Meaningful Accountability Is At Risk


By Brian Gutman

According to recent news reports, the State Superintendent is planning to move away from the clear and meaningful accountability system that was proposed in the draft plan (details below). In place of robust accountability, the MDE may use only a dashboard with more than 20 measures–both strong and weak. While this information should be available to parents, it does not send a clear signal of school quality to parents and does not prioritize any one factor over anything else. A dashboard is an important part of the system but does not provide actual accountability itself.

The MDE needs to hear from all of us on the importance of moving forward with the accountability system that was proposed in the draft ESSA plan, along with the continued use of an aligned assessment and data that is comparable across multiple states. Public comment can be submitted until 5pm on Thursday (March 16) by emailing [email protected] or on our online portal.

Current Plan
As you may recall, school accountability in the draft plan was very close to what we advocated when the plan was being drafted. The draft accountability plan:
· Is based primarily on academic factors, including student proficiency, growth, graduation rates and English learner progress;
· Prioritizes equity, by holding schools accountable for the achievement of all student groups; and
· Sends a clear and comprehensive signal to parents around school quality, through a single identifier of school success (MDE proposed using an A-F letter grade system).

We know that the accountability system alone will not improve outcomes – we also need an honest and aligned assessment system, ambitious and achievable goals, support improvement and thoughtfully implement evidence-based strategies. But without honest and transparent data, we cannot identify where problems exist and begin focusing on improvement.

Thank you again for your commitment to making the most of the opportunities provided by ESSA for Michigan students. As we approach the final deadline for public comment, we need all the help that we can get.

If you have not already done so, please consider submitting public comment on the plan by Thursday (March 16) at 5pm. Comments can be submitted by emailing to [email protected] or on our online portal.

We also need more public awareness of what is at stake. Your help in getting out the word in op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts and press releases/statements is much appreciated. As always, please let me know what we can do to help you with any of this.

If you have not already submitted public comment on the plan, please do so before the deadline of Thursday, March 16 at 5pm by emailing [email protected] or on our online portal. We also need more voices publicly speaking about the importance of honest, transparent and meaningful accountability. Please consider writing an op-ed, letter to the editor or press release. We are happy to help in any way that we can. For more information, please go to the following link to learn more about our observations on ESSA and what is going on in Michigan. The link is:

Also, feel free to share your thoughts on Detroit School Talk’s FB page or on Twitter @DetroitSchlTalk. #EdTrustMidwest #Voices4Ed #DetroitSchlTalk


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