Standards developed by the state Department of Education increased the number of unaccredited schools in Michigan from eight to more than 600 public schools. Penalties for not meeting state accreditation standards may include state takeover or closure of some schools.

Accreditation is based on how well students perform on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests. New standards, adopted in 1999, require that at least one-quarter of a school's students pass the MEAP reading, math, and science exams for the institution to receive accreditation. Schools that do not pass that threshold on all three tests in 2000 will be "unaccredited."

The former accreditation standards only required half of a school's students to pass only one of the exams over a three-year period.

The new, higher threshold is expected to remove accreditation from one in every five of Michigan's 3,128 local schools.