Sen. Pavlov releases statement on bill to repeal ‘failing schools’ law

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Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, issued the following statement Tuesday:

“Tomorrow, on the first day of session, I will introduce a bill to repeal Section 1280c of the Revised School Code, better known as Michigan’s ‘failing schools’ law.

“While created with the best of intentions, this law and its execution have, unfortunately, been deeply flawed — a direct result of the federal government’s failed education policy. A year’s worth of committee hearings, meetings with state officials, and discussions with school leaders across Michigan has left me convinced that a complete overhaul is in order.

“In the six years this law has existed, it has produced more questions than answers and more controversy than solutions. The initial goal was laudable: improvement of the state’s worst academically performing schools. Yet the evidence raises serious doubts about whether that has been accomplished.

“Meanwhile, the process has been chaotic, namely for schools and students, but also for anyone in the public trying to follow along. Federal initiatives that prompted this law and dictated many of its details have changed significantly. State formulas to identify schools keep changing, tests used to inform those formulas have changed, and department decision-making is vague and subjective. Indeed, two different state departments have attempted to implement the law, with little to show for it. Most importantly, the outcomes for students are highly debatable.

“Still, something must be done. When a school chronically fails to educate children, the state does have a responsibility to step in. Academic failure must not be tolerated.

“With this bill, we launch a public conversation. How do we replace this law with something that actually incentivizes people — at both the state and local levels — to improve these schools for our kids? How should it work? What national examples can we consider?

“This is a momentous undertaking, and I welcome input from parents, school leaders and others — from Michigan and elsewhere — as we begin this important task.”