School Choice Score: 0%
The state permits parents some choices among traditional public schools, permitting students to attend any public school in the state, but to move from one district to another requires the districts to agree to such transfers. Michigan does not have a private school choice program.
Charter Schools Score: 95%
Michigan’s charter school law has come under much scrutiny as of late, but in this ranking, remains in the top five for good reason. On paper and in practice the Great Lakes State’s charter law is strong because it has all of the major high-quality components: a variety of independent authorizers, including model universities; freedom for teachers from most rules and regulations; and, fairly equitable funding for charters, to name a few. Save for a few bad actors, Michigan’s truly independent charter authorizers have written the book on responsible authorizing. With one of the highest closure rates in the country (22 percent), most states could learn a thing or two from these responsible authorizers working collectively on a path-breaking accreditation process. A few minor caps do exist on the books, but overall, Michigan has been a state with a strong charter school environment.
Online Learning Score: 72%
Michigan is home to one of the nation’s largest state virtual schools — Michigan Virtual School — as well as a large district consortium with over 500 participating districts. Michigan was one of the first states in the U.S. to require high school grades to have an “online learning experience.” Michigan passed legislation during 2013 mandating that a district allow any student in grades 5 through 12 to take up to two online courses as accessed off the statewide catalog of courses each semester.
- Source: Digital Learning Now!
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
Teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations are required to go on improvement plans, and are eventually eligible for dismissal. Ineffective classroom performance is a ground for dismissal, and performance is the top criterion for districts to consider during layoffs. Michigan requires teachers to be compensated at least partly based on student growth, and on overall job performance.