Advocacy groups urge Gov. Whitmer to veto repeal of A-F transparency law
LANSING – (May 15, 2023) – The West Michigan Policy Forum and Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) today released easy-to-understand A-F grades for the state’s K-12 public schools with data from the 2021/22 school year.
The scorecards show parents, taxpayers and teachers that student performance is languishing, indicating that Gov. Whitmer’s decision to shut down public schools for an extended period of time during the pandemic most likely had a substantial negative impact on Michigan children.
The new A-F scorecard was released as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer considers whether to sign or veto a House bill to repeal the state’s A-F grading transparency law. Both groups are urging the governor to veto the repeal.
“Michigan’s A-F school accountability law is a simple yet effective way to measure our schools based on their performance, but the repeal measure on the governor’s desk is a blatant attempt to hide this key data from Michigan parents,” said John Kennedy, board chair of the West Michigan Policy Forum. “If the repeal is signed into law, the state will revert back to a purposely convoluted way to measure schools that few people can understand. The governor must veto this ill-advised repeal and let our state’s A-F system stand.”
The Michigan Department of Education is currently required by law to publish annual A-F letter grades for each school in the state in five areas – math and reading proficiency; math and reading growth; performance with English language learners; graduation rates; and a comparison of similar schools.
GLEP released a similar report in 2019 after the education department was delayed in publishing its A-F grading report by the required deadline. Beth DeShone, executive director of GLEP, said repealing A-F would take Michigan backward and make our public schools less accountable to parents.
“Legislative Democrats have passed a bill to keep parents in the dark about the performance of our kids’ schools,” DeShone said. “Parents have the right to know how their children are performing in the classroom, and they have the right to know how local schools are performing for their kids. Instead of backing parents, Democrats are cloaking school performance in secrecy.”
Kennedy said as students across the state begin to receive their final grades for the school year, it is important for schools to receive grades on their performance as well. He said a more accountable and improved school system will encourage more people and recent college graduates to stay in Michigan and stem the decline in population the state is currently facing.
The A-F school scorecard, which was calculated using the Department of Education’s publicly available 2021/22 school data, can be viewed at glep.org/a-f.