News and analysis from The Center for Michigan •
©2015 Bridge Michigan. All Rights Reserved. • Join us online at

Original article URL:

Talent & education

Who are the state academic champs?

Welcome to the real state high school playoffs.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sports, and I have great admiration for the dedication and skill of high school athletes. The lessons they learn in leadership, teamwork and persistence are lessons they can use long after they hang up their helmets.
But if Michigan is going to turn its economy around, it’s not going to be (with all due respect to the resurgent Detroit Lions) on the football field. Instead, it’s going to be in the classroom.
Busloads of fans will head to Ford Field for the state high school football championships in a few weeks. But you won’t see cheerleaders rooting for the state champions of fourth-grade reading (as measured by MEAP scores); the seniors with the highest rate of graduation in Michigan won’t get their team picture in the newspaper; the whiz kids from a rural district who outscored every other set of 8th graders in science MEAP scores won’t be talked about years from now in the local diner.
That needs to change.
Over the next three weeks, Bridge Magazine will be holding a State Academic Championship. Using a data base created by Bridge with the assistance of Citizens Research Council, we will name state champions in eight academic categories: College readiness (ACT proficiency); graduation rate, 8th grade math, 8th grade science, 8th grade reading, 4th grade math, 4th grade reading and 4th grade writing.
Just like in high school football and basketball, we’ve split the state’s schools into divisions, based on community type and socioeconomic status. This week, we’ve announced the quarterfinals – the top eight school districts in each academic category and each division. Check out the list – 213 school districts across the state made it to the academic playoffs, many of them in more than one category.
Next week, Bridge will announce the Academic Final Four, complete with brackets. And on Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, Bridge will announce state champions.
Some of those champions will surprise you. Some will inspire you. All deserve praise.
Those academic state champion schools offer lessons for a state working to reinvent itself – a reinvention that will be based more on spiral notebooks than spiral passes.

1 comment from a Bridge reader.Add mine!

  1. Sue Steinhagen

    Until the economic crunch, the Detroit papers published a section every year on the academic stars, one from each school in Michigan. I’m sure it was a laborious task but I read it thoroughly. Good to see that you are producing info that will be spread all around the state. Thanks for taking this project on!

Leave your comment...

Your email address will not be published.

Currently on Bridge

Todd Courser hits Lansing like a cannonball

Will we be better off if Proposal 1 passes? Former treasurer says yes

An Earth Day pitch: When you hang up the phone for good, toss it the right way

Michigan’s roads affect everyone, so a 'yes' vote on Proposal 1 makes sense

‘Diplomacy Begins Here’ conference aims to illuminate international relations

What NOT to post on Facebook: Jokes about prison rape, when you’re in charge of preventing prison rape

A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

Similar accounts in suit over alleged teen prison rapes pose challenge to state's defense

‘New fish’ ‒ One teen inmate’s account of alleged sexual assault

Early learning summit in June could impact Michigan’s children

Money Smart Week: Be penny wise, and pound savvier

Plan B or no Plan B, here’s what happens if road proposal fails

The political tale behind the selling of Proposal 1

A Bridge primer: Untangling the pothole promise of Proposal 1

Who supports, and opposes, Proposal 1

Let's rebuild Michigan through its greatest asset: its water

Could a public boarding school model work in Detroit?

Coalition supporting Detroit schools a step in the city’s road back

Chasing fads? Today’s schools are struggling too much for that

For one Michigan legislative staffer, an hour or two in the spotlight

A cull is a kill, and it’s an overreaction to deer ‘problem’

Lack of college guidance keeps poor and rural students from applying

Those who can, do – and get their hands ‘dirty’ in the process

For one Detroit mom, a complicated path to employment

Detroit by the numbers – the truth about poverty

Michigan should require dental screening for all children entering kindergarten

Where in the world is the Center for Michigan?

After two years, hard to call ACA anything but a success

Bridge’s Academic State Champs emphasizes all the wrong measurements

A graying population poses challenges for Up North counties

Up North, isolation impedes health care for seniors

Enbridge oil pipes and the Straits of Mackinac: Too risky to ignore

Not bigger government, but better services when Community Health and Human Services merge

Two Michigans gaze across a widening gap

In northern counties, workers and business find each other lacking

Hidden poverty stalks a Pure Michigan setting

Postcard: How a git-’er-done spirit helps one rural school district

Postcard: When elk is for dinner

Postcard: Luxe life at Bay Harbor reflects changing economy

Postcard: A roof and a bed

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.