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Article of Interest - Michigan

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Bridges4Kids LogoWatkins Gets A- From Board
MIRS, July 7, 2004
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The State Board of Education gave state Superintendent Tom Watkins an A- today before unanimously giving Board President Kathleen Straus the go-ahead to start working on Watkins' new contract.

Board members dubbed Watkins an enthusiastic spokesperson for the children of Michigan and praised his ability to make headway with Michigan schools during tough financial times for the state and local school districts.

In particular, Board member Reginald TURNER said he was happy with the way the Department of Education has brought focus on the needs of High Priority schools.

"He has us moving in the right direction," Turner said.

Watkins, hired in late spring 2001, received glowing letters of recommendations from Gov. Jennifer GRANHOLM; St. Clair Intermediate School District (ISD) Superintendent Dan DeGROW, the former Republican Senate Majority Leader; and charter school association head Dan QUISENBERRY. DeGrow said Watkins does a good job focusing on the positives of public education and Granholm praised him for the "smooth transition" of bringing the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) test from the Department of Treasury to the Department of Education.

"My accreditation standard is if each school would be good enough for my kids, or your kids, to go to," Watkins said. "There are schools that aren't there, yet. Until such time our work is not done."

No Minor? Not Major
In other action today, the State Board eased the rules so secondary teachers who fail their minor subject area exam twice can still teach that particular subject.

A 48-member study group of college and university teaching program representatives recommended the new process to take care of teachers that fail the test twice in a row. Under the exception, the new teacher would be less marketable, but would qualify under the federal No Child Left Behind guidelines of meeting the "highly qualified" teacher standard of having a deeper knowledge of a certain major subject area.


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