School grade accountability repeal moves forward in Michigan

House approves school A-F system repeal
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:12 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Schools are getting one step closer to no longer getting letter grades from the state. The Michigan House of Representatives decided to repeal the school A-F accountability system Tuesday afternoon.

Right now schools have two different state systems holding to hold them accountable. Districts say the A-F system is too simple and doesn’t take everything into effect. But some people want to keep it because A-F is easy for parents to understand.

“It’s reducing all the work educators do to support students down to a single letter,” said Mandy Stewart, Charlotte Public Schools superintendent.

Stewart is one of many administrators across Michigan hoping to see the A-F accountability system go away. It is one of two state accountability standards schools are trying to meet.

“When you have two different sets of expectations, trying to meet all of those requirements. Because we do want to make sure we’re following expectations,” said Stewart.

The Michigan Department of Education said the A-F system doesn’t meet federal standards. The Michigan Accountability Index, which includes data in more specific areas, does.

“But it’s very complicated. So, like I said, me as a mom, going through there, I understand if my school is an A, B, C or D or an F,” said Rep. Jaime Greene, (R) Richmond.

Greene said she’d like to see lawmakers come up with a compromise taking both systems into consideration.

“Take time, sort through this, get a system that’s actually going to work that we’re not going to change in four years,” Greene said.

Stewart said she hasn’t seen parents decide to send their kids to Charlotte because of a letter grade from the state. She said they’re looking at different programs in the district instead.

“Because they want to know what kind of education they’re going to be getting in a district and what their options are versus a single letter grade,” said Stewart.

The state department of education told representatives last week it finds more low-performing schools using the Michigan Accountability Index than through the A-F system.

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