More Michigan Schools Improve

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school books More Michigan Schools ImproveThe share of Michigan public schools making progress toward meeting academic performance goals has increased for the third consecutive year. That’s according to an annual report released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Education examining progress for the 2009-10 school year.

The Adequate Yearly Progress report is required by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Eighty-six percent of Michigan’s K-12 public schools buildings and 95 percent of school districts in Michigan made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this past school year, according to the Michigan Department of Education. That’s up from 80 percent in 2007-08.

The AYP overall was 3,188 schools for 2010.  The percent of schools Identified for School Improvement (a category for schools not making the AYP) declined 12.25 percent for 2010.

To make AYP, a school must test 95 percent of its students in total and in each required student subgroup defined by the federal law. The school must attain the target achievement goal in English language arts and mathematics, or reduce the percentage of students in the non-proficient category of achievement by 10 percent.

More schools received A’s on their report cards. Over the past three years the number of schools receiving A’s increased from 1,526 (41% in 2007-08) to 1,842 (50% in 2009-10).

State schools’ Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in a statement the report reflects gains in math and English language arts assessment scores.

“Overall, we are seeing growth in math, reading, and writing scores among Michigan students,” said Flanagan. “And when students show progress, it is reflective of positive changes that teachers and administrators are making in their schools.”

“One of our top priorities is educating students so they’re prepared for college and eventually the workplace,” said Governor Jennifer Granholm.  “This report shows we’re making steady progress toward that goal, but we cannot rest until all Michigan children are equipped with the skills they need to compete in a global economy.”

Also, students’ math scores on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2009-10, and reading scores also saw critical increases. The Michigan Merit Exam for high school students likewise had increases in the math, reading, writing, and science scores.

Detroit Public Schools met state requirements for Adequate Yearly Progress as a district for the 2009-2010 school year, which is evidence that the reforms the district put in place are improving student achievement.  The school system as a whole has not made AYP since 2006.

“This is the start of what can become long-term academic success for Detroit Public Schools and the creation of Centers of Excellence at every school if we follow the course of academic reforms we’re putting in place under our academic plan,” said Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb.

“We have increased the rigor throughout our schools as part of our ambitious five-year plan, which has been launched and will be fully executed this fall, as part of our strategic vision for system-wide improvements. The new AYP status is further evidence that the finances and academics of this school system cannot be separated,” said Bobb.

Schools that don’t make progress for two straight years wind up on a sanctions list. The sanctions get tougher every year, ranging from having to provide school choice and transportation to another school, to tutorial services for the students, to eventual school restructuring.

The DPS district is in Phase 2-Corrective Action, which means the school system made AYP for one year. The district must make AYP for a second year to be at Phase 0.

Under the district’s five-year academic plan, which will be rolled out in full this fall, students will see a more rigorous academic curriculum in every school.

The EducationYES! School Report Cards are a compilation of student scores on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) and Michigan Merit Exam (MME) tests; the MI-Access alternate assessments for students with disabilities; AYP designation; and in various, self-reported, school performance indicators – such as family involvement in the schools, curriculum, student attendance, and professional development for its teachers.

Follow the Michigan Department of Education on Facebook.

(Copyright 2010 by WWJ.  The Associated Press contributed to this story. All Rights Reserved.)

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