Press Release

New 2022 State of Michigan Education Report projects state’s students will fall farther behind other states’ students for early reading by 2030 if state does not change its performance trajectory

(May 17, 2022) – Michigan’s education performance is projected to position the state’s youngest students farther behind other states’ students for early reading by 2030 if Michigan does not change its performance trajectory, according to a new report released today.

In 2030, Michigan is projected to be 39th in the nation for fourth-grade reading performance — down from its current ranking of 32nd — and 28th for eighth-grade math performance compared to other states, according to analyses of national assessment data highlighted in the report, Still Stalled: 2022 State of Michigan Education Report.  Between 2003 and 2019, Michigan’s performance in fourth-grade reading — an important predictor of a child’s future academic success and life outcomes — remains largely stagnant on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) while leading education states made significant progress. Progress on 8th grade math also lagged progress of leading states.

Download the full report here

National data show the state’s longstanding stagnation in student achievement comes as early pandemic results from the M-STEP suggest that student achievement growth slowed overall for Michigan students – with the greatest impact on underserved students.

The report comes as a broad and diverse statewide coalition of business, civil rights and civic leaders calls on state leaders to invest in and accelerate the educational recovery of Michigan’s students.  It also comes amid growing concerns about Michigan’s economic competitiveness and its connection to the state’s educational outcomes.

“While these results are clearly troubling, they also represent an opportunity for our state to create a ‘new normal,’ where every student has the opportunity to achieve and where students with the greatest needs receive the funding and resources they need to succeed,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest.

“If Michigan had a fair school funding system, Michigan’s underserved students, Black and Latino students, English language learners, students with disabilities, and students living in high poverty districts would receive a 100% weighted, equitable funding formula,” Alice G. Thompson, Chair of the Education Committee, Detroit Branch NAACP and Chief Executive Officer, BFDI Educational Services, Inc. said. “This funding would eliminate the achievement gap and foster a solid path for mastery of grade level proficiency, embodied with a high degree of social and emotional support.”

“Now is the time for reimagining how the state finances its public education system, supports its students and attracts and retains top talent, especially in schools that have been historically under-resourced,” Arellano said.

The annual State of Michigan Education Report updates benchmarking on Michigan’s progress toward becoming a top ten education state for all groups of students and related performance indicators. In conjunction with the Education Trust-Midwest’s report, The Michigan Partnership for Equity and Opportunity (MPEO) coalition issued a companion report entitled “We Imagine,” which captures hopes and dreams of advocates and teachers who shared their vision for Michigan’s students if the state transformed its education system and if schools were funded fairly.

Download the ‘We Imagine‘ report here.

Members of the bipartisan, statewide group called for educational transformation, including more honesty and transparency in student achievement data and spending to understand the impact of public investments on student learning.  Leaders also called for a fair system of school funding to ensure that the state’s most underserved students — Black and Latino students, English Learners, students with disabilities, students in isolated, rural communities and students from low-income backgrounds – have the funding and resources they need to succeed.

Michigan is in the bottom ten states for Black students in 4th grade reading, according to 2019 NAEP data, which is the most recent available national assessment data. From 2003-19, Michigan’s Latino students improved in early reading only about one third as much as Latino students nationwide. At the same time, Michigan’s White students are in the bottom five for student improvement in 4th grade reading, according to data from the 2019 NAEP.

“For far too long, we have not done a good job of properly funding education in a way that the students with the most needs receive funding commensurate with those needs,” said Deidre Lambert-Bounds, President of Ignite Social Media and a member of the MPEO coalition. “I have a dream that we finally work together to put a proper funding formula in place that results in the highest quality educational outcomes for our children. My hope and dream is that every child has the ability to achieve at their highest ability without the barrier of inequitable funding.”

Other findings from the State of Michigan Education Report’s analyses:

  • Nearly 1 in every 4 Michigan students – about 23 percent – were required to take at least one remedial course in two- and four-year college or university programs. The percentage is even more startling for historically underserved subgroups – 43.8 percent of Black students in Michigan are required to enroll in college remedial courses.
  • Michigan has the nation’s sixth highest out-of-school suspension rate for Black students. One of the most troubling practices in Michigan – and around the country – is the overuse of suspension and expulsion, particularly for students of color.
  • Michigan has ranked an abysmal 43rd of 47 states in the nation for funding gaps that negatively impact low-income students. Building upon those inequities, teachers in Michigan’s wealthiest districts are paid about $8,600 more, on average, than teachers in Michigan’s poorest districts.
  • The report also highlighted projections for the state’s students. Michigan’s 8thgraders will make little improvement in math over the next eight years, according to the report.

4th grade reading score comparisons between 2003 and 2019:

  • Michigan’s 4thgraders experienced a one-point loss while students in Tennessee experienced a 7-point gain.
  • Among subgroups, Hispanic students across the nation and in Massachusetts demonstrate three times as much progress as Hispanic students in Michigan.
  • Michigan’s White students lost ground while students in leading states and across the nation improved their performance over time.

8th grade math score comparisons between 2003 and 2019:

  • Michigan’s low-income students demonstrated 8thgrade math score gains on par with the national average yet were outpaced by leading states.
  • Michigan’s Hispanic and White students experienced little progress in math while students in leading states and across the country showed strong improvement.

Improvement rankings, 4th grade reading:

  • Michigan’s Black students rank in the top 5 for student improvement in 4thgrade reading compared to other states with available data (37 states).
  • Michigan’s White students are in the bottom 5 for student improvement in 4thgrade reading.
  • The improvement of Michigan’s Hispanic students and higher-income students rank in the bottom 50% of states.

Improvement rankings, 8th grade math:

  • Michigan’s improvement among Hispanic students ranks in the bottom 5 states among those that have available data (36 states).
  • Other subgroups (White students, higher-income students) rank in the bottom 50%.