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Michigan Radio's Grading Michigan Schools is a multi-part series that takes an in-depth look at education in Michigan. We hear why one college student feels let down by the public school system in the state. We find out about "unschooling," an education philosophy that abandons textbooks and a curriculum. We also look at how the public school system is serving at-risk students through education for the very young and early intervention for kids with special education needs.Support for Grading Michigan Schools comes from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, a founder of the Grand Rapids Education Reform Initiative, and The Skillman Foundation, a voice for Detroit children since 1960.

State representative explains why school grading system is needed

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Representative Tim Kelly defends his bill passed through the state House yesterday that would evaluate Michigan schools with letter grades.

A bill introduced by Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) passed yesterday with some amendments in the state House. If the education bill is passed in the state Senate, it will create an A-through-F grading system for Michigan schools.

Rep. Kelly joined us to discuss SB 5526 and respond to criticizers of the bill, such as Nikolai Vitti, the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District who called the bill anti-democratic.

"I think that there's a mixed bag out there about how we report schools and I think this lends a bit of clarity and transparency and provides parents—and schools for that matter—additional information about themselves," says Kelly. 

Kelly explains that schools will be given grades for different categories such as proficiency on state exams, English as a Second Language, and graduation rates, among others. These grades will be determined by growth measures such as how well students do on state and local assessments. 

Kelly responded to Stateside's interview with Dr. Vitti by saying that "The hypocrisy on the left and in the ed community is just absolutely off the charts." 

Listen to the full interview to hear why Kelly why believes this bill is a better system for evaluating Michigan schools than our current one, how he has been working with the education community,  and how constituents are reacting to the bill. 

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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