State Board of Ed. adopts accreditation standards

This week, the State Board of Education unanimously adopted the revised school accreditation standards. These standards will rank Michigan schools from top to bottom. The system still uses standardized test scores to determine achievement levels. However, the system represents a further separation from federal education standards such as adequate yearly progress measures.

The new system addresses concerns that Education YES – the current accreditation system – doesn’t adequately measure districts and there are no sanctions for schools not accredited. 

Under the new system, school districts with students making the largest gains will be rewarded. According to State Superintendent Mike Flanagan, sanctions for schools not meeting the standards won’t be necessary since any weaknesses would be addressed and schools would “step up to it.”

There is still concern that the system stifles innovation since school districts are essentially punished if they’re not getting better in consecutive years. Districts would be afraid to try new ideas, fearing they won’t provide improvements.

The proposed changes will be sent to the Legislature for approval and could be in place by next school year.

The Board is still working with local school districts on what it means to design a “personal curriculum,” a requirement under the Michigan Merit Curriculum. With the first high school class set to graduate under the new standards, the challenge is to make sure the personalized curriculum doesn’t circumvent graduation requirements.