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Michigan ranks 11th in education reform group's list of 'parent power' states
mLive.com
By: Brian Smith
September 03, 2013
Michigan placed just outside the top 10 on a national education reform group's annual rankings of "parent power" for making educational choices.

The Center for Education Reform announced its 2013 "Parent Power Index" on Tuesday and Michigan narrowly trailed Utah for 10th place on the list. The rankings are based on the center's assessment of each state's laws on charter schools, school choice, teacher quality, transparency and online learning.

The group describes itself as a "leading advocate for structural and sustainable changes" in education policy and has drawn financial support from the Broad Foundation, the Gates Foundation and SABIS Educational Systems, a charter school operator, among other groups.

Michigan scored highly for having a charter school system with multiple school authorizers, including public universities, and for requiring high school students to complete at least one online course before graduation.

"Michigan’s charter school law is strong because it has all of the major high-quality components: a variety of independent authorizers, including model universities such as Central Michigan University; freedom for teachers from rules and regulations; and, fairly equitable funding for charters, to name a few," the report states.

The state received some criticism for not uniformly conducting school board elections in November as part of general elections, and for maintaining a prohibition on public school funding being used to offer private school choices.

Indiana was the top-ranked state in the report, followed by Florida, Ohio, Louisiana and Arizona. The lowest-ranked states were Vermont, Kentucky, North Dakota, Nebraska and Montana.

The report does not directly correlate with student performance based on results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a federal test which allows for state-to-state comparisons.

Several of the lowest-ranked states consistently outperformed the highest-ranked states in both mathematics and reading on the NAEP, and Massachusetts, which led the NAEP in both subjects for grades 4 and 8 was ranked 29th by the Center for Education Reform.

Brian Smith is the statewide education and courts reporter for MLive. Email him at bsmith11@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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