Michigan’s student achievement is below average, whether measured against other states, or on our state assessments. Our 4th and 8th grade students rank 32nd through 42nd in the country for English language arts and math on The Nation’s Report Card. December’s release of M-STEP results reveal low achievement across all incomes and geographic locations. Like previous MEAP scores, M-STEP shows a pervasive student outcome problem for middle-class white students. Our low minority student achievement scores are particularly disturbing. Many Michigan schools do not use quality research-based practices to raise student achievement. Our current system doesn’t encourage schools to implement better educational and governance practices.
Many taxpayers believe that our schools are underfunded and that we have the best student achievement possible given our investment. That doesn’t match the facts. By various rankings, Michigan individual taxpayer burden for our schools ranges from 22nd to 29th. But US Census data adjusted for per capita income places Michigan 9th highest for all sources of K-12 funding. Given our student achievement, it’s clear that our relatively high K-12 funding is not reaching the classroom, and the state’s school structure is not organized to best serve the needs of students.