New accreditation standards could place 200 schools at risk

New standards being pushed by the Michigan Department of Education could mean 200 public schools would lose their state accreditation. With the proposed changes, school accreditation would be tied to standardized test scores.

The Department claims that current standards mislead the public on how schools are doing. The old system gave passing grades to all schools, but the new system makes schools more accountable to parents and the public.

The Ferndale, Lansing, and Kalamazoo school districts, along with the Middle Cities Education Association, are suing the department, saying the new standards don’t follow state law. 

Even the House Education Committee doesn’t approve the new standards and instead are considering a national accreditation system. Any changes need approval by the House and Senate education committees. With Snyder’s continued emphasis on education reform tied to test scores, the issue will probably be on lawmaker’s agenda this fall.

And in a related note, Michigan’s Department of Education has asked the U.S. Education Department to waive No Child Left Behind rules that require all students to be proficient on state exams by 2014. Because the state is increasing the standards for passing the exams taken during the 2011-12 school year, the state department wants an extra 10 years to meet the requirements.