So Much Good News to Celebrate!

Hello, I’m Michael Rice, Michigan state
superintendent. Over the past several months, the Michigan
Department of Education has shared some positive trends about public education in Michigan. Michigan students, teachers, support staff,
and administrators are doing a lot of great work in Michigan’s public schools. This is important news and we need to help
share this news where and when we can – in particular, the improvements in: • National Assessment of Educational Progress
or NAEP reading ranks; • Great Start Readiness Program;
• Career and Technical Education; • Early/Middle College and Dual Enrollment;
and • Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate
programs. First, let’s look at NAEP, the only test
that compares states across the country in early literacy. As this graph shows, Michigan rose to 32nd
in the nation in fourth grade reading – up from 35th in 2017 and 41st in 2015. In eighth-grade reading, Michigan advanced
to 28th in the nation – up from 30th in 2017 and 31st in 2015. Second, Michigan’s public early childhood
education program for 4-year olds – – Great Start Readiness Program, or GSRP – – is tied
for the highest quality public pre-school program in the country with two other states. Additionally, in the last eight years, Michigan
increased by 129% the number of half-day GSRP slots and by 68% the number of GSRP students. Great progress in Great Start! That said, we still have work to do in the
area: only 55 % of those eligible in the state receive services, and we need to expand services
to ALL young people in need. Third, the number of Career and Technical
Education or CTE programs offered to Michigan students has grown 18 % over the past four
years, from 1,700 in 2014-2015 to over 2,000 in 2018-2019. As the amount of programming has increased,
the number of Michigan students completing career and technical education programs has
increased by over 75 % in the past four years, from 27,000 in 2014-2015 to 47,000 in 2018-2019. A CTE completer is a student who has successfully
completed courses covering all of the CTE program standards in a state-approved CTE
program, and has who taken the required technical skills assessment for that program. CTE student enrollment grew to 110,000 students
in 2018-2019, 23 % of the state’s high school students. Fourth, Early/Middle College availability
and interest for students and schools in the state has increased. Early/Middle College programs allow students
to earn college credentials – – certificates of achievement, certificates or associated
degrees – – while still in high school. The number of Early/Middle College programs
in Michigan has increased from 67 in the 2014-2015 school year to 142 during the 2018-2019 school
year, a four-year increase of 112 %. Early/Middle College student enrollment in
Michigan has risen from 6,485 students in the 2014-2015 school year to 13,065 students
during the 2018-2019 school year, a four-year increase of 101 %. On average, students earn 40 college credits
through their participation in an Early/Middle College program. Fifth, the number of Michigan students taking
dual enrollment classes, where students take individual college courses while still attending
high school, has risen from 23,000 students in the 2014-2015 school year to over 28,000
in the 2017-2018 school year. Last year, students earned an average of 14-15
college credits from dual enrollment classes that can be transferred to a college or university. Sixth, there has been an 18% increase in the
number of Michigan students enrolling in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, from 67,000 in 2014-2015
to 79,000 in 2018-2019. Historically underrepresented groups enrolling
in AP courses grew significantly: • Hispanic/Latino by 63%;
• economically disadvantaged by 39%; and • African American/Two or More Races by
14%. Seventh, there has been a 78% increase in
the number of students enrolled in International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, from 7,000 in
the 2014-2015 school year to 12,000 in 2018-2019. This increase includes historically underrepresented
groups, which grew substantially: • special needs students by 201%;
• economically disadvantaged by 111%; • Hispanic/Latino by 99%; and
• African American/Two or More Races by 83%. [PAUSE] All of this growth is exciting and encouraging
as Michigan students and educators continue to build on our educational progress. We should be aware and proud of the improvements
in public education in Michigan, especially in light of inadequate and inequitable school
funding in the state, as well as a significant teacher shortage. Can we do better? – – No question, and we have a responsibility
to do so – – but we need to speak up about the gains we’ve made and the encouraging
growth as we continue to build on our educational progress. I am urging you to share this exciting news
and, more importantly, your own local progress and points of pride within your communities. Thank you for helping make Michigan public
schools great for our children!

About the author


  1. Check out my dedication with increasing literacy in the urban community. Visit to learn more about my mission both locally and globally with literacy.

  2. Michigan is still one of 4 states that don't have laws that protect children with Dyslexia. When you are you going to stop ignoring the 800lb. gorilla in the room and do something about it? Reading Recovery, LLI, Fountas & Pinnell "Whole Word" reading concept does absolutely nothing for children who are dyslexic and puts them further behind in school. #saydyslexia

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