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Report: Michigan lags behind other states in reading, math indicators

Early Learning
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A new report found Michigan kids have remained stagnant across several key indicators of student success, such as fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math performance.

One in four Michigan students who go onto postsecondary opportunities require remedial education, and the number is more than 40% for the state's Black students.

Hayley Butler, data and policy analyst for The Education Trust-Midwest, which released the report, said Michigan needs to invest in education, but also make improvements in systems, policies and practices.

"We want to see more services provided to the students who need the support, so that they're able to achieve at high levels," Butler explained. "We know all students are capable of reaching high potential if they have what they need to succeed."

The report pointed out learning loss due to the COVID pandemic has widened opportunity gaps for low-income students and students of color. Michigan ranks 32nd in the nation for fourth-grade reading. And since 2003, students in other states have improved their eighth grade math scores by nearly three times more than eighth graders in Michigan.

Butler added unprecedented federal funding for public schools as part of COVID relief packages is an opportunity to make needed changes, from fair funding and investment to transparency, public reporting and accountability.

"We would love to see more data systems and fiscal transparency to ensure that the extra funds that we're calling to be invested in the system are actually spent in the classroom," Butler urged. "In ways that we know evidence said serve students and actually helps them reach their potential."

She noted it is important for Michigan to look to other states implementing evidence-based policies and funding models to ensure students with the highest needs receive support.

Originally from just outside Boston, Lily Bohlke is formerly from 2020Talks, a show tracking politics and elections, that started prior to the 2020 Iowa caucuses at KHOI in Ames. She's also a past intern for the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism.
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