Testing mania? I don’t know…you tell me

Won’t be long and Michigan’s high school juniors, like my grandson at Wayland Union High School will be taking SAT. That will be new for Michigan’s juniors because since 2008 they’ve been required to take the ACT. Twelve states (including Michigan) have such a mandate.

Testing mania? I don’t know…you tell me

Following the release (just before this school year began) of test-taker data for the state’s 2015 high school grads by American College Test and the State of Michigan, those who follow such things like me, learned that composite test scores continued to hover around 20.0 dating back to 2011.  The latest results showed Connecticut graduates led all states with a 24 composite score while Hawaii was lowest average with an 18.5 composite score. Michigan’s composite score ranked 38th in the nation along with New Mexico.

For those unfamiliar with the ACT, the multi-part test (English, math, reading, biology and writing) is scored on a scale of 1-36. Michigan’s composite scores remain relatively consistent since the Legislature mandated 100 percent of high school juniors take the test.  See historical below.

 Why compare Michigan’s ACT scores to all 50 states?

I don’t know… You tell me.

While the MLive article I read back in August compared Michigan across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia since there are ONLY 12 states that mandate 100 percent of their high school students (11th graders) take the ACT there really is no reason to compare such a large group – just those 12 that mandate 100 percent participation.

Then, I would suggest take the numbers and compare demographics especially noting the poverty rates for those 12 states.

In spring 2013, all public high school 11th graders in the states of Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming were tested with the ACT as required by each state.

Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming students who met ACT’s 2014 graduating class criteria are included in the 2014 graduating class average score results.

What was the point back in the spring of 2007 when the Michigan legislature mandated that all Michigan juniors regardless of their interest in post-secondary education, courses completed, academic standing must take the ACT?

I don’t know… You tell me.

Michigan Historical ACT Composite Scores – Percentage of graduates as test-takers

2014 – 20.1 – 100 percent of juniors regardless of post-secondary plans

2013 – 19.9 – 100 percent

2012 – 20.1 – 100 percent

2011 – 20.0 – 100 percent

2010  – 19.7 – 100 percent

2009 – 19.6 – 100 percent

2008 – 19.6 – 100 percent

2007 – 21.5 – 70 percent/college-bound graduates only

2006 –  21.5 – 67 percent

2005 –  21.4 – 69 percent

2004 – 21.4 – 68 percent

2003 – 21.3 – 69 percent

2002 – 21.3 – 68 percent

2001 – 21.3 – 69 percent

2000 – 21.3 – 71 percent

1999 – 21.3 – 69 percent

1998 – 21.3 – 68 percent

1997 – 21.3 – 68 percent

1996 – 21.1 – 64 percent

1995- 21.1 – 64 percent

1994 – 21.0 – 63 percent

Maybe to prove that non-college bound student scores will lower the composite average?

I don’t know… you tell me.


Think there’s a direct correlation between a state’s ACT composite scores and the same state’s percentage of poverty?

I don’t know… You tell me.

States Mandating ACT                       2014 Composite Score            % Poverty Rate​

  1. ​Utah                                        20.8                                         12.7
  2. Illinois                                     20.7                                         14.7
  3. Colorado                                 20.6​                                         13.0
  4. No. Dakota                             20.6​                                         10.0
  5. Montana                                  20.5                                         16.5
  6. Michigan                                 20.1​                                         17.0
  7. Wyoming                                20.1​                                         10.9
  8. Kentucky                                19.9                                         18.8
  9. ​Tennessee                                19.8​                                         17.8
  10. Louisiana                                 19.2                                         19.8
  11. Mississippi                               19.0                                         24.0
  12. ​No. Carolina                            18.9                                         17.9


Maybe there really is a correlation between educational “success” as measured by ACT composite score.

I don’t know… you tell me.

By the way… the 6 states with the most people living in poverty as of 2014 are:

  1. Mississippi (100 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 24.0 percent – ACT composite = 19.0)
  2. New Mexico (69 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 21.9 percent – ACT composite = 19.9)
  3. Kentucky (100 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.8 percent – ACT composite =19.9)
  4. Arkansas  (93 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.7 percent – ACT composite = 20.4)
  5. Louisiana (100 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.2 percent – ACT composite = 19.2)
  6. Georgia (53 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – Poverty Rate: 19.0 percent – ACT composite = 20.8)


To this list I probably should list the District of Columbia where 37 percent of graduates took the 2014 ACT – The Poverty Rate: 18.6 –  and the ACT composite = 21.6)

As noted above, Michigan’s percentage of people living in poverty is 17.0.







