Are they on or are they off? Michigan’s letter grades for schools were thrown into question this week as policy makers picked sides about how the state evaluates schools.
One thing that’s definitely on: the School Days storytelling event Chalkbeat is hosting tonight in collaboration with the Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers at the Charles H. Wright Museum. We’re expecting an epic night of cocktails and storytelling, designed to both celebrate and elevate the voices of Detroit residents. Tickets are $20 in advance (or $25 at the door). You can still buy tickets here.
Read on for more about accountability, teacher pay, and how Gov. Rick Snyder wants to improve schools.
— Julie Topping, Chalkbeat Detroit editor
School rankings: Changes in Detroit’s school ranking system hurt some of the city’s top schools but helped other lower ranked ones, including a charter school operated by the DeVos family.
Measuring accountability: Letter grades or not was the question this week as the state board of education and the governor split over how to measure school quality. The board wants to see a dashboard of assessments but the governor favors letter grades to evaluate schools. One blogger believes letter grade evaluations actually empower parents to make better decisions.
Non-closure agreements: The heads of most of the 38 schools targeted for closure are drafting agreements that would allow the schools to stay open while collaborating with the state. A template for the agreements is still being created.
A lawsuit anyway: Just to keep options open, the Detroit board of education followed other Michigan school districts and voted to sue the state reform office to prevent it from closing any of Detroit’s struggling schools.
School deserts: One podcast looks at the many difficulties Detroit parents face when trying to keep their children in a quality, stable, and accessible school. (Don’t forget our story about the sacrifices families make to attend strong schools.)
Governor’s strategy for schools: Snyder released his latest recommendations for improving state schools, including eliminating the state board of education, investing more in schools, expanding free preschool, and increasing parent partnerships. His panel believes these charges are necessary to keep Michigan students from falling further behind other states.
Federal budget: President Trump’s proposed budget adds $1.4 billion for school choice efforts, while cutting the overall budget of the education department by 13 percent, or $9 billion. Included in that cut would be funds for City Year in Detroit.
Graduation requirements: A three-member Senate panel will examine whether high school graduation curriculum guidelines in Michigan should be updated.
Returning to Detroit: New U.S. housing chief and Detroit native Ben Carson visited with students and parents at the Detroit school named for him during his national tour to share ideas about public housing.