Who are the state academic champs?

Welcome to the real state high school playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, and I have great admiration for the dedication and skill of high school athletes. The lessons they learn in leadership, teamwork and persistence are lessons they can use long after they hang up their helmets.
But if Michigan is going to turn its economy around, it’s not going to be (with all due respect to the resurgent Detroit Lions) on the football field. Instead, it’s going to be in the classroom.
Busloads of fans will head to Ford Field for the state high school football championships in a few weeks. But you won’t see cheerleaders rooting for the state champions of fourth-grade reading (as measured by MEAP scores); the seniors with the highest rate of graduation in Michigan won’t get their team picture in the newspaper; the whiz kids from a rural district who outscored every other set of 8th graders in science MEAP scores won’t be talked about years from now in the local diner.
That needs to change.
Over the next three weeks, Bridge Magazine will be holding a State Academic Championship. Using a data base created by Bridge with the assistance of Citizens Research Council, we will name state champions in eight academic categories: College readiness (ACT proficiency); graduation rate, 8th grade math, 8th grade science, 8th grade reading, 4th grade math, 4th grade reading and 4th grade writing.
Just like in high school football and basketball, we’ve split the state’s schools into divisions, based on community type and socioeconomic status. This week, we’ve announced the quarterfinals – the top eight school districts in each academic category and each division. Check out the list – 213 school districts across the state made it to the academic playoffs, many of them in more than one category.
Next week, Bridge will announce the Academic Final Four, complete with brackets. And on Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, Bridge will announce state champions.
Some of those champions will surprise you. Some will inspire you. All deserve praise.
Those academic state champion schools offer lessons for a state working to reinvent itself – a reinvention that will be based more on spiral notebooks than spiral passes.

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Sue Steinhagen
Mon, 11/07/2011 - 3:20pm
Until the economic crunch, the Detroit papers published a section every year on the academic stars, one from each school in Michigan. I'm sure it was a laborious task but I read it thoroughly. Good to see that you are producing info that will be spread all around the state. Thanks for taking this project on!