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.


Fewer Michigan college students want to be teachers. That’s a problem.

October 17, 2019 | Ron French

Declining enrollment in teacher prep programs means bigger teacher shortages, which leads to more uncertified teachers leading Michigan classrooms.

Rich districts profit by sending substitutes to Michigan private schools

October 10, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan’s exploding use of long-term substitute teachers isn’t confined only to charter and poor schools. Richer districts also profit through a program that allows them to send uncertified teachers to private schools.

Who’s leading classes? Uncertified teachers for thousands of Michigan kids

October 10, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

New data show permits for long-term substitute teachers are on pace to equal or surpass last year in Michigan, continuing a surge in the use of lower-paid teachers who can have as little as two years’ education.

Check to see how many long-term subs are in your Michigan school

October 10, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

The use of long-term substitute teachers – who may have as little as two years of college – has soared in Michigan. Use this database to search how many are in your school so far this academic year.

Tiny school districts to Lansing: Stop acting like ‘middle-schoolers’

October 7, 2019 | Ron French

Superintendents in some of Michigan’s most isolated districts blame Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Repubican leaders for a budget fight that they say threatens their future and treats students like political pawns.

Fewer students, tepid state funding roil Michigan public universities

October 7, 2019 | Ron French

Meager funding, lower birth rates and a skeptical public are forcing several Michigan universities to adjust to a world with fewer degree options, larger classes and tighter budgets.

Majority of Michigan public schools started school year short on teachers

September 26, 2019 | Ron French

A survey of superintendents confirms a teacher shortage forcing schools to turn to less-qualified long-term substitutes.

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.