A new ranking of school performance names Mason County Eastern, Crawford AuSable and Kingsley Public schools among the top districts in the state. But the ranking is not based on simple test scores. It also factors in poverty.
Ron French published the results in Bridge Magazine, a publication of the non-partisan think tank Center for Michigan. He says often students in high-poverty districts have below-average test scores.
“And so the assumption is, ‘This school needs to be blown up and we have to start over again. We have to open up a charter school next door,’” he says. “And in some cases that’s not a bad idea. But in many cases some of the best teaching in the state may be happening in schools that the raw scores may be below average.”
French says students in poorer school districts often enter school with lower skill levels.
Teachers and schools are being evaluated more and more based on test scores. French says the approach should be more nuanced.
The data in his report was analyzed by the firm Public Sector Consultants.
Other interesting facts in the report: Benzie County Central ranks just below the top 10 at 14. Baldwin Public ranked in the top 10 among low-income districts.