A bill that has passed the Michigan Senate would allow the lowest-performing 5% of schools to leave their districts and become so-called "conversion" schools.
The Republican-led chamber approved the bill Wednesday on a 20-18 vote. It now heads to the Republican-led state House.
The legislation is opposed by Democrats and unions because the new schools wouldn't be subject to collective bargaining agreements.
Sen. David Robertson is the bill's sponsor. The Republican from Genesee County's Grand Blanc Township says at least 66,400 students statewide are enrolled in one of 92 lowest-performing schools.
The schools are identified by a formula that includes proficiency rates in math and reading and graduation rates for high schools. Robertson says the Detroit Public Schools district has the most schools on the list with 38.