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.

My school’s great, it’s Detroit that’s failing – and other myths

Detroit, Flint and other poor, mostly African-American school districts get the bulk of the blame for the state’s declining test scores. But the latest research shows Michigan students of all stripes are falling behind their peers nationally – yes, even white, middle-class students. A Bridge Special Report.

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Funding to improve teacher prep passes House subcommittee

A state push to improve teacher performance was hampered by testing delays. Bridge pointed out a minor fix that would speed testing. On Tuesday, that fix passed a hurdle in the state House

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13 MILES TO MARSHALL: Tough times lead very different high schools to merge (chapter 1)

When money ran out at Albion High, the district shipped students to rival Marshall High School. What happens when poor, African-American students are bused to an affluent, nearly all-white high school? The answer may surprise you.

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13 MILES TO MARSHALL: Hard classes and difficult lessons for Albion teens (chapter 2)

With wariness among students from both towns, Albion teens enter classrooms very different from their old school. ‘They can’t know what they haven’t been taught.’

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13 MILES TO MARSHALL: Are Albion and Marshall a model for other troubled districts? (chapter 3)

Two superintendents face down ‘racist’ concerns from parents in their communities, and begin to see the promise of their stand.

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13 MILES TO MARSHALL: For Albion students, a long day, but ‘worth it’ (chapter 4)

Seven months later, there is a growing optimism among students despite academic struggle. And the districts’ finances begin to grow.

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School’s not out for summer if policymakers get their way

Year-round school is suddenly the hot new education reform movement in Lansing. Bridge wrote about a wildly popular year-round district in Michigan’s Thumb last fall.

Now bipartisan support for year-round schools is growing in the legislature.

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Bill sponsor says year-round schools will prove popular

The devil is always in the details, but year-round bill sponsor Andy Schor, D-Lansing, says the pilot program spearheaded by him and Gov. Rick Snyder will ultimately win support from parents, students, and teachers.

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Snow Wars: Schools struggle to meet required days of instruction

State education leaders are facing off against some districts and administrators who are balking at adding school days in June to account for a flurry of snow days this winter.

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Snow closes the classroom, but the gym stays open

School districts debate the wisdom of closing schools on snow days while allowing basketball games and other activities to take place at night.

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Michigan teachers are under the microscope

Bipartisan measure would tie part of a teacher’s evaluation to student growth on standardized tests. Implementing the new assessments would cost millions but backers say it will improve learning by giving teachers the training and support they need to get better.

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Teacher evaluation bill meant to help, not punish, co-sponsor says

Rep. Adam Zemke says new statewide teacher evaluation legislation will help students by improving teachers’ classroom performance.

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Michigan’s most overachieving schools: is your school an Academic State Champ?

One is a rural northern Michigan school district receiving the minimum state funding per student. Another is nestled in a wealthy suburban enclave populated with professors and physicians. Several more are charter schools serving low-income students of Middle-Eastern backgrounds. All are among […]

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Academic state champs: Top 10 lists

What are the top 10 charter schools in the state? The top 10 affluent school districts? What schools get the most academic achievement from their fourth-graders? The winners, ranging from small rural districts to urban charter schools, are the state’s best at […]

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Searchable Database: Academic State Champs

Fifty-four Michigan public school districts and charters were named 2013 Academic State Champions. Winners represented the top 10 percent of districts and charters in a database created by Bridge Magazine and Public Sector Consultants that used test scores and socioeconomic status to […]

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How Michigan’s colleges and universities rank on tough new teacher certification tests

Teacher prep programs at Michigan colleges and universities are scrambling to adjust to the state’s beefed-up teacher readiness exam, first given this past fall, that rated only a quarter of aspiring teachers ready for the classroom. The panic is being felt from […]

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Outdated spending cap keeps state from screening out less-qualified teachers

Comparison of teacher certification costs by state Lower costs, simpler tests – Michigan charges less for teacher certification tests than surrounding states. Lower fees mean Michigan has less money to pay for tests rigorous enough to screen out less-prepared aspiring teachers. State […]

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‘Zero tolerance’ school reforms hit resistance in Michigan

Eighteen months after state education leaders urged reforms to “zero-tolerance” discipline policies, an analysis of two large Michigan school districts found that they still impose disproportionate numbers of suspensions and expulsions on minority students. And while some districts have installed measures to […]

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