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House votes to repeal letter school ranking system

Rep. Matt Kolezsar
Rick Pluta
Rep. Matt Kolezsar

The Michigan House voted Tuesday to stop giving out letter grades like “A” or “F” to schools.

Instead, Michigan would rely on the state Department of Education’s School Index Score alone. That gives schools a rating from 0-100 based on their performance.

Representative Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) said the index is a better measure anyway.

“The index does take socioeconomic status into consideration," said Koleszar, who chairs the House Education Committee. "It also takes consideration of how similarly situated schools are performing, things like that. Whereas A-F puts a heavy reliance on standardized testing.”

But Rep. Jaime Greene (R-Richmond), the Republican vice-chair on the Education Committee, said the bill would make performance data less accessible to parents.

“Unfortunately, this bill will prevent people from seeing critical school performance information in a manner that is simple, clear, and easy to understand. It will take away a tool parents use to hold their schools and government leaders accountable,” Greene said during a floor speech.

Under the legislation, Michigan also wouldn’t come out with an annual list of the lowest performing schools using the letter grade system. Underperforming school data would instead be reflected within index data reporting.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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