Press Release

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (Feb. 21, 2017) – According to a new analysis of national education data, Michigan is last nationally for growth since 2003, and among bottom ten states nationally for student proficiency in fourth and eighth grade reading and math.  The analysis from the Brookings Institute further enforces the importance of state leadership for improving student outcomes, including under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

“Leading education states show that improvement is not accidental – it comes from vision, a focus on best practice and a commitment to evidence-based strategies,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “In the last decade, while leading education states like Massachusetts and Tennessee have continued to improve student learning, Michigan has quickly fallen from an average performing state to among the bottom ten states for important academic measures.”

As detailed in The Education Trust-Midwest’s 2016 report, Michigan’s Talent Crisis: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Michigan’s Broken Public Education SystemMichigan is in the bottom ten states for key subjects like early reading and math. Michigan has also seen relative declines in some subjects, most notably early reading. Michigan is just one of five states that has lower reading proficiency rates now, compared to 2003.

“With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, it is clear that states will have to take on a larger role and greater responsibility for ensuring that our experience in Michigan is turned around – and not replicated elsewhere,” said Arellano. “This raises the stakes for students and parents, and make it even more critical that education leaders at every level are paying close attention to how well schools are serving the academic needs of all students.”


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The Education Trust-Midwest is a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization dedicated to improving outcomes for all Michigan students, especially for African American, Latino, American Indian, and low-income students. The Education Trust-Midwest believes in the power of intelligent education policy and practices — informed by data, research, and the successes of other states — to make Michigan a top ten education state for all students.