Michigan is failing its students, as state test scores keep tanking

If trends continue, will tens of thousands of future third graders have to be held back because they lack basic reading skills?

Searchable Database: M-STEP scores

Use the boxes below to find a school or district by putting any part of their name in the boxes. After your search, you'll get a snapshot of overall proficiency in math and English language arts among students in all grades in that school or district. For more detailed information, you'll be able to click through for more results.

 
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Michigan schools seem to be getting even worse.

That’s the unavoidable, sobering summary from Wednesday’s release of the state’s latest standardized test scores, given to public school students in grades 3-8 and 11th grade.

Despite years of education reform, millions of dollars in targeted spending, closures of underperforming schools and the impending threat of flunking third-graders who are more than a grade level behind in reading, scores on the M-STEP sank even lower this past school year in most grades and test subjects.

And trend lines are going in the wrong direction. More third-graders were poor readers in the 2017-18 school year than in 2016-17 ‒ marking the fourth consecutive year that the share of poor readers in Michigan third-grade classrooms has grown.

While slightly more third graders were rated proficient this past year (44.4 percent, up from 44.1 percent) in tests that measure reading and writing, there was an even greater increase in the percent who showed no (as opposed to partial) proficiency.

Across all 15 tests in math, English and social studies (across seven grade levels), overall proficiency rates were down on 10 of those tests –  while the percent rated “not proficient” rose in 12 of the 15.

Despite an increase in the percent of third and fourth graders who were not proficient on the literacy test, state officials focused on the slight bump upward in those who were proficient.

Database: Check out your Michigan school and district M-STEP scores
Related: M-STEP results trouble for most struggling schools in Detroit, statewide
Related: Michigan spent $80 million to improve early reading. Scores went down.
Related: Which Michigan 3rd-graders will flunk reading? The state has no idea.

“The third and fourth-graders in school today are the kids who are benefitting from the investments in early childhood education programs over the past several years,” said Sheila Alles, interim state superintendent, in a statement.

The state has poured nearly $1.1 billion into early childhood education and has been working to improve literacy statewide and has worked to give more support to districts to hire reading coaches and more targeted student assistance. Alles acknowledged that the scores reveal achievement gaps that need to be addressed across all grades and subjects.

“More work needs to be done on English language arts in the upper grades, and math and Social Studies overall,” Alles said.

Growing chorus for change

"It’s always risky to read too much into a one-year reading” of state test scores, said Jeff Guilfoyle, vice president of Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing-based consulting and research firm. “That said, the numbers are not good. An alarming number of our kids are rated non-proficient in math and reading and the number is growing. Addressing this needs to be a top priority for policymakers."

Education was already a major issue in the state’s gubernatorial election, with Michigan’s students mired in the bottom third of the nation in academic performance. But the release of Wednesday’s M-STEP scores could increase public pressure to seek a dramatically different approach to improving the state’s schools.

Both major party candidates offered their reactions to Bridge.

2018 Michigan M-STEP results

Proficiency rates largely fell from 2017 to 2018 on the annual M-STEP assessments given to Michigan public school students.

English language arts

Grade 2018 1-year
change
3-year
change
3 44.4% 0.3 -5.6
4 45 0.8 -1.6
5 46.5 -4.6 -2.2
6 41.4 -2.2 -3.3
7 43.4 -1.4 -5.7
8 42.8 -5.2 -4.8

Math

Grade 2018 1-year
change
3-year
change
3 45.7% -1.1 -3.1
4 42 0 0.6
5 34.3 -0.7 0.9
6 34.6 0.4 1.3
7 35.7 -0.5 2.4
8 32.7 -0.8 0.5

Social studies

Grade 2018 1-year
change
3-year
change
5 18.3% -3.3 -3.9
8 29.3 -2.1 -0.4
11 48.5 2.5 4.6

Source: Michigan Department of Education

Republican gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Bill Schuette has made improving early reading a priority in his campaign, calling for reading “coaches” in every school. His campaign called the latest test scores “a tragedy for students and an embarrassing deterrent to economic growth.”  

“It is a tragedy that we have some of the lowest reading scores in America,” Schuette told Bridge through campaign spokesman John Sellek in an email. “Where ever you live, we should all be outraged.”

