The 38 schools threatened with closure by the state School Reform Office (SRO) could get a reprieve if they decide to enter into a partnership agreement with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).
The schools have until the end of April to choose whether to enter into the agreement or risk closure, according to a letter sent last week to the 10 districts with schools on the list.
Meanwhile, the Senate Education Committee heard testimony today on a plan to scrap the so-called “failing schools” law that is driving threats of closure.
Senate Bill 27, introduced by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), would repeal the 2010 law that requires the MDE to issue an annual top-to-bottom ranking of schools based on test scores. Schools listed in the bottom 5 percent for three consecutive years face closure.
Under Whiston’s “partnership” plan, schools would have 18 months to show some improvement or again face closure. If improvement is made, the plan would continue for another 18 months.
This year’s list of 38 schools at risk of closure as soon as the end of this school year is dominated by communities with high concentrations of children and families living in poverty. Instead of closing schools, MEA advocates educational audits that show what struggling schools need to be more successful – and then funding those supports.
MEA members can help by contacting legislators to encourage their support of Pavlov’s bill, and by asking parents and other community leaders to get involved.