LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan Public Schools previously reporting performance grades on an A – F grading system will no longer be using letters after new legislation was signed into law. 

On Monday Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4166 into law which removed the letter grade system which parents use to determine which school is the most competitive within their community. 

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The legislation would “eliminate burdensome requirements” and permit schools to “implement the best practices to help their students succeed” according to the Governor. 

State Superintendent Michael Rice also expressed his support following the removal of the requirements. 

“Less is more with the repeal of the A-F system, which always tried to create the false impression that rating schools was easy. It isn’t,” Rice said in the statement. “Schools are complex, and what educators do daily for children is as well. It distills poorly into a letter grade system.”

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The bill originally introduced by Representative Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) passed narrowly in the Senate along party lines, but received support from both parties in the House.  The legislation would maintain the other school grading system, the index system.  The system assesses a school on numerous categories including: student growth, proficiency, graduation rates, English learner progress, attendance rates, advanced coursework completion, postsecondary enrollment, and staffing ratios according to the Michigan Department of Education.  Subsequently schools receive a rating between 0 to 100 based on scores across the multitude of categories. 

At one of the several Education Committee hearings on the bill, Representative Koleszar called the A-F law duplicative, confusing, and not in compliance with the federal Every School Succeeds Act (ESSA), a federal law to make certain K-12 public school standards. 

“It is way too focused on standardized data which has no bearing on what our schools are dealing with in our day and age,” Koleszar said at a previous meeting, “The A-F experiment has been nothing short of a disaster and I urge a yes vote to repeal it.” 

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Supporters of the legislation have criticized the A-F school rating system as ill thought out as it was passed near the end of former Governor Rick Snyder’s administration in 2018.