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Just 5% of Detroit public school students rated 'proficient'

Statewide, 40% of Michigan's teachers were rated "highly effective" by their districts and 99% of all teachers fell within the top two categories in 2021-22.

Published: May 1, 2023 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

Just 5% of Michigan students are rated "proficient" in a district with 99% of teachers rated "highly effective" or "effective."

The classification of students for Detroit public schools comes from the latest national testing referred to as the "Nation's Report Card." The classification of their teachers is provided to the Michigan Department of Education by The Center for Educational Performance and Information.

Each is for the 2021-22 academic year.

Detroit's school district was rated as the worst-performing of all the 26 large city districts reviewed by the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2021-22.

Despite the poor academic showing, Detroit Public Schools Community District gave 53% of its teachers the highest quality evaluation as "highly effective" in 2022, according to ratings supplied for the state. In fact, 99% of the district's 3,285 teachers were rated either "highly effective" or "effective" – the top two ratings in the evaluation.

Only 1% were rated "minimally efficient" or "inefficient," the lowest two grades. The district reported that it had just eight teachers in 2021-22 that rated as "inefficient." The district didn't respond to an email seeking comment. The Michigan Education Association also did not respond to a request for comment.

The Michigan Department of Education says a district "uses the [teacher] evaluations to inform decisions regarding effectiveness, promotion, retention, development, whether to grant tenure or full certification, and the removal of ineffective tenured and untenured teachers and administrators."

Detroit's evaluations of its teachers had a higher percentage of top-rated teachers than some surrounding districts.

The bordering school district Grosse Pointe public schools, by comparison, had 27% of its teachers rated as highly effective. Northville Public Schools, which is in the same county, rated 26% of its teachers as highly effective. Statewide, 40% of Michigan's teachers were rated "highly effective" by their districts and 99% of all teachers fell within the top two categories in 2021-22.

The Center for Educational Performance and Information compiles the evaluations and published the data in a 2021-22 report. Teachers in Michigan are evaluated on a four-category scale.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a biannual assessment conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. The assessment defined "proficient" as "represents solid academic performance for the given grade level and competency over challenging subject matter including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter."

Molly Macek is director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and authored a March publication at Michigan Capitol Confidential, which bills itself as a "news source" produced by conservative leaning Mackinac.

Macek says this report, if used effectively, can be critical to get ineffective teachers out of the classroom.

“If the evaluation system is not implemented as designed, it will not work to hold teachers accountable or improve student outcomes, and ineffective teachers will remain in the classroom,” Macek said.

Macek pointed out that Detroit’s poor testing performance is concerning, especially given that the state is declaring that almost all of the district’s teachers are effective.

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