Inequities in ‘Read by Grade Three’ and a new State Superintendent
Addressing the impact of Michigan's early literacy law
A recent analysis by Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaboration (EPIC) into Michigan’s early literacy law, and likely consequences for students.
Based on student performance data during the 2017-18 school year, up to 5,000 Michigan students would have been potentially retained. And this research highlights glaring disparities between groups of students in Michigan:
- African American students are more than twice as likely to be retained as the all-student average;
- Up to 20 percent of students with special needs are at-risk for being retained
An earlier analysis by the Education Trust-Midwest showed that while fewer than five percent of all students may have been retained in the third grade, had the retention requirement been in place during the 2017-18 school year, some school districts could see as many as 16 percent of students impacted. This includes Detroit, Flint and Pontiac.
Through a partnership between Detroit Parent Network and the Education Trust-Midwest, toolkits to help parents navigate the third-grade reading law and support student learning are being developed and made available online. This fall, training workshops for parents to support learning and navigate this complex system will being in Detroit this fall.
New State Superintendent begins
Earlier this month, Dr. Michael Rice began his tenure as Michigan’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Dr. Rice was previously the superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools.
During a recent interview with Bridge Magazine, Dr. Rice identified early learning and literacy, equitable school funding and greater access to quality career and technical education as top priorities for improving education in Michigan.
Dr. Rice began his career as a teacher and has served as an administrator in school districts in Indiana and New Jersey. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University, and a master’s degree and doctorate in public administration from New York University.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction is appointed by the 8-member, elected State Board of Education and is responsible for leading the Michigan Department of Education. He replaces interim Superintendent Sheila Alles, the first woman to hold the role in Michigan. Alles was appointed to the role following the untimely death of Superintendent Brian Whiston in May 2018.
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- , Chalkbeat Detroit