State issues report card for high schools - WNEM TV 5

State issues report card for high schools

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A new report card is out on high schools across the state, only this time it takes into factors other than test scores.

The report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy weighs standardized test scores against the number of students receiving state help with lunches based on their economic status.

"There's room for improvement there. There always is, but compared to some other schools that have a lot of students in poverty they're doing a pretty decent job. And that deserves some recognition from the state," said Ben Degrow, education policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Degrow is talking about Saginaw Arthur Hill High School. The Lumberjacks received a C on the latest report card.

He said this is a good grade considering the amount of poverty the school is dealing with. According to Degrow, 63 percent of students at Arthur Hill receive free or reduced lunch.

"May not have parents who are as educated to spend time with them before they reach school to read to them and to provide them that sort of educational support. There may be other traumas or difficulties at home that make it hard for them to focus and learn," Degrow said.

Saginaw Superintendent Nathaniel McClain said it's encouraging to see student poverty levels included as a factor when the traditionally conservative Mackinac Center assessed school performance.

As for Degrow, he said he wants to see the state change how it evaluates schools. He believes the focus should not be solely on test scores. Degrow insists the state should focus on what's behind those numbers.

"We need to be able to take into account that some of these high poverty schools are doing a better job and focus more of the attention on the schools that need to be improved that are actually at the bottom," Degrow said.

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