In a bold declaration in a Michigan Department of Education News Release (poasted May 4, 2009), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan explained that national and state standards need to be increased dramatically:
"We are testing basic skills here, not what students need to compete at a global level," Flanagan said. "If schools only have low or moderate numbers of students being proficient at the basic skills level, what does that say about those schools and the chances for those students to succeed?"
Flanagan noted that even though Michigan's curriculum standards are among the best and most rigorous in the nation, its state tests are scored at a scale below international standards. He expects those test scoring scales will be increased to reflect the level of proficiency Michigan students need to compete at global levels. Independent studies have concluded that Michigan test scores rate at the national average among all states, while globally, the United States rates lower than many other nations.
"Being an academically average state in an academically below-average nation doesn't offer much hope for the future," Flanagan said. "We need to raise expectations for our schools and our students, and reimagine how we educate all of our children to extraordinary levels so Michigan can lead with brain power as we did in manufacturing."