The state of Michigan Friday put 38 struggling schools on notice.
After years of rock-bottom test scores and disappointing results, the schools were informed that they’re in serious danger of having to shut their doors forever in June.
“Because we want all kids to have a good life after high school, our office is responsible for taking action when schools have been chronically failing for several years,” state School Reform Officer Natasha Baker said in a statement.
A statement from Baker’s office said officials will use the next 30 to 45 days to “examine the geographic, academic, and enrollment capacity of other public school options for children attending one of the 38 failing schools.”
If the office determines that closing a school would be an “unreasonable hardship” to students because no better options are available, the office will let the school remain open and try to help school leaders turn things around.
The issue is expected to end up in court as school leaders across the state have vowed to fight closures.
The schools on the list are 16 Detroit public schools, one Detroit charter school and eight Detroit schools that are controlled by the Education Achievement Authority, a state-run recovery district that will revert back to the district’s control this summer.
The news comes as part of a new push by the state to crack down on schools that have produced years of disappointing results.
State lawmakers forced the issue last year when they passed a law requiring the state to shutter every school — district or charter — in the city of Detroit that has spent three or more years in the bottom five percent of the state’s annual school rankings.
Chalkbeat broke the news last summer that the state School Reform Office intended to apply the same standard to schools across the state, creating uncertainty for dozens of schools that were in the bottom five percent in 2014 and 2015.
School leaders were surprised to learn that school rankings from 2014 and 2015 would be used to apply serious consequences since the rankings are largely based on test scores and Michigan Department of Education had told schools it wouldn’t hold scores against them for the first years of the new M-STEP exam, which replaced the MEAP in 2015.
The School Reform Office, however, is no longer a part of the Department of Education. Gov. Rick Snyder took over the office in 2015 in an effort to increase pressure on low-performing schools.
Here’s a list of the Detroit Public Schools Community District schools that could be closing:
Ann Arbor Trail Magnet School
Bow Elementary-Middle School
Clark, J.E. Preparatory Academy
Detroit Collegiate Preparatory High School @ Northwestern
Detroit Institute of Technology at Cody
Durfee Elementary-Middle School
Fisher Magnet Upper Academy
Gompers Elementary-Middle School
Marquette Elementary-Middle School
Mason Elementary School
Osborn Academy of Mathematics
Osborn College Preparatory Academy
Osborn Evergreen Academy of Design and Alternative Energy
Thirkell Elementary School
Detroit Charter schools:
Michigan Technical Academy
Education Achievement Authority schools:
Burns Elementary-Middle School
Denby High School
Ford High School
Law Elementary School
Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary-Middle School
Mumford High School
Pershing High School
Southeastern High School
Editor’s Note: The full list includes schools in Benton Harbor, Bridgeport, East Detroit, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Pontiac, River Rouge and Saginaw. This post is reprinted with the permission of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.