Below are the priorities for the 2017-18 legislative session as approved by the MASA Government Relations & Policy Committee and the MASA Council. These issues will serve as the proactive policy agenda for the Association.
A stable School Aid Fund is vital to a successful education system. MASA supports efforts that protect school funding and work toward a more equitable and stable funding system for all pupils in the State of Michigan. To that end the Association opposes any efforts to erode the stability of the School Aid Fund and any policy mechanisms that intentionally reduce revenues without adequate replacements. Additionally, MASA supports continuing the work that began with the 2016 Michigan Education Finance Study to better understand funding needs for all local and intermediate school districts.
In an era of high stakes evaluation and school accountability, MASA believes that our student assessment system must be meaningful and consistent. MASA supports an assessment system that accurately and appropriately measures student growth and that can be used to inform the craft of educators. Additionally, MASA believes that the state should adopt an assessment and accountability system that is fair, transparent, open and stable to provide educators with the tools they need to be successful long-term.
Work continues within the ESSA process to ensure that an assessment system that meets the above benchmarks is achieved.
Michigan has long been a leader in education, however our current calendar clings to the past and serves adults over students. MASA supports repealing language in MCL 380.1284b that prohibits starting school before Labor Day to grant local districts the control and flexibility they need to determine what is educationally appropriate for their community.
MASA supports efforts to encourage flexibility in the calendar to accommodate a wide range of learning needs and arrangements.
Privatization of Public Education
MASA firmly opposes using any public dollars for private education. The voters of Michigan have twice spoken; public dollars are for public schools. Actions taken in recent School Aid Budgets look to overturn the will of the people and undermine that line of demarcation.
The Association is currently working to roll back that dangerous precedent and safeguard school aid dollars from unconstitutional expenditures on private schools and work to reverse the trend of profit in public education
Accountability and SRO
MASA supports the repeal of Sec 1280c, the so-called “Failing Schools Legislation”. In its place, MASA supports an accountability system that supports schools in their effort to ensure that every student succeeds. That system should be fair, transparent, consistent, and should explore multiple options to ensure that Michigan is on track to be a top ten state.
MASA recognizes the importance of flexible learning delivery methods. However, the proliferation of virtual schools must not be unfettered. To that end we support more accountably in virtual education to ensure that every student participating in cyber programming is receiving a quality education and services are not duplicative.
Additionally, MASA will work to ensure that funding methods for virtual schools are aligned with costs associated with virtual education.