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.


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.

In Benton Harbor schools, a lesson for – and about – Gretchen Whitmer

June 21, 2019 | Ron French

Bold or reckless? Confounding or strategic? Whitmer’s surprise recommendation to close Benton Harbor High School offers clues about her governing style.

Michigan Teacher of the Year: Bring teachers into reform talks

June 21, 2019 | Magdalena Mihaylova

Cara Lougheed, an English and history teacher from Rochester Hills,  says she’s skeptical of school rating systems yet understands the desire among parents to evaluate schools in their community.

As deadline passes, Benton Harbor and state negotiate fate of high school

June 14, 2019 | Ron French

Friday was supposed to be the day Benton Harbor learned if its high school would remain open. Instead, the district and Michigan officials may still be seeking a resolution other than dissolving the district.  

Whitmer faces some backlash over Benton Harbor High closing

June 11, 2019 | Magdalena Mihaylova, Ron French

The governor is getting pushback from city activists. Meanwhile, it appears the administration may be able to dissolve the district without help from the Legislature if local officials balk at closing the high school.  

Five years in, Michigan passes social studies standards as conservatives fume

June 11, 2019 | Ron French

With a few last tweaks (adding the Ten Commandments and a reference to sturgeon), Michigan’s controversial social studies standards are approved by a Democratic-leaning state education board  

Albion lost its high school; students did better. Is Benton Harbor next?

June 11, 2019 | Ron French

The anguish Benton Harbor is undergoing now was felt by Albion residents six years ago. Today, Albion students, attending a high school 13 miles away, are graduating at a higher clip.