Schuette vows that, if elected, he would appoint a state literacy director and would promote a reading foundation to which philanthropic foundations and businesses can contribute to programs such as hiring more reading coaches, creating summer reading camps. Schuette also has said he will bring more focus to career-technical education.

“We need to hold schools accountable for student outcomes, but at the same time give them more freedom and flexibility to decide the best way to achieve those outcomes, rather than constantly imposing burdensome, one-size-fits-all mandates and requirements from Lansing,” Schuette said. “As governor, I’ll work with parents, schools and other stakeholders to create a simple, fair rating system that provides useful data and drives school improvement.

Schuette also agreed with some critics, including many Republicans, who complain that the current state education system “scatters responsibility for education over a number of public entities, rather than investing it primarily in any one body or person.” Changing that dynamic might include “letting the Governor, rather than the Board of Education, appoint the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.” Such a change would require a state Constitutional amendment.

Democratic candidate Gretchen Whitmer told Bridge that her education plan would address declining student achievement by fighting for universal preschool, shoring up literacy programs as well as adding “counselors, social workers, school nurses, school security, healthy meals and safe transportation.”

Whitmer has said she would pay for it all by “eliminating the $100-plus million in School Aid Fund money being spent out of the state budget on a variety of legislators’ pet projects and ending raids on the School Aid Funds once and for all,” she wrote in an email to Bridge.

“By doing this, we will infuse three-quarters of a billion dollars into our public education system. We're also going to maximize the state’s federal drawdown for childcare. My plan will more than pay for itself.”

Questions about test’s value

M-STEP –  Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress –  is Michigan’s annual assessment of students, which is required under federal education law. It measures English language arts, math, social studies and science knowledge in grades 3-8 and 11.  (The state adopted new science tests this year and results were not released because the Michigan Department of Education said the tests themselves were being tested.)

Some education advocates are taking a cautious attitude toward the 2018 results because of substantial changes adopted by the state. The tests were made shorter and included fewer sections than in prior years a move that angered some.

State education officials, following the passage of legislation requiring the length of the M-STEP test be cut, did so and hoped that the reductions would free up time for more targeted and frequent “benchmark” tests at the school level that teachers could use to address student weaknesses.

But those changes also raise questions about comparability of the 2017-2018 results with previous years, said Amber Arellano, executive director The Education Trust-Midwest, a nonpartisan policy, research and advocacy organization based in Royal Oak.

“Uncertainty about this data hinders educational improvement efforts across the state,” Arellano said.

EdTrust noted that many of the yawning gaps in achievement between white students and black and Hispanic students persist in the data. Those gaps narrowed slightly in 2017-2018, but more often because the  proficiency rates of white students fell faster than those of minority students, and not because minority student scores were improving.

For instance, in fifth grade, the percent of black students in the state proficient in English language arts fell from 24.8 to 20.7 percent over the past school year.  For Hispanic students, proficiency dropped from 39.4 to 36 percent. But among white students, the numbers fell even farther, from 58.6 to 53.8 percent.

“Huge gaps in learning outcomes are holding back Michigan’s economic vitality, and require policy leaders to not only invest ‒ but to invest more strategically ‒ in dramatically raising literacy levels through new, thoughtful systemic approaches,” Arellano said in a statement.

Large gaps also exist between poor students and those who aren’t. For instance, just 30.3 percent of all students in poverty were proficient in English language arts, less than half of the proficiency rate (62 percent) of students who aren’t poor. In math the gap was 54 percent to 22 percent. The gaps were similar in previous years.

Unlike the NAEP (the National Assessment of Educational Progress) which is given to students across the country, M-STEP tests are taken by all Michigan students and cannot easily be compared with scores of students outside Michigan.

The NAEP is a biannual test that is only taken by a sampling of students in grades 4 and 8 in every state and, like the state test, has steadily chronicled Michigan’s steady decline. Michigan has seen its NAEP rankings fall precipitously in the last two decades as scores have stagnated and fallen.

