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.


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.

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.

New Michigan school superintendent: Keep Benton Harbor High open

August 8, 2019 | Ron French

With the new state school superintendent stating firmly he wants the troubled high school to remain open, pressure may build on Michigan officials to find a way to resolve issues with Benton Harbor.

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.

Expert: Michigan’s reliance on long-term subs ‘should concern all of us’

August 8, 2019 | Ron French

University of Michigan School of Education dean Elizabeth Birr Moje says Michigan risks widening achievement gaps between poor and more affluent students through the increased use of untrained teachers.

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.

An Up North charter is 44 percent subs. You can’t tell difference, supt. says

August 7, 2019 | Ron French

At the fast-growing Charlton Heston Academy in St. Helen, nearly half of classrooms were staffed by uncertified, long-term substitutes last year. Superintendent says it’s not ideal, but charter can’t attract certified teachers.

How a wedding planner became an uncertified Michigan teacher for $15 an hour

August 7, 2019 | Ron French

One was a wedding planner. The other, an assistant basketball coach. Their stories say a lot about how Michigan increasingly is using long-term substitutes, full-time teachers with no training in education to lead classrooms.

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.

Being poor on rich U-M campus still a struggle as school broadens reach

August 1, 2019 | Alex Harring, Sammy Sussman

The University of Michigan is seeing gains since offering free tuition to low-income families. But for many students, the class divide remains daunting once they step foot on one of the nation’s richest campuses. 

As Michigan schools struggle, Democrats and Republicans try...talking

July 26, 2019 | Ron French

How partisan are Michigan schools? Legislators say the parties don’t even use the same vocabulary on education. But an influx of educators just elected to the House and Senate wants to change that.

Benton Harbor crisis a tipping point for Gretchen Whitmer, school takeovers

July 22, 2019 | Koby Levin

The fate of Benton Harbor schools could foreshadow the fate of other Michigan school districts facing high debt and low student achievement

Students to University of Michigan: Stop funding Detroit evictions

July 19, 2019 | Magdalena Mihaylova

A group of students petitioned the Board of Regents to cut a $30 million investment from the school’s endowment fund to a firm whose work in Detroit has led to some housing evictions.

U-M’s Schlissel: ‘Our children will suffer’ because of how we treat higher education today

July 12, 2019 | Ron French

The University of Michigan president speaks out on topics ranging from financial aid to road funding in an interview with Bridge Magazine.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Benton Harbor reach tentative deal to save high school

June 26, 2019 | Ron French

The agreement would allow the impoverished community to keep its high school if the school district improves academic performance and pays down debt.