Special Reports

Welcome to our home for special reports, series, and long-form reporting. This is where you’ll find our best, most-in-depth work, including past reports from the Center for Michigan’s e-newsletter:

Bridge magazine series and long-form coverage
  • 13 miles to Marshall (March 2014)

    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.

  • 2013 Academic State Champs (January 2014)

    Bridge ranks every school district and charter in the state by how much their students overachieve or underachieve academically, based on their socioeconomic status. The results may surprise you.

  • A degree of debt (January 2015)

    The high cost of higher education, and what Michigan can do about it

  • Benchmark Detroit: Vital signs (January 2014)

    Once a thriving city and the center of the state’s economy, Detroit it is now mired in debt, many of its neighborhoods shattered. Bridge and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, are going to be measuring whether the work of Duggan, Orr and others is making a difference.

  • Building a better teacher (June 2014)

    If Michigan is going to improve student learning, it likely will start with teachers. But how is Michigan doing at the challenging work of building a better teacher?

  • City stress (August 2013)

    While the financial problems of Detroit have captured the headlines, dozens of Michigan communities may be on a course toward financial crises of their own. Bridge looks across the state at cities, sources of funding, and tough economic decisions.

  • Economic Life in Michigan (September 2011)

    Michigan's struggles in the first phase of the 21st century are well-known. The shuttered factory. The jobless breadwinner. The foreclosed home. Bridge Magazine looks beyond the anecdotes and into the data to study and report on exactly what happened in Michigan communities -- and what the results mean for rebuilding a state economy that shrank by $27 billion in 10 years.

  • Inside the rise of Michigan's Tea Party (October 2013)

    The power struggle inside Michigan’s capitol has shifted in the past three years. For generations, it was Democrat vs. Republican. Now, it’s often Tea Party versus Republican. And the soul of the GOP is at stake in the 2014 statewide elections and beyond.

  • Left Behind – rural Michigan’s dilemma (March 2015)

    In rural areas across the state, residents endure higher poverty, serious health and social ills, and little hope for the future.

  • Michigan speaks (May 2014)

    The citizens' agenda for the 2014 elections: The results of the Center for Michigan’s Community Conversations, polling and online conversation to reflect what Michigan residents want their lawmakers to focus on this year.

  • Michigan Water Report (October 2013)

    Award-winning environmental reporter Jeff Alexander examines the complex and often misunderstood science and legislation surrounding our greatest natural asset: Michigan water.

  • Michigan's broken legacy (November 2013)

    The long-term "legacy" debts that are crushing Detroit's finances are also looming over other Michigan cities. Should cities slash retirement benefits? Raise taxes? It's a crisis that is pitting retired municipal workers against city homeowners and businesses.

  • Michigan's Christmas Carol (December 2013)

    Want a job in the next decade? Get an education, or get in line for food stamps. Slow job growth is projected through 2023, with decreases in pay for low-skill jobs. To change that fate will require more investment – in schools and roads, for starters.

  • Michigan's troubled schools (May 2014)

    A year-long examination of Michigan’s declining educational fortunes and what steps lawmakers, schools and others can take to improve student performance, including the study and adoption of policies proven to work elsewhere. Inaction will only compound the crisis.

  • Michigan’s forgotten 4-year-olds (June 2014)

    Bridge Magazine presents a multi-part series exploring how 30,000 Michigan kids who qualify for free pre-school are not getting the education they need, due to inadequate state funding, logistical hurdles and poor coordination of services. Research shows that these children will get lower grades, drop out more frequently and earn less money over the course of their careers.

  • Rough Road Ahead (April 2014)

    Michigan’s roads and bridges are crumbling fast, but Lansing has been unable to adequately fund even stopgap repairs, much less invest in ways to actually improve the transportation system. Is more money needed, or more belt-tightening?

  • School choice (June 2013)

    As school choice has taken hold, Detroiters have voted with their feet. Five neighboring school districts now have at least 25 percent of their enrollment from Detroit. Another eight have at least 10 percent.As the Michigan Legislature continues to focus on yet more choice options, how has this huge choice experiment worked out in Metro Detroit?

  • The Great Michigan Talent Search (March 2013)

    Since 2011, Bridge has probed deeply into the intertwined issues of talent development, economic growth and education. We’ll continue to tell those stories in this space.

  • The Middle Class (October 2013)

    Michigan, once the embodiment of the American middle-class lifestyle, now reflects the growing difficulty to get ahead, or even stay in place. What does this mean for the state where that very demographic was born?

  • The Smartest Kids in the Nation (November 2014)

    Dozens of states have taken steps to raise student achievement in their public schools – dramatically improving student scores on national tests. In Michigan, progress has remained agonizingly, stubbornly flat. How did this happen?

The Center for Michigan long-form coverage

The Center for Michigan downloadable reports (Acrobat PDF files)

Most of these reports are Acrobat PDF files and may take a while to download on slower connections. Be sure you have software on your system that reads these files (many modern tablets and e-readers do.)