Pockets of success –  and struggles

Proficiency rates in Detroit, the state's largest district, were up on a few tests, including third and fourth grade reading. But overall, fewer than 10 percent of Detroit students were proficient on eight of the 15 tests. The city has one of the poorest populations in the country and poverty has been linked to poor academic performance.

M-STEP scores were worse in Flint, where fewer than 8 percent of all students were proficient in English language arts and fewer than 5 percent in math. Nearly 80 percent of Flint students showed no level of proficiency in math and ELA. Like Detroit, Flint, which has been plagued by years of torment over lead-poisoned water, also has one of the poorest student populations.

Indeed, students from wealthier districts scored far better. More than 75 percent of all students in Novi, Northville and East Grand Rapids were proficient in English language arts, well above the 43.9 percent statewide.

Test scores rose in some districts, such as Traverse City or in Dundee just south of Ann Arbor. But declined in many other districts as well.

“We know we have pockets of success,” said Susan Townsend, of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, who participated in a round-table discussion hosted Monday by the state to talk about early literacy efforts. “But we need that across the state.”

Her goal is similar to Schuette’s –  putting reading coaches into 2,000 schools statewide. “If we could have a coach in every building, that would be the dream.”

How many third-graders will repeat?

The stakes will rise considerably at the end of the 2019-20 school year, when Michigan third-graders who are more than one grade behind in reading skills on the M-STEP will face the possibility of being held back in 2020-21 school year, under a law passed in 2016.

The education department hasn’t finalized how it will determine who will be held back, but it is safe to assume those children will be drawn from the group who are in the bottom category of M-STEP scores, labeled “not proficient” in English language arts –  and that group of students has increased markedly in the last four years.

In 2014-2015, 24 percent of third graders were judged “not proficient” in English language arts. That percentage has steadily risen and was at 31 percent in 2018. That 31 percent represents nearly 37,000 Michigan students, roughly a third of all students on last spring’s test. If the rate had stayed steady at 24 percent, more than 7,000 fewer third graders would have been “not proficient.”

That increase in children rated “not proficient” in English language arts – reading is a subset of the ELA score – is even more disturbing, because the state has spent $80 million to improve early learning to avoid holding tens of thousands third-graders back.

Where that leaves state policymakers isn’t exactly clear. But Guilfoyle, of PSC, suggests the state needs to step in to help vulnerable students at an even younger age to make a difference.

“We need to focus on early investment and make sure kids are arriving at kindergarten on track,” he told Bridge. “Then  we need to do whatever it takes to keep them on track as they move through the K-12 system."

Bridge Magazine and Chalkbeat, members of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, teamed up to cover the state test scores. Click here to see Chalkbeat’s report on how Detroit schools fared on the latest M-STEP test.

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Comments

Dan Moerman
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:19am

How about "Jail term for parents who don't read to their kids every day!! starting when they are, oh, 2 weeks old!!"

Mary Delcamp
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:51am

That will help, not. Punish those who are already struggling.

Robyn Tonkin
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 4:11pm

Apparently Mary Delcamp is devoid of a sense of humor. Your comment was tongue in cheek, yet carries a message. It is so important that parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles read to children starting well before age one, that it is is tantamount to being a criminal act to not read to children. I have responded time and again to this type of story, that talks about educational testing and theory and ignores what is crucial, and also, what is going on. I have been told by a young relative of people who gate off a room in their home, put their toddler in this confined space and then put a tablet computer on the toddler-free side of the gate. the parent then hunches over their smartphone for long periods during the day, while the child sits glued to the tv through the bars. Unbelievable, unspeakable, but it happens. I think there is a vast knowledge disconnect between what is happening to the children in our society, before they get to school, and the people who are supposed to be teaching children. When many children hit kindergarten, it's already quite a hopeless task to turn them into skilled readers. But teachers and administrators keep going to conferences, with poster sessions, and plenary sessions, and break out groups, and make plans to teach reading to people being educated before the advent of social media. I think quite frankly it's an insoluble problem.

