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MEA Acting on School Closure Threats

Jan 26, 2017

MEA is moving forward with a multi-pronged response to state threats of school closures in a number of Michigan communities - mostly in high-poverty areas - which have prompted fear and outrage among school employees and parents. 

MEA lobbyists will be actively supporting a bill to repeal the so-called "failing schools law" that is driving potential building closures. Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) introduced Senate Bill 27 to eliminate a "chaotic" and "deeply flawed" process that has not improved academic achievement. 

"In the six years this law has existed, it has produced more questions than answers and more controversy than solutions," Pavlov said in a statement. "The initial goal was laudable: improvement of the state's worst academically performing schools. Yet the evidence raises serious doubts about whether that has been accomplished." 

MEA members can help by contacting local legislators to encourage their support of Pavlov's bill, and by asking parents and other community leaders to get involved. 

Adopted in 2010 to compete for federal grant money, the current law requires the Michigan Department of Education 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 are at risk of closure. 

Last week, the state's School Reform Office (SRO) issued the list of 38 schools at risk of closure as soon as the end of this school year - a list dominated by communities with high concentrations of children and families living in poverty.

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