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Michigan’s education system falls further behind other states, report says

Publication date: May 19, 2016

State’s 4th-grade reading ranking falls from 28th to 41st in nation and could fall more, Education Trust-Midwest warns

by Crain’s Detroit Business

Michigan’s education quality is falling farther behind the rest of the nation from a perch that was already low, according to a report released Thursday by the nonprofit Education Trust-Midwest.

Among the sharpest declines cited by the group was in fourth-grade reading. Michigan’s ranking on the National Assessment of Educational Progress fell from 28th in the nation in 2003 to 41st now. The group projects the state would fall to 48th by the year 2030.

Michigan was also one of only five states that reported an actual decline in that measurement since 2003.

MORE RANKINGS
Other rankings and statistics cited in the Education Trust-Midwest report:
Eighth-grade math: 38th in the nation and 46th among low-income students
Teacher attendance: 41st in the nation
College affordability: 42nd in the nation
Share of Michigan students who need remedial classes in college: 27 percent

The Education Trust-Midwest releases the report annually as part of its Michigan Achieves campaign, which has as its goal to make Michigan a top 10 state for education by 2030.

Michigan was dead last in the nation in fourth-grade literacy among African-American students.

“We need to have a serious conversation about how to improve schools,” Amber Arellano, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “Michigan is an average spending state on education, but a terribly low-performing one compared to the rest of the U.S. Strong implementation is everything – and we are falling down on that front.”

Among the recommendations the group has to improve Michigan’s results:

  • A focused effort to improve third-grade reading skills.
  • Committed state leadership that structures state effort appropriately.
  • Fairly fund all school districts

The report, titled “Michigan’s Talent Crisis: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Michigan’s Broken Public Education System,” calls on the business community to take a leadership role in pushing for improvements in the state’s education system.

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