Chuck Fellows
Thu, 08/30/2018 - 1:35pm

The rest of the developed world has solved this "problem. What makes us so unexceptional? Could it be the gross ignorance and unwillingness to change on the part of our current system of education. See Ken Robinson's videos, "Are schools killing creativity" and "Paradigms" on YouTube.

duane
Wed, 09/05/2018 - 6:25pm

Why is America the most creative on a per capita basis in the world? When you talk about the major changes to society around the world, why does it so commonly include the mentions of what was created and implemented in America? Why are you so sure that creativity is being so damaging to creativity? I think we are so creative is because of our culture, it is outside of the classroom that creativity flourishes. The classroom is where the students should be [in thousands of case right here in Michigan] learning how to learn, learning necessary knowledge and skills. Outside the classroom is where creativity is asked for, where organization's life blood is creativity, where the creativity is measured by results/impact, where he creative are encourage and reward, except politics.

Creativity is driven by the individual and our culture, not the politics of education or a classroom. Ask yourself when you became creative and why, and painting with your fingers instead of a pencil or on a tablet isn't creative. My creativity first happened when I was young when we were trying to figure out how to fill our time, avoiding doing school work. It was about satisfying a need/want.

The other test for each of us was trying to remember it when we ask or encouraged someone to offer a different way to fill a want/need. When was the last time anyone on Bridge was asked about a new approach for helping students learn and there was a conversation, challenging in specific ways how and why it would work?
The classrooms should be focused on learning, not being judge on the creativity of each student. There is far more need for creativity in helping students desire to learn then distracting then we expecting them to be creative. When was the last time you ask about what a student's role/responsibility is for their learning in place of arguing over more money and changes in programs in our schools. If want creativity in the classroom then start a conversation about the student in place of the adults.

Mitchell Robinson
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:46am

"Despite years of education reform, millions of dollars in targeted spending, closures of underperforming schools and the impending threat of flunking third-graders who are more than a grade level behind in reading"...

It's almost as though the current administration's education reform approach, courtesy of Betsy DeVos, of closing public schools, opening charter schools, raiding the school aid fund, cutting $1 billion from the education budget, subjecting kids to a barrage of standardized tests, eliminating art and music from the school curriculum, and threatening to fail 3rd graders...isn't working.

Here's the bottom line: Snyder and Schuette have presided over an unprecedented disinvestment in funding for public education in Michigan, and are now just shocked...shocked, I say!...that spending less money on our children, teachers, and schools has resulted in those children not doing very well on standardized tests that have been poorly designed, haphazardly implemented, and tell us nothing about what those children actually know or can do.

Schuette has some real chutzpah even talking about how to "fix" public education in our state, as he was directly involved in "breaking" it.

Don
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:49am

and all our property tax and lotto money is going WERE>>>> Snyders defence fund!!!

Rose
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:49am

This is extremely alarming. It IS an emergency in that Michigan is not "the comeback state" but is quickly winning the race to the bottom. Thank you, Betsy DeVos. And thank you, legislators who have mandated that teachers change curricula constantly to follow whatever is the latest, unproven trend.

Anonymous
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 10:52am

"Despite years of education reform..."
Should read because of years of "education reform."

Dwight Cendrowski
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 2:48pm

A Republican majority legislature has presided over this disdain for public education and disdain for impoverished constituents. Their priorities and legislation show regard for only moneyed voters and corporations.

Arjay
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 11:14am

That Novi and Northville score well above state averages is no surprise given the large population of Asian students in these two districts. Excellence in education is part of the Asian mindset, and many of these families are temporary residents on foreign assignment which results in having one parent at home to work with their 2 and 3 year old children. Parental involvement is a key factor in children who excel, and this involvement must start when the child is is a pre-schooler, not when the child is behind in 3rd or 4th grade.

One has to only look at the surnames of high school valedictorians, doctoral candidates, and professors in major universities to determine what needs to be studied to improve overall scores. A major attitude change is neede if this country is going to advance along with the rest of the world.

Chuck Fellows
Thu, 08/30/2018 - 1:37pm

Look at the list of Hold Harmless Schools. Follow the money. It has nothing to do with surname.

