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Michigan Lawmakers Move Forward With Repealing ‘Failing Schools’ Law

Wikipedia Media Commons

Lawmakers are considering a repeal of a law that allows the state to shut down low-performing schools. 

The so-called “failing schools law” determines Michigan’s worst-performing schools based on their test scores.  Schools on the list for too long could be closed for good.

Although many were in favor of getting rid of the “failing schools law,” some lawmakers say they’re concerned about how schools would be held accountable without the law.

Bill sponsor and chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St Clair) said they are still working on a new accountability plan.  “We are gonna continue working with the administration and with the [State] Department [of Education] to find a solution that fits for everybody,” he said.  “Get an accountability system in the state of Michigan that works, and is predictable, and is reliable.”

The state School Reform Office recently released a list of 38 schools that could close due to multiple years of low performance. 

Leslie Boyd traveled from Detroit to testify at the Senate committee hearing Tuesday.  One of her sons goes to Michigan Technical Academy – which is one of the 38 schools identified by the state School Reform Office as being eligible for closure due to multiple years of low performance.  Boyd said the current system is flawed.

“You have people that haven’t sat there,” she said.  “You have people that have not went to the schools personally.  You have people making decisions that don’t know exactly what each school is going through and what each school’s individual needs are.” 

Boyd said she thinks the government needs to put itself in the children’s and parents' shoes before deciding to close schools. 

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at

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