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A-F grading system for schools up for consideration again

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Some lawmakers in Lansing want to use an A through F grading system to rate schools in some categories.

This isn’t the first time an A through F system has been considered. Lawmakers say it’s an easy way to show how schools are doing.

But recently, the state adopted a system that shows a lot of details about each public school. A new bill would keep that system but include A through F grades for some things.

Brian Love is a parent from Detroit. He says parents need an easy way to determine if a school is good for their kids.

“Parents have enough going on in their world, enough drama if you will," said Love. "But parents need as much help as possible and one of the easiest ways is being able to help a parent identify what’s a good school and what’s a bad school.”

State Rep. Bill Sowerby, D-Clinton Twp., isn’t on board. He says there are other factors that can impact the school’s performance that aren’t reflected in a letter grade -- things like poverty and student home lives.

"I don’t know that we are talking about fair comparisons across the board between school districts if just using a single letter grade and not looking at all those other socioeconomic factors,” Sowerby said.

The bill would also require schools be ranked in certain areas from significantly above average to significantly below average. Supporters say this system would increase accountability in schools.

The bill is currently waiting for a committee vote.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R