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.

School of choice, or a revolving door?

A Michigan policy allowing families to pick a school outside their home district for their kids to attend is wildly popular. But a first-of-its-kind study raises questions about who it helps – and who it might be hurting.

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Worried about Michigan’s switch to the SAT? Six reasons to calm down

Free, online prep and fee waivers should help relieve anxiety over Michigan’s new college admission test

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How one West Michigan school district is closing reading gaps for poor, Hispanic students

Through focused early literacy efforts, the West Ottawa School District is taking children with little to no English-language skills and preparing them to compete with white, more affluent peers.

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Rich school, poor school, and the challenges that separate them

Waukazoo Elementary draws students from affluent lake homes. Pine Creek kids come from Holland’s poorest neighborhoods. In ways large and small, Waukazoo kids benefit from their families’ extra income.

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Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program ‘significantly’ increases college grad rates, study finds

Ten years after the launch of the nationally lauded program, researchers can say for the first time that the money was well spent, with many more Kalamazoo students earning college degrees than would have without the scholarship.

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Does Kalamazoo Promise success build case for more state scholarship funding?

Make college cheap enough, and more people graduate. Who knew?

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Study offers financial, policy road map for Michigan education reform

A blunt new report lists ways to fix Michigan schools. Will anyone listen?

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One Dearborn school soars. Another stumbles. Why?

A test result is a snapshot, and in Dearborn, one elementary school came out with a surprisingly better portrait than another in the critical milestone of third-grade reading. Why? Nobody seems to know.

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Grand Rapids cites the limits of state rankings to explain school gaps

Why do some low-income elementary schools in Grand Rapids perform better than others? Educators in Grand Rapids say that ranking formulas often do not reflect critical differences between seemingly similar schools.

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One teacher, 25 kids and the enormous challenge of turning around Detroit schools (Chapter 1)

The state is in the midst of yet another fix for Detroit’s troubled schools. So this spring, Bridge spent time in William Weir’s social studies classroom to get a sense for what works, and what doesn’t, for one Detroit teacher.

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One teacher, 25 kids: For struggling students, a push to ‘dream bigger’ (Chapter 2)

For third- and fourth-graders with limited reading skills, a teacher must take creative measures to make lessons stick.

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One teacher, 25 kids: ‘Can I sleep at night?’ (Chapter 3)

Budget deficits in Detroit mean even larger class sizes come this fall. Will Mr. Weir meet the challenge for his young students?

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How state’s new early childhood funding will help boost student learning

More than $30 million has been allocated for early reading initiatives in the 2016 state education budget. Many of the initiatives, intended to boost Michigan’s third-grade reading rates, followed Bridge reporting on the benefits of early investment in vulnerable children.

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In paychecks, Michigan women have a long way to go, baby

Women in full-time jobs earn on average three-fourths the pay as men in Michigan, a wider margin than most of the nation. While critics question the scale of the gap, policymakers debate ways to close it.

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Hispanic women struggle with just over half the pay of men

Hispanic women in Michigan earn barely half the income of non-Hispanic white males.

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How a single, powerful senator killed serious reform of teacher evaluation

A bill to set rigorous statewide standards for evaluating teachers was backed by Republicans and Democrats, as well as the governor. Standing in their way: state Sen. Phil Pavlov, who has his own ideas about what’s best for teachers.

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Ball Q&A: Michigan kids ‘will lose’ with weak teacher evaluation bill

UM education dean Deborah Loewenberg Ball slams the Legislature’s latest bill to rate teachers. She urges the state to instead adopt her panel’s recommendations, which she said would be the nation’s gold standard for raising classroom performance.

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One high school’s miracle revival. And what may kill it.

Hazel Park High’s academic turnaround plan transformed it from one of the state’s worst high schools to one of the best in just two years. Will district finances halt its success?

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