The U.S. Department of Education has offered Michigan a rare opportunity to devise new educational systems that better serve our state’s students, families and educators. In return, Washington is offering to waive some provisions of No Child Left Behind. For instance, states will no longer have to ensure that all students are proficient in reading and math by 2014, so long as the state adopts more rigorous academic standards and a meaningful system to support schools while holding them accountable.

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 intervention programs.

In this guide, we identify some strengths and weaknesses in Michigan’s proposal, and summarize three major areas of requirements of the proposal: school accountability, support and public reporting system; the state’s educator evaluation system; and the transition to the Common Core.


Published: May 3, 2012