Making the Grade in Michigan

Listen Tuesdays at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM

According to the Kids Count report of April 2018, 56% of third graders in Michigan are not proficient in English Language Arts. At the same time, some new public school teachers in Michigan are leaving the classroom because they do not earn enough money for a decent living. Virtual and charter schools are on the rise in Michigan. And in some communities there are breakthroughs in raising better readers.

Covering education in Michigan is complex, but WKAR is committed to reporting on the problems, searching for solutions, and holding leaders accountable.

Listen for Making The Grade in Michigan with WKAR education reporter Kevin Lavery every Tuesday at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM's Morning Edition.

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Behind "Making the Grade in Michigan"

May 30, 2019
Robin Pizzo

Last month, WKAR received a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for its series Making the Grade in Michigan.

women at computer
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Computer science is one of the nation’s fastest growing industries.  Technology evolves quickly, and students must have the skills to navigate an increasingly digital workforce.  With that in mind, the Michigan State Board of Education is expected to approve the state’s first set of K-12 computer science standards on Tuesday.


voting buttons

Voters in Okemos approved a nearly $25 million school bond issue on Tuesday, but a similar attempt failed in Charlotte. 


voting buttons

Ingham County voters approved school district ballot proposals in Lansing and Mason in Tuesday’s election. 


smiling man
Courtesy / Kalamazoo Public Schools

Michigan has a new state school superintendent.

On Tuesday, the State Board of Education selected Michael Rice to oversee Michigan’s nearly 600 school districts.  Rice has served as superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools since 2007.

Rice competed against Ann Arbor superintendent Jeanice Swift and Wayne County RESA superintendent Randy Liepa for the job.

Charlotte High School photo
Courtesy photo / Charlotte Public Schools

On Tuesday, several mid-Michigan school districts will ask voters to approve local bond proposals.  


voting buttons

Tuesday is Election Day in mid-Michigan, and several school districts are seeking millage increases. 

two students
Courtesy / Mary Beth Tinker

An unlikely hero of the Civil Rights Era is coming to Lansing on Tuesday.  In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that students have a constitutional right to free speech. The case of Tinker vs. Des Moines all started when a 13-year-old girl was suspended from school.


Michigan Capitol Building
w.r. richards / WKAR-MSU

A school budget plan for the 2020 fiscal year is moving through the Michigan Senate. 


WKAR Public Media has been honored with a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Making the Grade in Michigan 2018. The series was named top News Series for Region 7 Small Market Radio.

two pinwheels
flickr/Jennifer Boyer

Child abuse and neglect in Michigan is rising at an alarming rate.


That’s the finding of a new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy.  The  trauma that accompanies abuse and neglect threatens a child’s emotional state in many ways…including their ability to focus in school.

board members
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

A controversial process to update Michigan’s K-12 social studies standards has cleared another hurdle.  The Michigan State Board of Education has approved a draft document that supporters say reflects a more inclusive civic worldview. 


supreme court


Should your children’s textbooks include civil rights and climate change?  Those questions may move forward when the Michigan State Board of Education reviews a draft set of revised social studies standards.  


chairs in classroom

It’s testing season again.  Every April, students take a variety of standardized tests to gauge their mastery of a range of subjects.  The most commonly used assessments in Michigan are the M-STEP, the SAT and the ACT.


school hallway
WKAR File Photo

A new survey from a coalition of business, civic and philanthropic groups finds most Michigan teachers are satisfied with their profession...but few would recommend their choice of career.