Judge puts school accreditation plan on hold

LANSING — The state education department may not move ahead on a new public school accreditation system that it says is necessary to hold schools accountable for their performance, a judge ruled Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Judge Paula Manderfield granted a temporary injunction barring the Michigan Department of Education from implementing the new system, which would evaluate schools based on standardized test scores, graduation rates, teacher certification and other factors, the Free Press reported. The current system also considers test scores, but allows school districts to self-evaluate themselves on a number of other factors.

The Middle Cities Education Association and other plaintiffs sued the MDE over the new system, saying it was not properly approved by the House and Senate education committees, the Free Press reported, and the judge granted their request for an injunction.

Some school districts are expected to lose accredited status under the new system, the report said.

“We are currently going through the legislative process for approval,” Jan Ellis, spokeswoman for the department, told the Free Press Thursday.

“We need a new system that will shine the ‘light of day’ on schools that are doing well and hold accountable those that are not,” Ellis said in an e-mailed response, the Free Press reported.

Detroit Free Press, “Lansing judge blocks Michigan school accreditation system,” March 3, 2011

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “State Gives Failing Schools Perfect Grades for Paperwork,” Aug. 27, 2010