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Special Reports

Recent Special Reports

More jobs, less pay (May 2015)
The news that Michigan’s unemployment rate fell below 6 percent in February rose like a beacon across the state. It was the lowest it had been in 14 years and signaled that Michigan is no longer among states with the worst unemployment; a burden the state carried for much of the past decade. That’s the good news about Michigan’s rebound from the Great Recession. The bad news is that the wages paid by those jobs have not kept pace.

Why college costs so much (February 2015)
Parents of today’s college students commonly graduated college with no debt, often able to pay tuition bills by delivering pizzas on weekends. That’s virtually impossible today.

Poverty in Paradise (March 2015)
On the shores of two Great Lakes, two Michigans are pulling away from one another. For one, graceful summer homes rise on waterfronts, equipped with boats, tubes and toys. For the other, life is lived in trailers on back roads, or small houses tucked into the woods. One comes north in May and enjoys a summer of festivals, fun and restaurant dining. The other Michigan lives here year-round and waits tables or changes hotel beds. One is, like the state at large, recovering from the recession and building wealth. The other slips deeper into, or closer to, poverty.

Paying for children, now or later (March 2015)
The single most taxpayer-friendly policy that Michigan can pursue may be investing in proven early childhood programs to help the state’s estimated 260,000 at-risk kids. The up-front costs may be steep, but the long-term financial savings for Michigan will be enormous.

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.

2014 academic state champs (February 2015)
Seventy-three Michigan school districts earned top marks from Bridge Magazine as 2014 Academic State Champs. The winners – comprising the top 5 percent of 507 school districts across Michigan – include tiny rural districts and large metro ones, impoverished districts and the more affluent, charter schools and traditional public schools.

A degree of debt (January 2015)
The high cost of higher education, and what Michigan can do about it

Detroit Journalism Cooperative (ongoing)
Bridge Magazine is convening partner for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC), comprised of five nonprofit media outlets focused on the city’s future after bankruptcy. The group includes Michigan Radio,WDET, Detroit Public Television and New Michigan Media. Support for the DJC comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation. Special reports in the series includes “Michigan’s Broken Legacy” and “Benchmark Detroit.”

Archived Special Reports

The smartest kids in the nation (September 2014)
Michigan Speaks: A road map for Lansing (May 2014)
Michigan’s troubled schools (May 2014)
Rough road ahead: Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure (May 2014)
13 Miles to Marshall (March 2014)
2013 Academic State Champs (January 2014)
Michigan’s Christmas carol (December 2013)
Michigan water report (October 2013)
Inside the rise of Michigan’s tea party (October 2013)
Vanishing middle class (October 2013)
Building a better teacher (September 2013)
School choice (June 2013)
City stress (May 2013)
Great Michigan talent search (March 2013)
2012 Michigan Scorecard (May 2012)
Economic life in Michigan (August 2011)

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