In the frantic bill passing of lame duck, the state Legislature pushed through an A-F grading system for Michigan schools. It requires the state to grade K-12 schools in five areas, and then make the grades available for parents to view.
Former Governor Snyder signed the bill into law December 28, despite vigorous objections and criticisms from many corners of the education community, including interim state school superintendent Sheila Alles, who is now seeking a legal review of the grading system.
Listen to the interview with Sheila Alles above.
Alles is concerned that the law could violate both the state’s federally-approved education plan, as well as federal law.
“There are conflicts with the Every Student Succeeds Act, otherwise known as ESSA,” she says. “And where there are some conflicts with ESSA, have to do with certain subgroups that the state law is allowing to be excluded, or certain groups of students that state law indicates that can be excluded from counting them. And ESSA says that you must include all students, and you cannot exempt any students.”
Alles says the state law indicates students who are chronically absent and students who qualify for special education programs are among those who can be excluded if they meet certain criteria.
Alles adds that she has heard complaints from many district superintendents about the law in that it will create two accountability systems, one at the state level and one at the federal level.
“It will be confusing, exasperating, and frustrating for superintendents.”