Alarm bells needed II

We finished our last post this way: The bottom line: the Massachusetts approach has worked, Michigan’s hasn’t. Seems like its time for Michigan to learn from the state with the highest student achievement in the country.

In this post lets look at the data. It comes from the just released 2015 NAEP, the nation’s report card which provides apples-to-apples data for states on rigorous 4th and 8th grade math and reading tests. We are going to look at the Massachusetts and Michigan results for all students; students eligible for free and reduced lunch (a measure of children growing up in low income households); and for those not eligible for free and reduced lunch. This data allows us to take off the table the excuse that Michigan’s under-performance is we have far more poor kids. Of those students tested 42% in Massachusetts were free and reduced lunch eligible in Michigan it was 47%.

Lets start with all students. The proficiency rate in 4th grade math in Michigan is 34% in Massachusetts its 54%. In 8th grade math its Michigan 29%, Massachusetts 51%. In 4th grade reading 29% compared to 49%. In 8th grade reading 32% compared to 45%.

For students eligible for free and reduced lunch: The proficiency rate in 4th grade math in Michigan is 17% in Massachusetts its 31%. In 8th grade math its Michigan 14%, Massachusetts 31%. In 4th grade reading 16% compared to 29%. In 8th grade reading 18% compared to 28%.

Finally for students eligible for free and reduced lunch: The proficiency rate in 4th grade math in Michigan is 49% in Massachusetts its 71%. In 8th grade math its Michigan 41%, Massachusetts 66%. In 4th grade reading 40% compared to 65%. In 8th grade reading 43% compared to 59%.

The data are clear: Michigan has an all kids problem, a poor kids problem and a non poor kids problem. In each subject area and in each grade and in each demographic group Michigan students are substantially less prepared than students in a leading edge state like Massachusetts.

The data are also clear: the country has a poor kids problem. The proficiency level of students from households eligible for free and reduced lunch are way too low and the gap between those from eligible and non eligible households is way too large in both a leading edge state like Massachusetts and a laggard like Michigan.

Both here in Michigan and across the country its time for alarm bells to go off among those with clout. We need business and political leadership particularly to get serious about improving student outcomes.

 

 

 

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Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.

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