Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson joined us from The Detroit News as Bridge’s computer-assisted reporting specialist. Mike performed a similar role at the News, where his work showed, for instance, that just under half of all Detroit property owners paid their annual tax bills. He was also part of a team at The Blade of Toledo that won national honors, including the National Headliner and Gerald Loeb awards, for exposing widespread political corruption in a scandal that came to be known as Coingate. The stories led to political reform in Ohio state government. You can reach Mike via email at mwilkinson@bridgemi.com or call him at 313-815-7068.


Rich districts profit by sending substitutes to Michigan private schools

October 10, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan’s exploding use of long-term substitute teachers isn’t confined only to charter and poor schools. Richer districts also profit through a program that allows them to send uncertified teachers to private schools.

Who’s leading classes? Uncertified teachers for thousands of Michigan kids

October 10, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

New data show permits for long-term substitute teachers are on pace to equal or surpass last year in Michigan, continuing a surge in the use of lower-paid teachers who can have as little as two years’ education.

Check to see how many long-term subs are in your Michigan school

October 10, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

The use of long-term substitute teachers – who may have as little as two years of college – has soared in Michigan. Use this database to search how many are in your school so far this academic year.

Hate Michigan roads? Your neighbors’ may be way better. (with database)

September 26, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

Yes, Michigan has bad roads, but their quality varies widely throughout the state, according to 2018 rankings of road conditions, which may inform lawmakers’ debate about whether to raise taxes for upgrades.

Talk about Pure Michigan: Outdoor pursuits generate $10B, report says

September 23, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

A new federal report for the first time puts a dollar figure on the boating, RVing, hiking and skiing that Michigan loves. The amount is less than industry groups have touted, offering an opportunity for growth.

Algae is again fouling Lake Erie. Thanks a lot, Ohio.

September 6, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

As water quality fears rise, many Michigan farmers are doing their part to stem the flow of algae-producing nutrients, widespread measures that Ohio can only dream of.

Michigan M-STEP test scores are inching upward. See how your school compares.

August 29, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

Results from the state’s annual standardized test, given to students in grades 3-8, show faint signs of improvement. See how state students overall performed in the tests given last spring, and look up your own school.

Database: See how your Michigan school scored on M-STEP test

August 29, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Use this database to check out how many students tested as proficient on Michigan’s M-STEP tests.

Taught by substitute teachers, Michigan students relied on YouTube for lessons

August 27, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

The Universal Academy in Detroit received notoriety in June when a video went viral of the co-salutatorians criticizing the value of their education. Concerns over schools’ reliance on subs remain.

Check out wait times at your Michigan Secretary of State offices

August 13, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Lines have gotten longer so far this year, compared with wait times in 2018. This Bridge database allows you to see how times have changed in branch offices near you.


Michigan school leaders decry explosion of untrained teachers in classrooms

August 9, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

School leaders including new state Superintendent Michael Rice say time and money are needed to reduce growth of long-term substitutes, following Bridge Magazine investigation.

Alarmed by long-term subs, Detroit raised teacher pay and offered bonuses

August 8, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

The pay incentives, after years of cutbacks, allowed the state’s largest school district to hire hundreds of additional certified teachers, often plucking them from charter schools.

Database: How many long-term subs are in your Michigan district?

August 7, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

The use of long-term, uncertified substitute teachers has exploded in Michigan as a teacher shortage has intensified. Search to see how many of the teachers are in your school district.

Michigan leans on long-term substitutes as its schools struggle

August 7, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

In the last five years, the number of long-term substitutes taking over public classrooms has risen tenfold in Michigan. Critics say reliance on subs is an embarrassment for a state with lagging school performance.

After 10 years of steady growth, Michigan’s economy faces headwinds

July 9, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan’s unemployment remains low and wages are coming back. But the auto industry is transforming, and trade and talent challenges persist across the state.

Stress builds as Michigan farmers are ‘hit from all directions’

June 25, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Farmers across the state are battling wet fields and uncertainty over tariffs and trade as many struggle to stay in business.

Michigan is No. 1! At getting old. That’s not good news.

June 20, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan has the most counties in the nation with a median age of 50 or older, according to U.S. Census figures released Thursday. The implications for the economy are dire.

Whites get half of mortgages in Detroit, nation’s largest majority black city

June 13, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Detroit’s mortgage market is back, but mortgages are disproportionately going to whites. Blacks are buying in suburbs instead. ‘It looks like they’ve given up’ on Detroit, one Realtor says.

Michigan lawmakers’ pet projects get funding, new controls added

June 12, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

New legislation fixes minor errors so road, dam projects can move forward and funds an effort to bring a space program to northern Michigan.


See how much a 45-cent Michigan gas tax might cost you

May 31, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to solve the state's crumbling roads with a 45-cent gas tax, money that she says would fix Michigan's woeful roads. It would cost more but, she said, also save motorists hundreds in repair costs each year.