Talent & Education

To prosper, Michigan must be a more educated place. Bridge will explore the challenges in education and identify policies and initiatives that address them.


How four Detroit students hope to make it through the first year of college

September 20, 2019 | Lori Higgins

Detroit graduates must navigate patchy academic preparation, culture shock, and often their own shaken confidence if they are to stay enrolled and on track to earn a degree that is their best chance to jump into the middle class as adults.

Dems break with Whitmer, pass small funding increase for Michigan schools

September 19, 2019 | Ron French, Riley Beggin

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is left out of negotiations as legislators boost budget for state $15.2 billion. The budget doubles the number of literacy coaches, but critics say the funding isn’t enough to improve test scores.

As Detroit schools rebuild, a veteran and aviation academy show a way forward

September 17, 2019 | Koby Levin

Backers of Davis Aerospace Technical Academy refused to allow Detroit to shut one of the only high schools in the nation to train aviation mechanics. Their success suggests a disconnect between Detroiters and their schools is beginning to mend.

As Michigan schools ban cellphones, reports surface of ‘talking,’ ‘eye contact’

September 13, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

 Studies are increasingly drawing links between heavy student cellphone use and anxiety and lower achievement. In one suburban Grand Rapids district, a phone ban may be spawning something else ... conversation.

Michigan GOP proposes 0.9% funding boost for colleges and universities

September 12, 2019 | Ron French

Most universities and community colleges wouldn’t get enough of a funding hike to cover inflation under the latest budget plan in the Michigan Legislature. That’s frustrating for a state already ranked 44th in the nation in per-pupil funding of higher education.

Michigan schools would get 2.4 percent hike in GOP budget plan

September 12, 2019 | Ron French

Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer, who campaigned on the promise to improve Michigan’s struggling public schools, didn’t get as much as she wanted in next year’s state education budget.

Is Michigan school spending up or down? Pension problems muddy the answer

September 11, 2019 | Ron French

The rising cost of unfunded pension liabilities is a drag on Michigan schools, according to a new report.

Report: Funding cuts, high tuition spawn a cost crisis at Michigan colleges

September 6, 2019 | Ron French

A “perfect storm” of falling wages, state disinvestment in higher education and stingy financial aid has made Michigan a tough place for low-income college students to succeed.

As Lansing debates funding, schools struggle to pay teachers, fix roofs

September 3, 2019 | Ron French

Amid political disagreements about school funding, Michigan’s smallest district and its most geographically expansive face common problems: Not enough money to boost disadvantaged students. And roofs that need replacing.

Michigan teachers: Flunking won’t help kids read. We have better ideas.

September 3, 2019 | Alexandra Schmidt

Bridge spoke with 29 Michigan teachers in a Facebook group about the read or flunk law that hits third-graders this year. They’re dubious the law will improve literacy but have plenty of other ideas.

Detroit superintendent: Parents should demand end of long-term subs

September 2, 2019 | Ron French

Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, center, took to Twitter over the weekend to blast the use of long-term substitute teachers to lead Michigan classrooms. And he’s doing something about it. (Bridge file photo)

Detroit district test scores gain on Michigan’s, but there’s a long way to go

August 29, 2019 | Koby Levin

Taken at face value, the M-STEP results leave plenty of room for concern. But figures are up significantly from last year, and individual Detroit schools made double-digit point gains, in some cases exceeding the state average.

M-STEP shows no progress for Michigan’s struggling third-grade readers

August 29, 2019 | Ron French

With the state’s read-or-flunk law beginning this year, Michigan’s efforts to help young readers appear to be falling flat.

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.

Benton Harbor schools may be open for now, but test scores are the pits

August 29, 2019 | Ron French

The good news is Benton Harbor High will remain open this year despite threats by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to close it. The bad news is its test scores are among the state’s worst.

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.

Michigan schools say they can’t find enough substitute teachers

August 27, 2019 | Ron French

More and more public schools are struggling to find someone to lead classes when teachers are out – a sign of a growing teacher shortage and a humming economy where people can find more lucrative jobs.

Amid literacy crisis, Michigan’s school librarians have all but disappeared

August 14, 2019 | Koby Levin

Michigan ranks 47th nationwide in school librarians per pupil. Legislation in Lansing proposes that each school have at least one.  

Michigan superintendent: Need more career tech, teachers, mental health care

August 13, 2019 | Ron French

Michael Rice steps into Michigan’s top education role with a list of clear initiatives he says will improve academics, and students’ lives.