Education
11:14 am
Thu January 13, 2011

Report: Michigan has inflated idea of school quality

A new report out today paints a grim picture of Michigan’s schools.

Education Trust-Midwest says students in Michigan’s schools are not doing as well as test scores suggest, and the state’s education problems reach far beyond Detroit.

“We are far from a leader in education right now. Though glowing reports from state education leaders regularly inform us that the vast majority of our children (around 80 percent in elementary and middle schools) are meeting state standards, performance plummets when those students take the more rigorous national examinations.”

The report goes on to cite what it calls Michigan’s inflated standardized test scores (you can see some of the charts in the slide show above).

Its author, Amber Arellano, a former Detroit Free Press education reporter and Detroit News editorial board writer, says people tend to think of Detroit as the only school district in the state with major problems:

“Michigan really has a statewide education problem. This isn’t just about Detroit kids. It’s not just about African American kids. It’s about white kids, it’s about brown kids, it’s about black kids. It’s really about kids all over the state.”

Arellano says it might surprise people to know that students in other districts – including Flint, Lansing, Pontiac, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo – have all registered lower proficiency rates than their Detroit counterparts.

And she says the picture is not much rosier for white kids from high-income families:

“If we compare our higher-income students in Michigan to higher-income students in other states, there are more than 30 states in the country that are doing a better job at educating higher-income kids.”

The Education Trust-Midwest report singles out one school that’s defying expectations.

You can listen to my radio report here to find out what that school is doing right: