Change Underway in How State Grades Schools

Jul 30, 2012

Michigan will change how it grades schools and teachers when students return to classrooms this fall. The state Department of Education has a waiver from federal rules that will let Michigan try some new things.

State schools superintendent Michael Flanagan says some aspects of the federal 'No Child Left Behind' act were too punitive. Schools that don’t show enough progress will still face consequences, such as a takeover by a charter school. But Flanagan says schools and teachers will get a better shot at reaching goals set in turnaround plans.

He says teachers will be expected to show a year of student progress, regardless of where a student starts out.

“That’s a fair system," he says. "That’s one that teachers can own up to.  They’ve been beat up a lot under the old system and this changes that.”

Flanagan says the new system will also focus more on what successful schools are up to. He says that helps build community support for public education, and allows those schools to serve as examples to others.