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Listen Tuesdays at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FMAccording to the Kids Count report of April 2018, 56% of third graders in Michigan are not proficient in English Language Arts. At the same time, some new public school teachers in Michigan are leaving the classroom because they do not earn enough money for a decent living. Virtual and charter schools are on the rise in Michigan. And in some communities there are breakthroughs in raising better readers.Covering education in Michigan is complex, but WKAR is committed to reporting on the problems, searching for solutions, and holding leaders accountable.Listen for Making The Grade in Michigan with WKAR education reporter Kevin Lavery every Tuesday at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM's Morning Edition.

MI Board of Education Criticizes "A-F" Grading Law

governor and teachers
Kevin Lavery
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (center right) meets with members of the Michigan State Board of Education Tuesday in Lansing.

The Michigan Department of Education says a controversial new school accountability law will not improve student achievement.  

Republican lawmakers passed the so-called “A-F” grading law in the waning days of the lame duck legislature.  The law would assign letter grades to Michigan schools starting this fall.   Educators say that would set back efforts to put less reliance on standardized testing.  


Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles says the A-F system would also create two separate accountability standards.


“Which now causes confusion and discontent,” says Alles.  “Schools and districts are saying once again, ‘why once again are you changing our accountability system?  Which one is the reliable one; which one do we turn to?’” 


Alles says the law would also require the Michigan Department of Education to re-start an ongoing program to help the state’s most troubled school districts.  


The department is asking Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to review the law to avoid conflicting with existing state and federal statutes.


Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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