LANSING (WWJ/AP) –  State education officials placed 98 public schools on their annual list of Michigan’s persistently lowest-achieving schools Friday, putting them on notice they need to make significant changes.

Schools on the list must submit turnaround plans to the state within 90 days. Schools may try and improve performance by taking steps such as replacing principals and staff. They also could reopen as a charter school or decide to close.

“In order for Michigan to succeed in this competitive global economy, our schools need to step up their efforts – some, in a big way,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said in a statement. “I encourage communities to have honest discussions with their school leaders to embrace and support the changes needed to move forward.”

This is the second year Michigan has published a list of low-achieving schools. The rankings are based on a federally prescribed and federally approved formula that includes test scores and improvement rates in math and reading, graduation rates and other factors.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said administrators across Michigan worry when their public school gets “publicly shamed”.

“As part of what the legislature and the governor want to do, they say this kind of transparency of letting the parents know what’s going on in the schools, is one way to change things around,” said Skubick.

“Generally, when this list comes out, the schools that are on it have five years to clean up their act by coming up with remediation programs, that they have to submit to the state within 90 days to show what they’re to do to turn test scores around.”

Fifty-eight schools on the new Michigan list also were on the 2010 persistently low-achieving schools list.

Once a school is identified as persistently low-achieving, it must develop and implement an approved redesign plan. The school remains under the supervision of the state school reform office until the state determines it has made significant improvement.

Thirty-eight of the schools on Friday’s list are in the Detroit public school system, which already operates under a state-appointed emergency manager.

Michigan officials also released a “top-to-bottom” ranking of all public schools based on proficiency, student achievement, improvement, graduation rates and other factors.

– View the Low-Achieving Schools List – (.pdf format)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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