Local superintendents speak on school evaluation legislation

Lawmakers in Lansing have passed legislation which would change the way schools and districts are evaluated across the state.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 7:00 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) – Lawmakers in Lansing have passed legislation which would change the way schools and districts are evaluated across the state.

Supporters of the measure say one ranking system is unnecessary and redundant. Local superintendents also spoke about how they feel about the legislation.

“It’s going to eliminate one ranking system that a lot of people think is kind of unfair, and doesn’t tell the true story, or provide indicators of success,” said Eddie Kindle, the Associate Superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District

Kindle was talking about state legislation approved by the House and Senate that would amend the revised school code. School accountability systems are used to evaluate the ability of a school to educate its students and to serve as a point of comparison between schools.

Michigan has two separate school accountability systems: the state A-F system and the school index score (and parent dashboard). Some people believe that the A-F system is simplistic, punitive, and redundant when compared to the school index score.

If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs the legislation, the A-F system will be removed.

“You lose pride in your community when you think that you’re not achieving at the same level of your neighbor. But you have different challenges in different communities. And it doesn’t tell the story of some of the excellent, excellent teaching and learning that is happening,” Kindle said.

New Lothrop Area Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Berthiaume said the legislation will get rid of the redundancy of school reporting.

“If it’s the same type of report that what we’re trying to get down to, I think one report would suffice,” Berthiaume said.

He said he acknowledges that some people don’t want to see the A-F system go.

“Because A-F is easier to understand as a parent. I think that’s really what it boils down to, A-F is very easy for parents to understand. The other report that’s out there, I believe will suffice for the federal reporting as well, it has more statistics in it, it’s a scale of 1-100,” Berthiaume.

It is unclear when, or if, Whitmer will sign the legislation. But for school superintendents, the mission doesn’t change.

“We’ll move accordingly and continue to meet a certain level of accountability that everybody wants for education for every student in every classroom in every community,” Kindle said.

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