LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Just like students, public schools are given grades. Some state lawmakers and educators are looking to change that.
It’s part of an accountability system based on a school’s annual performance. It was passed in 2018 by a Republican-led legislature during a lame-duck session.
After advancing from a house committee earlier Tuesday morning, the Democrat-controlled state house voted to repeal it 63-45. It would eliminate the statewide system that assigns an “A-F” letter grade and a ranking to a public school. The bill also puts an end to the annual list of underperforming and failing schools released by the Michigan Department of Education.
Officials said the ranking system for schools only added a layer of confusion, instead of accountability.
“This is one of three accountability systems that are currently being used in some fashion. We would argue, frankly, that this is the least effective. It can be misleading by trying to reduce every single school building to a grade,” Matt Schueller with the Michigan Association for Superintendents and Administrators said.
The Michigan Department of Education said the grading system was not negotiated with those who need to use it, like parents, educators and other stakeholders.
With the passage of P.A. 601 during the lame duck session in December of 2018, the Michigan Legislature added an A-F grading system, to be applied to most schools in the State of Michigan. The Michigan State Board of Education and the Michigan Department of Education believe this system is not necessary; that it duplicates information that can be found in our highly successful Parent Dashboard for School Transparency; and that it distills the performance of schools into overly simple letter grades. The system relies too heavily on assessment data to the exclusion of other important measures of student progress. Finally, the system was not negotiated with those who need to use it—parents, educators, and other stakeholders. For those reasons, among others, while we provide it here in compliance with law, we recommend visitors use the Parent Dashboard for School Transparency to find specific and helpful information about schools throughout the state.The Michigan Department of Education