UPDATE: State Board of Education looks at MSTEP, LBGT issues

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UPDATE 3:55 p.m. – Michigan’s education board has approved guidance to schools on creating an inclusive environment for LGBT students.

The guidelines are voluntary but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, particularly over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students.

The Democratic-controlled State Board of Education passed the guidance 6-2 Wednesday, after receiving passionate public testimony from people in support and against.

Recommendations to schools include making good faith efforts to address students by their chosen name and pronoun when asked. The guidance also urges schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

Education officials say the draft guidance was amended to encourage local school districts to engage their communities in the development of their own policies and to urge greater consideration for parental involvement. Critics say the revisions are meaningless.

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – The State Board of Education is meeting today and board members are addressing two major topics: MSTEP scores and issues facing LGBT students.

The board learned today that eight percent of students in Michigan high schools identified as lesbian, bisexual or gay.

Research indicates that LBG students report higher numbers of feeling intimidated or didn’t go to school because they school because they felt unsafe.

Those students also report grades lower that a C average and are more likely to attempt suicide.

The board reports said guidelines for schools with LBGT students are voluntary and not mandatory.

Family involvement and engagement with the student and school is not only important, it is the cornerstone.

The board also saw information about how student hunger and lack of sleep can impact performance on MSTEP testing.

Data was presented that indicates that science proficiency increased at all three grade levels tested with the largest gain of 3.6 percent among 11th graders.

Mathematics results also climbed in four of six grades with the fourth grader numbers jumping 2.6 percent.

There was a decline in social studies at all three grade levels tested with the largest drop seen in the 5th grade.

95 percent of Michigan schools took the MSTEP test online.

This story will be updated online and on 6 News tonight.

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