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David Zeman
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Ed Trust-Midwest releases analysis of Michigan’s waiver proposal, providing non-partisan information to Michigan families and leaders

 ROYAL OAK, MICH. (May 3, 2012) – As the Michigan Department of Education prepares to submit its revised proposal to the Obama administration to waive the No Child Left Behind Act, The Education Trust-Midwest is releasing an analysis of the proposal to provide non-partisan information to Michigan families, policymakers and other stakeholders about its potential impact on our state’s schools and students.

The U.S. Department of Education has offered Michigan a rare opportunity to devise new educational systems that could better serve our state.  In return, the Obama administration is offering to waive some NCLB provisions.

“If the proposal is approved, Michigan will have a new and dramatically different statewide school accountability and public reporting system,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “We want to make sure these systems are done right, as our families, students and educators will live with them for years.  This is a tremendous opportunity.”

The consequences of the waiver are high. Michigan’s proposal will impact:

•    How well Michigan’s teachers are able to prepare students to meet new academic standards;
•    The helpfulness and reliability of information the state will provide to parents, students and educators on how well their public schools are actually performing;
•    Michigan’s ability to reliably and fairly evaluate educators’ impact on student learning; and
•    The identification of schools as failing and in need of improvement, which often dictates eligibility for state and federal dollars and other intervention programs.

Michigan is one of the second-round states which submitted waiver proposals to the Obama administration earlier this year.  The U.S. Department of Education has provided feedback to the MDE to improve the proposal before it is resubmitted to the Obama administration for full approval, a decision that is expected later this month. The Education Trust-Midwest’s analysis highlights the bold advances in MDE’s proposal, and also recommends some improvements that will make this proposal even stronger.

“Leading states develop coherent school accountability and public reporting systems and use them for helping schools focus on attaining ambitious but realistic goals; setting expectations; sharing helpful information with parents, and setting common sense limits on chronically low-performing charter school operators’ expansion,” Arellano said. “Michigan should be taking a similar approach.

“Accountability alone does not improve schools and student achievement, but it can be a lever for improvement when combined with other effective strategies such as capacity building and human capital investments and improvements.”

If approved for the waiver, Michigan would no longer have to ensure that all students are proficient in reading and math by 2014, so long as it adopts more rigorous academic standards and a meaningful system to support schools while holding them accountable.

Please see our website at for Ed Trust-Midwest’s analysis of the Michigan waiver proposal.

The Education Trust-Midwest is Michigan’s only state-wide non-partisan policy, research and advocacy organization focused on what is best for Michigan students.  Our mission is to work for the high achievement of all students, particularly low-income, African American, Latino and American Indian students in Michigan, and to providing honest, reliable information to our state’s families and policymakers.


Related publications

Michigan No Child Left Behind Waiver Analysis