So, what should all that mean to parents, teachers and students?

I don’t know… You tell me.

The Flint water crisis and the billionaires behind Governor Rick Snyder | Eyes on the Ties

In March 2014, the city of Flint began sourcing its water from the Flint River, a decision that would have ostensibly saved the city $5 million over two years, at the behest of state-appointed Emergency Manager Darnell Earley. Soon after the switch, residents began complaining of water with a rank smell and taste, and samples tested in coming months were found to contain fecal coliform bacteria, trihalomethanes (a disinfection product), and high levels of lead. The latter has been found in the bloodstreams of Flint’s children and infants.

Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency on December 15, but evidence indicates that officials in Snyder’s administration not only acknowledged the severity of crisis in Flint for months prior – they tried to cover it up.

Last September, the ACLU found that officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality manipulated lead tests from Flint so as not to attract the ire of the Environmental Protection Agency. Andemails sent last July by Snyder’s Chief of Staff, Dennis Muchmore, revealed that the administration was aware of the severity of the crisis months before it decided to switch Flint’s water source back to Detroit.

Now, as Michigan state police go door-to-door delivering bottled water and water filters to Flint residents, people are calling for Snyder’s resignation and even his arrest.

As these demands intensify, it’s worth examining the network of out-of-state billionaires propping up Snyder. It includes not only far-right bogeyman David Koch, but prominent centrists and Democratic donors that fund work around environmental, public health, and education issues. In fact, some of these Snyder donors are major funders of organizations that have taken action around the Flint water crisis, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. Below is a list of notable donors, all of whom maxed out to Snyder’s 2014 campaign (a full list is here).

Source: The Flint water crisis and the billionaires behind Governor Rick Snyder | Eyes on the Ties

School News Network :: The Weight of the Test


After Years of Increasing Emphasis, Some are Saying ‘Enough is Enough’

by Erin Albanese

All Districts, MI —  Taking the PSAT left Kent Innovation High School sophomore Anna DeBraber feeling stressed, frustrated and as if the years of work in class and the community didn’t matter.

She became so emotional about it that she created a 7-minute Facebook video to vent her concerns.

Her score doesn’t reflect the real-world skills she’s developing at the non-traditional school where she gets to focus on group projects and presentations for a professional audience, she said.

More here: School News Network :: The Weight of the Test

U.S. Radically Changes Its Story of the Boats in Iranian Waters: to an Even More Suspicious Version

The original government/media script — the boats suffered engine failure and were “in distress” — has now been replaced with a brand new story.

When news first broke of the detention of two U.S. ships in Iranian territorial waters, the U.S. media — aside from depicting it as an act of Iranian aggression — uncritically cited the U.S. government’s explanation for what happened. One of the boats, we were told, experienced “mechanical failure” and thus “inadvertently drifted” into Iranian waters. On CBS News, Joe Biden told Charlie Rose, “One of the boats had engine failure, drifted into Iranian waters.”

Provided their government script, U.S. media outlets repeatedly cited these phrases — “mechanical failure” and “inadvertently drifted” and “boat in distress” — like some sort of hypnotic mantra. Here’s Eli Lake of Bloomberg News explaining yesterday why this was all Iran’s fault:

Iran’s handling of the situation violated international norms. … Two small U.S. sea craft transiting between Kuwait and Bahrain strayed into Iranian territorial waters because of a mechanical failure, according to the U.S. side. This means the boats were in distress.

Lake quoted John McCain as saying that “boats do not lose their sovereign immune status when they are in distress at sea.” The night the news broke, Reuters quickly said the “boats may have inadvertently drifted into Iranian waters” and “another U.S. official said mechanical issues may have disabled one of the boats, leading to a situation in which both ships drifted inadvertently into Iranian waters.”

The U.S. government itself now says this story was false.

Source: U.S. Radically Changes Its Story of the Boats in Iranian Waters: to an Even More Suspicious Version