State education officials have submitted a revised education plan to the U.S. Education Department (USED) that does not include a letter-grading accountability system.
Under plans submitted earlier this month, the idea of grading every school district using an A-F scale was ditched in favor of a “transparency dashboard” intended to create a more nuanced picture of school achievement and incentivize a well-rounded approach to school improvement.
Every state must submit a plan to comply with the new federal law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) first submitted a plan in April which was returned for revision by the USED in July.
Michigan’s ESSA plan was developed over 18 months and includes a wide range of policies from new testing mandates, to revised accountability rules, updated methods for intervening in struggling schools, and strategies for attracting and retaining quality educators.
The transparency dashboard put forward by MDE in the revised plan would take into account a variety of performance measures, in addition to standardized test scores, and provide a broad spectrum of information to the public without letter grades or ratings.
However, Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) told The Detroit News that state lawmakers most likely would “weigh in” on the possibility of changing the accountability system to require schools to be labeled with A-F letter grades.
Meanwhile, a large number of MEA members have stepped forward to serve on a state advisory council that will be reviewing Michigan’s ESSA implementation over the next year.