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Michigan announces plan to shut down 38 underperforming schools

State's action sets a key precedent: If they don't teach anything, they'll soon be gone

Michigan announces plan to shut down 38 underperforming schools

Michigan announced Friday that it plans to close up to 38 underperforming schools in Detroit and other urban communities, potentially affecting 18,000 students and marking the first time that the state could close traditional public schools explicitly for academic reasons.

Despite the announcement, some schools likely will remain open. State officials next will determine whether a closure would be an “unreasonable hardship” for children with no better schools to attend. Lawsuits challenging any closures also are likely.

The announcement came in conjunction with the release of Michigan’s school rankings, which are based on standardized test results, students’ improvement over time and the gap between the best and worst pupils. Michigan law says the state can close schools that have been in the bottom 5 percent for at least three consecutive years if other forms of state intervention have not worked.

State-ordered closings appear to be rare nationally. Texas has closed entire school districts for failing to meet attendance and other standards. Other cities such as Detroit and Chicago have closed several schools at a time to address falling enrollment, sparking protests for safety and other reasons.

Fewer than half of states have school accountability systems that allow for closures and the option “has been used infrequently by states,” said Jennifer Thomsen with the Education Commission of the States. “It seems to happen more at the individual district level.”

This article continues at [] Michigan Announces Plans to Close Underperforming Schools

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