Matt
Fri, 08/31/2018 - 7:49am

Seriously Chuck do you really think it's the money that makes the difference? And having an aspirational culture (as do many Asian, Jewish, Middle eastern families) isn't as important? I'll bet on the culture over money every time !

duane
Thu, 09/06/2018 - 4:50pm

Matt,

You are so right, Malcom Gladwell it his books have describe how culture is the driving force for learning, working, financial success. In one case he explains how the part of China that has for generations have lived and prospers on small plot of land for growing rice had develop a stronger cultural influence for sacrifice, for work, for learning than other parts of China and that culture drives the children that have spread out around the world.
I would ad that the micro culture the children create around themselves with friends and acquaintances is a strong driver of how kids do and what they do.
A stronger cultural drive is what kids see, if their parents are successful due to education the family culture establishes expectations and even methods.

Joel
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 11:30am

Standardized tests are not worth much. The kids by and large have little interest in taking them, and the tests continue to be much too long. For example, the first day of M-Step for 11th grade students is more than four hours long, with no scheduled breaks (including no lunch break). Additionally, kids who are behind in credits are forced to take the test anyway, because their chronological age says they should be in 11th grade; so you have kids taking a test they do not care about, over material they have never seen. A better protocol would be several short assessments spread throughout the year, such as a baseline in September, mid-year at the semester change (late January) and then early May before "summer fever" sets-in.

Bernadette
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 11:45am

Michigan was once a shining star in k-12 education. This is when we had competent educational leaders and state government who was not so invested in "fixing" a problem that did not exist. The last several years this state has interfered with funding, demanded for profit charter schools were an answer!! There was no vision, except by Betsy Devos. Her vision was to create a for profit structure of charter schools with no accountability and to line the pockets of her "friends". The only blessing of her appointment by Trump is she is no longer focused on Michigan.

Our state has turned into one of the "haves" and "have nots", and that sickens me. Arrogant, self righteous Republicans have shown their recent terms in office caused the destruction of our educational system, poverty rates through the ceiling, roads that are completely inadequate, poisoned water in Flint, and the list goes on.

Schette says teachers need to be held accountable. When will he and Schneider be held accountable for their actions while in office.

Paul Jordan
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 11:45am

Michigan's schools have been 'reformed' to death. Since we (yes, 'we') passed Proposal A and handed funding & control for K-12 education over to the state, Michigan's system of public education has been in a death spiral.
The fact is that we handed public education over to a political party that fundamentally doesn't believe that state government should provide services to its constituents--including educational services.
Relying on Michigan's anti-government Republicans to improve public education is like trusting a child molester babysit your children.

William Brown
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 12:19pm

I think the question should be about what our schools are doing for students, not what Michigan is doing. Perhaps the Michigan Department of Education is not doing what they can to promote curriculum that works for children, but in the end the schools are responsible for delivering instruction and there is no doubt that the various curriculum wars have left us with many citizens who are functionally illiterate and innumerate.

Anna
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 12:33pm

Clearly the approach we in Michigan have taken to improving schools has not been helpful in improving test results. The drop in scores of middle class and white kids over the past decade is particularly alarming, since so many educators insist that race and socioeconomic status are the most important determinants of test scores. Obviously more emphasis on the academic aspects of early childhood education is not leading to the expected improvement in academic achievement.

Could it be that trying to force reading vs. being read to down into kindergarten or even pre-K is the wrong answer for the vast majority of students? Could it be that a strict matching of instruction levels to calendar age instead of students advancing based on mastery of the curriculum has lead to failure for more than half the students from disadvantaged backgrounds?

I don't have enough data about what goes on in Michigan's elementary and middle schools these days to answer those questions, but those who work in and manage those classrooms need to re-think their assumptions about how and when students are ready to learn what concepts and skills if we are to improve to where our students can be competitive, even just within the US, not to mention internationally.

