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Bridge Michigan
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Smartest kids: Four school advocates raise their hands

Editor’s note: Bridge visited four states for this series, “The smartest kids in the nation,” chronicling how four high-performing or fast-improving states are making gains in education while Michigan remains muddled in mediocrity. After profiling Tennessee, Minnesota, Florida and Massachusetts, today we review the reforms that helped improve student achievement in those states, and ask whether these policies would work here in Michigan.

Bridge visited four leading education states ‒ Tennessee, Minnesota, Florida and Massachusetts ‒ to learn what’s worked there to improve student learning. Could similar reforms work here? Bridge asked four Michigan education advocates for their thoughts.

Amber Arellano, Education Trust-Midwest: High standards and a coherent education strategy are critical

Gary Naeyaert, head of pro-charter Great Lakes Education Project: Third graders must have solid reading foundation to succeed later

Eileen Lappin Weiser, Republican member of State Board of Education: Educate and train our teachers so they can help our students thrive

Gretchen Dziadosz, executive director Michigan Education Association: Teachers need smaller classes, time to collaborate and meaningful training to make a difference

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