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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