Chuck Fellows
Thu, 08/30/2018 - 2:02pm

See Ken Robinson's video "Paradigms" for an understanding of school educational dysfunction. Next go to the Big Picture Schools" web site and review their advisory and mastery videos. www.bigpicture.org

Kathleen Bilger
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 3:34pm

This is not a surprise. The teachers and PTA have been sounding the alarm for years. The testing now is showing how poor the test results were with the MEAP. The state government has robbed the k-12 budget for years with much of it going to community colleges. We need s get back to basics approach for reading. Remember the disaster that was Whole Language?
As a long time PTA member, parent of 4 and mother of a teacher, I have had a front row seat to the disaster. Did anyone pay attention to the study last week that said Battle Creek is the second worst place in the United States to raise a child? Imagine worse that Flint or Detroit. I am not surprised. We have areas of the state and BC is one, where education has no value. In Harper Creek, the students have block scheduling but because the class meets daily for a semester, the teacher can not get plans done, students tune out and worse they go 8 months before they see the subject again.
We need to do several things quickly:
Put out a strong message that education is valuable.
Skilled trades are education
Get teachers and administrators to visit top schools and model their programs on top schools.
Get parents to join the PTA or other parent-school organization Notice Detroit made it mandatory for every school to join the PTA? Until parents are visible in the schools, neither teacher or student will care about education. We need parent support and encouragement to make a change.
Lastly pay the teachers enough so you get good teachers in the schools.

duane
Wed, 09/05/2018 - 6:38pm

What you propose is not noticeably different that what things have been for the past several decades. "Put out a strong message education is valuble." when hasn't that been the order of the day, when hasn't that been the justification for more spending, when hasn't that been the rationale of teachers to resist performance metrics for education.
You must have missed the old rule for parents about their children; what you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying. Who do you want to believe education is so valuable, then show them. Why do you think the 'wealthy' schools have more students successfully learning, valuing education, they see it everyday in their parents. Those students see the financial success of their parents, they see the social success, the lower stress levels, they see the more structure [boundaries] and flexibility.
Your message has been the clarion call made by the education system for decades, but it is the actions in neighborhoods, in the micro cultures they kids create for them selves that speak louder than all the educators combined. If you want kids to learn then look who the are friends with rather than who their teachers and administrators are.

karla
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 4:10pm

This article is not correct.

Third & fourth graders showed a modest increase in scores and Social Studies 11th graders showed a 2% increase in scores as well.

With all the problems we have with privatizes trying to eliminate public education, the least The Bridge can do is report accurately. Let us give credit when due.

Matt
Wed, 08/29/2018 - 4:43pm

So as usual we get to listen to the usual blather that the reason our kids won't learn (assuming this is actually true) is because Governor Snyder, Bill Schuette, and Betsy DeVos aren't doing enough, aren't checking their homework, communicating with teachers, doing flash cards and times tables, proof reading their assignments or anything else that should be done. And it's all these politicians fault, Snyder, Schuette and DeVos don't care about our kids enough! The Gretch on the other hand cares about your kid even more than you and will throw a bunch of money to prove it! The typical Bridge reader I'd bet does everything to help their kid succeed academically with probably decent results (regardless of their politics and who the Governor is). Yet despite their personal success with their own kids, somehow you think our problem is with Lansing.

Ben W Washburn
Sun, 09/02/2018 - 8:04pm

Matt:
I have often reacted to some of your own comments with much dismay. But for just this once, I think that you have hit at least one nail straight on the head. The typical Bridge reader probably does do exactly what it takes to make sure that their own child does well academically, and does not in the least depend upon Lansing to somehow educate their child. And we should all take a serious lesson from that essential fact. For almost 50 years now, most folks (and the national media) have succumbed to the notion that there is some political solution to becoming first in the World in educational achievement. The more and more intense this drumbeat has become, the worse and worse things seem to have become. No wonder. This incessant drumbeat leaves our more average everyday parents honestly believing that education is somehow the responsibility of the government and "the trained professionals". Over these same 50 years, Americans has had to somehow learn to cope with an international economy over which our government has little if any "control". The decisions which determine our economy are no longer in our hands. Most are determined by multi-national corporations. A large panoply of ills, such as, escalating credit card debt and higher education debt, and troubled Social Security prospects and escalating child care costs, are simply examples of the many ways that we have somehow, miraculously, adjusted while avoiding a truly devastating economic collapse.

Yes, I certainly wish that Bridge Magazine was much more thoughtful and was not going along with that dismaying national drumbeat. But, I also applaud them for doing a heck of a lot more than most in trying to address those issues which most impact us. That's why I recently made a $50 per month donation to their sustenance. I'm hoping too that you realize that this is a forum to which you too need to support.

