MDE releases school rankings, Persistently Low Achieving Schools list

On Friday, the Michigan Department of Education released two school ranking lists that continue to pit schools and districts against each other based on high-stakes standardized test scores.

In a press release announcing the release of the “Top-to-Bottom” school rankings and the “Persistently Lowest Achieving (PLA)” schools list, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said, “This is important information for schools, parents, and communities to review. It provides a real look at how our local schools are doing in educating their students.”

Unfortunately, the lists – which are based on student proficiency, achievement, academic growth and achievement gaps – fail to identify or recognize the significant out-of-school factors that impact student achievement, particularly student poverty and parental involvement. Teachers, support staff and administrators in schools have a huge impact on student learning – but they cannot succeed without support from home and the community.

These rankings come on the heels of the decision by Gov. Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature to slash more than $1 billion from public education.  For lawmakers to push for greater student achievement while cutting resources is irresponsible to the future of our students and our state.

Superintendent Flanagan was quoted in the Kalamazoo Gazette today as saying, “"We need to change the mindset where it's only about the money. It has to be about student achievement."

But that’s easier said than done with skyrocketing class size, fewer teachers and support staff to provide individual attention to students, elimination of arts and athletic programs and dwindling books, supplies and technology. 

Schools on the PLA list are required by law to develop and implement Redesign Plans approved by MDE’s State School Reform Office. 

To view the full lists and get more details about how they were developed and what they mean, visit MDE’s Persistently Lowest Achieving (PLA) Schools (http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-6530_56811-261309--,00.html) and Top-to-Bottom (http://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-37818_56562---,00.html) webpages.