Press Release

This statement can be attributed to Jennifer Mrozowski, senior director of The Education Trust-Midwest.

“This year’s M-STEP results again demonstrate the great need for immediate strategies to accelerate student learning, especially as average results remain below pre-pandemic levels in key subjects.

“For instance, the percentage of students scoring proficient dropped in 2023 in 7th grade math and 3rd grade reading when compared to 2019. These troubling results build upon Michigan’s tragic and persistent opportunity gaps for our most underserved students, including Black and Latino students, students with disabilities and students from low-income backgrounds — and they are proof positive that systemic education transformation is needed for our students’ futures.

“The state should start with evidence-based practices to improve learning based on what works in leading states. And we should improve upon our school funding system to ensure students with the greatest needs have the dollars and resources to accelerate their learning and achieve at high levels.

“Michigan made progress with this year’s state budget, and we applaud the governor and our state legislature for  establishing a new Opportunity Index, which will drive much greater state investment in students who qualify for at-risk funding based on a school district’s concentration of poverty, regardless of region.  The state also increased funding for English Learners and funding for students with disabilities.

“But we can’t stop there. Now is the time to build on that momentum by significantly increasing funding for the students who are the most underserved to create a truly fair school funding system — and ensure educational recovery. Michigan should look to Massachusetts, the nation’s leading state for education, as a model for a school funding formula that truly addresses the needs of students.

“At the same time, the state should also design and implement transparent statewide systems to make sure these investments are targeted on strategies that raise student achievement, while supporting schools and holding them accountable for improving student outcomes.

“To date, Michigan does not have a clear system to monitor if dollars are indeed reaching the classrooms of the students for whom the funding is intended. There is also no clear system to show whether investments are targeted at evidence-based interventions, or if the strategies are effective at accelerating student learning.

“These results are clear evidence that our state should act quickly to drastically improve supports and funding for our students, especially those who are the most underserved and face the greatest gaps in opportunity. Our state leaders should also commit to improving our systems for fiscal transparency, effectiveness and accountability so that every Michigan student has access to an excellent education and bright future.”