Chastity Pratt

Chastity Pratt covers Michigan’s cities and urban affairs for Bridge. She joined the Bridge team from the The Detroit Free Press after more than a decade of providing authoritative coverage of Detroit Public Schools. She has broken many of the biggest stories regarding education in the state’s largest city over the past decade. Pratt’s work also has appeared in USA Today, Essence Magazine and the Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal. Before the Free Press, the native Detroiter was a reporter at Newsday in Long Island, NY, and The Oregonian newspaper in Portland. She started her career as an intern at The New York Times. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from the University of Michigan. You can reach Chastity via email at, or call her at 313-310-7867.


Election Day Playbook: What to watch for tonight

November 4, 2014 | Ron French, Chastity Pratt, Mike Wilkinson

Woody Allen once famously said that “80 percent of success is just showing up.” But Dems would probably settle for half that as they seek to unseat an incumbent governor.

Smartest kids: What Michigan schools can learn from leading states

October 14, 2014 | Chastity Pratt, Ron French

Students from Minnesota to Florida are learning more. Is Michigan ready to do something about it?

National education leader: Business must lead fight in Michigan

October 14, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Bridge sat down with Kati Haycock, founder of the Education Trust in Washington, D.C., to talk about reversing Michigan’s decline and what schools can do for low-income kids when parents aren’t in the game.

Smartest kids: Ignoring outcry, Massachusetts leaders chose excellence

October 9, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Tough standards, targeted funding and a difficult test that every student must pass have elevated Massachusetts to the top of the class.

Smartest kids: Massachusetts charter schools are few but mighty

October 9, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Charters in the Bay State are fulfilling the promise of bringing innovation and performance to public education. The state keeps a tight rein on who can open charters and sets high standards for schools to remain open.

Obamacare giveth, but courts could taketh away

July 29, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

A federal court case could set the stage for the repeal of Obamacare tax credits, and drastically raise health-care costs for 250,000 Michigan residents. A final decision is likely a year away.

Q&A: Home is what you make it

July 22, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

There are many cities that can be improved with planning that turns public spaces into the heart of those communities. Michigan’s “placemaking” chief explains how.

More money. More jobs?

July 15, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Southeast Michigan is poised to get a share of $1.3 billion in U.S. economic development grants. Lisa Baragar Katz, executive director of the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeastern Michigan tells Bridge how the money should be spent.

Emergency manager or emperor? Why Michigan’s law stirs contempt

July 10, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Michigan has one of the most aggressive receivership laws in the nation, giving emergency managers extraordinary power in distressed communities, but leaving hard feelings in their wake. Other states have had a smoother ride by involving elected leaders in turnaround plans, rather than shuttling them to the sideline.

Politicos were out to get me, says emergency manager

July 10, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Benton Harbor’s first emergency manager sidelined elected officials and a public war soon followed. EMs have authority to make the hard cuts that elected leaders won’t, but entrenched politics are harder to ax.

Is Detroit’s financial oversight board too big to succeed?

July 10, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

The state-created board may be larger than necessary, but it has the funding to run its own numbers, rather than relying on the city to turn over information.

F is for frustrated – disorganization at Detroit EAA schools leaves students scrambling to graduate

June 19, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Seniors graduating this month from high schools in the state reform school district complain of missing or inaccurate transcripts. Some are being told days before commencement they don’t have the required classes to graduate.

Officials’ mistake cancels Head Start in Detroit schools; ‘sin and a shame’ for district

June 10, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Detroit Public Schools missed a deadline, and now must bow out of the preschool program for low-income children, imperiling nearly 1,000 seats for 4-year-olds.

Michigan residents consumed with improving education, college affordability

May 8, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Michigan residents demand the state do something to improve schools, align training to the jobs available, and make college more affordable for students and their families.

Long-term fixes to Michigan school funding unlikely this year

May 1, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

As election season heats up, lawmakers recognize that the state school funding formula needs an overhaul. But long-term changes to the Proposal A funding system will likely not be addressed. This leaves plenty of middle-class districts to struggle.

Study to measure cost of education unlikely in election year

May 1, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

State-funded adequacy studies are hailed by education groups and Democrats as a way to measure the true cost of educating Michigan students. But Republicans deride these studies as an effort to wring more money from taxpayers.

School funding fight turns on two visions of Michigan

April 29, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Charter and school-choice proponents want all districts to get an equal share of state funding. The state board and leading education groups say that rural, urban and low-income districts often need more resources to provide a quality education.

How much does it cost to educate a child? In Michigan, nobody knows

April 29, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Most states pay for so-called “adequacy studies” to calculate how much they should be spending to give students a quality education. Michigan is among a minority of states that have balked at such studies, while questioning their usefulness.

A brief history of Proposal A, or how we got here

April 29, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Proposal A was a bipartisan solution that offered property tax relief to Michigan residents while cutting the gap between poor and more affluent districts. A primer on how it works and why it needs an overhaul.

Benchmark: City services

January 29, 2014 | Chastity Pratt

Detroit’s new mayor and City Council are taking ownership of fixing street lights, blight and bus service within six months. Can they succeed where others failed?