Bernadette
Mon, 09/03/2018 - 10:15am

Ben,

I too support Bridge for the same reason. At least they are providing a forum for discussion on the critical issues facing Michigan. The missing piece is the recognition that our "old systems" are fundamentally incapable of meeting the needs of today. They are all dying a slow and very painful death. This includes education, healthcare, government, church, etc. I believe with our current national leadership, this "dying" will be accelerated. It will take a new generation of leadership to build new systems, and those are the ones I am supporting in what ever way I can.

duane
Mon, 09/03/2018 - 11:39pm

Ben,
You are right, the readers will do what they can and must for their families, they will not wait for others to do it for them. And it is that attitude they instill in their children is what helps them to learn in spite of what the articles claim. I also believe that it is that same attitude and people that cause our culture to succeed in the face of things you believe are out of our control. Where you fear the multi-national companies that ills we aren't controlling, I look around the state and see those companies populated by people that you describe as Bridge readers, people that are creative and will do what it takes rather rely on others such as the government, for it is those people that are managing those ills so our culture is prospering.

Where we part is about Bridge donations, I have decreased my support because they only listen to the 'drumbeats' of their peers rather learn how to listen to their readers. I continue support Bridge, as I agree with Bernadette, they have created a forum for readers to comment and it is those comments that create the value of Bridge. Those ills you are concerned with, if those readers that are doing what it takes of their children to learn we focused on any of those ills and asked the right questions they would generate innovative approaches that may not solve them but would create the means for others to eliminate or significantly mitigate them so the ills would be manageable rather than barriers.

duane
Thu, 08/30/2018 - 1:47am

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.-Albert Einstein
That is what this article is describing; candidates, the commenters, and others referenced insanity. For generations, all we have heard about is how more money needs to be spent, programs need to be changed, there needs to be new facilities, and yet we still get the same results.
When are people going to ask the right questions, talk about what is most important for learning, and focus who really determines student learning success? When are people going to break from the insanity of the politics of education?
With the right questions the answers will become obvious.

Chuck Fellows
Thu, 08/30/2018 - 1:30pm

NAEP Scores are not to be used for comparative purposes, period. So stop that activity.

Standardized test scores are meaningless. The do not measure what they purport to do. They do punish and shame children and parents, teaches and local school administrations as the taxpayer contribute tens of millions to test manufacturing companies and outside consultants,

The goal should be learning, not education. Until the adults in the world understand the meaning of that statement we will continue to cheat children of their future.

Anna
Thu, 09/13/2018 - 10:35am

Chuck, you are dead wrong. NAEP scores are designed and intended to collect data that is comparable across states, across school types (private, charter, traditional public, non-traditional) and across socio-economic, special needs, race, and gender groups. It isn't called "the nations's report card" for nothing.

Merdis Harris
Thu, 08/30/2018 - 4:58pm

This test is so unfair to students. You changed from the ACT to the SAT without having a few years to prepare students. Remember the ACT tested the student on the materials taught in High School. The SAT is suppose to determine what students are capable of learning. The SAT is not a fair test.

Pat Sullivan
Thu, 08/30/2018 - 9:29pm

This is no surprise. You needn't have written the article, we all assume that this is the case.

Agnosticrat 2.0
Fri, 08/31/2018 - 6:39am

Sure our math and reading scores are bad... but have you heard the band?
Our district continues to request mileage increases for the best of entertainment. New football fields, tennis courts, and a wonderful new performance hall. We need to keep up with the neighbors who have test scores that are just as bad. All of this to lure more students so that we have more money for band uniforms probably.

Eric Beeman
Sat, 09/01/2018 - 7:02pm

Sad to see politics, funding and poor parenting still being given as the defacto reasons for low test scores. It all comes down to the teaching methods used, teaching the topics being tested, time on task, and a district/school leadership team really focused on student achievement. There are schools with high percentage of economically disadvantaged student that do quite well, Michigan Dept Education used to call them "Reward Schools". See Lezotte's Learning for All.

Chuck Jordan
Sun, 09/02/2018 - 10:25am

So what is new in this article or the comments?