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Incoming state superintendent wants to reduce testing, keep watch on homeschoolers

Jun 10, 2015

Credit jimmiehomeschoolmom / flickr

The incoming state superintendent says he wants to cut down on the amount of time students spend taking standardized tests.

Brian Whiston answered questions from lawmakers on Wednesday for the first time. He says the state may need to move away from the brand new M-STEP exam.

“Is there a test out there that can do that? Or can we develop a test that meets the needs of local districts and the state, reduces the amount of testing so we can spend more time on instruction?” he said.

The current Dearborn Public Schools superintendent also said the state should keep closer tabs on homeschooling families.

He says homeschooling is an option that should exist for parents and kids. But he says Michigan needs to make sure those children are actually getting an education.

“At Oakland Schools, when I was in charge of truancy, what would happen in some cases is some parents would say, ‘Oh, we’re homeschooling our kids,’ when we knew they weren’t,” said Whiston. “They just weren’t sending them to school.”

A Democratic bill in the state House would require students to meet twice a year with officials such as police officers or social workers. The goal is to make sure they’re safe. Whiston suggested that bill may go too far.