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Michigan Radio's Grading Michigan Schools is a multi-part series that takes an in-depth look at education in Michigan. We hear why one college student feels let down by the public school system in the state. We find out about "unschooling," an education philosophy that abandons textbooks and a curriculum. We also look at how the public school system is serving at-risk students through education for the very young and early intervention for kids with special education needs.Support for Grading Michigan Schools comes from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, a founder of the Grand Rapids Education Reform Initiative, and The Skillman Foundation, a voice for Detroit children since 1960.

State Senate passes A-F bill; procedural action away from Snyder’s consideration

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Matt Katzenberger
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Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK
Michigan schools could start getting graded. A bill is one procedural action away from the governor’s desk. It would assign schools an A through F letter grade in multiple areas of performance. ";

Gov. Rick Snyder will consider whether to add another performance rating system for Michigan schools. A bill with an A through F grading system is a final procedural action away from Snyder’s desk.

Schools would not receive an overall grade. Instead, they would be graded in different areas like student growth in math and graduation rates.

State Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) is a bill sponsor. He’s been working on this for six years.

Schools would not receive an overall grade. Instead, they'd be graded in different areas like student growth in math and graduation rates.

"I think it’ll help not only parents, but it’ll also help schools" he says, "help identify their weaknesses and try and focus on trying to bring those areas of weaknesses up."

Opponents say the bill doesn’t help anyone. Instead, they say it would now be the third method of evaluating schools in three years. They say you don’t get a quality accountability system when schools keep having to meet moving targets.

Jennifer Smith is with the Michigan Association of School Boards. Smith says the organization was neutral on the bill in the spring – but now they’re opposed. She says that’s in part because lawmakers passed the bill without working with stakeholders.

"So there’s a lot of questions about how this will actually work," she says. "And again, if we had time to sit down and talk about it, we could probably come up something that we could all live with."

Opponents also say you don’t get a quality accountability system when schools keep having to meet moving targets.

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
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