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Report: Michigan is Failing in Educational Outcomes

Michigan is ranked 40th among states for educational outcomes in the 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book. (Pixabay)
Michigan is ranked 40th among states for educational outcomes in the 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book. (Pixabay)
June 21, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – While the overall well-being of Michigan kids is improving, a new report says children are falling behind when it comes to education.

Michigan dropped to 10th-worst nationally for education in the 2016 Kids Count Data Book, released today.

Kids Count Michigan Project Director Alicia Guevara Warren said state leaders are working to improve educational outcomes, with initiatives like preschool for four-year-olds, but she contends more needs to be done - and at an earlier age.

"A lot goes on in those first years of development before they get into four-year-old preschool," she explained. "So, we need to be focused in on other early childhood services, like three-year-old preschool, or services for kids that identify developmental delays early on."

The report found more than half of young children in Michigan are not in preschool, about 70 percent of fourth-graders are not proficient in reading, and just as many eighth-graders are not proficient in math.

In overall child well-being, Michigan ranked 31st, up from 33rd in 2015.

Guevara Warren cited families' economic well-being as another concern, with 23 percent of Michigan kids living in poverty and children of color more likely to live in high-poverty areas.

She noted that better opportunities for these children are possible when their parents' education and economic standing is improved.

"If we don't start addressing things like strengthening our communities and reducing poverty, ensuring that parents have access to the types of jobs that are going to provide those family-supporting wages, then we aren't necessarily going to see the outcomes we're hoping for," she said. "And we will continue to slide."

The bright spot in the report is improved health among children, with Michigan jumping to 14th nationally - from 23rd in 2015.

The report is posted on the websites of the Michigan League for Public Policy and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI