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Why Michigan Is Closing Some Of The Best Public Schools

By Victor Trammell

The state of Michigan might be preparing to  close some its best district and charter schools in 2017 due to the failing standardized test scores of the students at these schools.

According to the website Chalkbeat Detroit, over 100 Michigan’s schools are in danger of being closed at the end of the school year, including dozens of schools in Detroit. The state’s decision to do this is obviously not very popular with parents and teachers.

Michigan’s School Reform Office claims the schools the agency plans to close have posted substandard test scores for the past three years. However, Michigan’s state education department made promises last year that test standardized test scores would not make a difference in the decision to close schools.

Rick Snyder, Michigan’s governor took over the state’s School Reform Office after increased pressure was placed on policy makers to do something about the number of schools across the state posting severely low standardized test scores.

“Anytime you talk about closure, that’s going to upset people,” said Dan LaDue, assistant director for accountability for the School Reform Office. “But we’re not here to make everybody happy. We’re here to hold adults responsible for the performance of students,” LaDue continued.

Many education expert analysts that are observing this situation believe that more should be done to improve test scores before making the drastic decision of closing schools, which could negatively affect students who live in adverse communities with limited resources.

“In such an important decision as closing schools, I would think we’d want to develop a coherent accountability system and assess schools on that system over a period of time before making that decision,” said Veronica Conforme, the director of he Education Achievement Authority, a state recovery district that assumed control over 15 of Detroit’s most academically deficient schools in 2012.

The state of Michigan had an agreement with the federal government, which was designed to keep schools open and grant districts more time to correct the problems with low test scores. However, that agreement became void at the beginning of this month.

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