Timing is everything. Shortly after the West Michigan Policy Forum’s conference calling on state leaders to fix Michigan’s failing K-12 education system we received national test scores for Michigan students: and it’s not good. National Assessment of Educational Progress data shows that Michigan fourth graders’ reading and math proficiency declined. This is despite increased funding across the state.
What’s to blame? Many, including USA Today columnist Ingrid Jacques, highlighted the NAEP’s latest test scores and that schools closed the longest during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic had some of the most significant declines. This includes the biggest school district in Michigan, Detroit Public Schools Community District. These are kids that can’t afford to fall behind – and they’re not just trailing the state but they’re nearly last in the nation.
It’s time to accept that this isn’t a problem of funding, it’s deeper than that. Let’s start by enforcing A-F grading, a law that has been since passed in 2018. Beyond that, let’s look at real solutions that offer parents and kids education choices. It’s clear the current system is broken – let’s fix it.
Graph and table credit: Mackinac Center for Public Policy