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New data shows how Michigan school districts compare to districts in top-performing states

April 12, 2024

This month, Launch Michigan, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reimagining Michigan’s public education system, released a dashboard with new data showing how Michigan school districts compare to similar districts in top-performing states in reading and math proficiency, graduation rate and other metrics. Prior to this, Michigan school districts could only be compared against each other.

Launch Michigan’s analysis shows that Michigan districts are underperforming their national comparison districts in important performance areas:

  • 7 out of 8 Michigan districts do worse than national comparison districts in math.
  • 70% of Michigan districts underperform in reading compared to similar districts in top-performing states.
  • 71% of Michigan districts underperform their national comparison districts in graduation rate.

Using publicly available data, Launch Michigan worked with AEM Corporation to create the data set and district comparison dashboard tool, which allows people to see how individual school districts in Michigan compare to similar districts in states with high education performance based on key characteristics like district size, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity demographics, language learners and students with disabilities, among others.

Michigan’s lag in performance didn’t happen overnight. Decades of band-aid fixes and a lack of investment led to Michigan falling behind most states – not due to lack of effort from educators, but from a broken system.

Since the passage of Proposal A in 1994, Michigan ranks dead last among states in total education revenue growth (Arsen, 2019) and 48th among the states in per pupil funding growth (Addonizio and Arsen, 2024).

A deeply rooted problem requires a systems-level change, which is why Launch Michigan is pushing for a stronger focus on career and college readiness and increased resources invested strategically, all with a focus on equity to ensure all students have the tools to learn and be successful.

Education is foundational to Michigan’s economic success and SBAM supports the Launch Michigan educational reform framework as a way to focus on skills needed to compete in today’s economy while also providing a quality and well-rounded education.


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