Changes Possible In Who's In Charge Of Standardized Testing

May 14, 2014

Bill would take standardized testing duties away from state education officials

State education officials would no longer oversee K-12 standardized testing in Michigan under a bill in the state House. It would move those duties to the state Department of Treasury.

Credit michigan.gv/mde

The state Legislature and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) have been sparring in recent months over standardized tests. The MDE wants to replace the state's MEAP test with a computer-based exam that measures student growth - unlike the MEAP.

But lawmakers say the department is dragging its heels on looking into other options, including keeping the MEAP.

"We've had some challenges in dealing with the Department of Education," said state Rep. Bob Genetski, R-Saugatuck, who introduced House Bill 5581 Wednesday. "And it seems at times as if we're dealing with more of a political animal than an aspect of the administration."

"When the person crafting your budget tells you that you're going to do this, and you continually say 'we can't,' I think there's other people who can," said Genetski.

The state Department of Treasury oversaw standardized tests under former Governor John Engler - a Republican. Democratic former Governor Jennifer Granholm gave those duties back to the MDE.

Genetski's legislation has 21 co-sponsors in the House - all Republican. That includes House Education Committee Chair Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto.

It will be up to Lyons to decide whether to bring the legislation up for hearings or a vote in committee. She told reporters Wednesday she finds the idea of removing standardized testing duties from the MDE "intriguing."

The MDE and the Michigan Department of Treasury have not returned requests for comment.