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.

Ways to Connect

family on playground
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

The 2019 school year is well underway…but Michigan superintendents are still waiting for state lawmakers to pass a final education budget. 


Michigan Capital

Michigan lawmakers may be moving closer to a final K-12 education budget. 


three people at ribbon cutting
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

A newly renovated performing arts school in Lansing is back open for business. 



school classroom
File Photo / WKAR-MSU

Many Michigan teachers are returning from the Labor Day weekend with some labor issues of their own. 


chairs and desks
WKAR File Photo

Michigan’s third graders showed slight improvement in their reading scores in the 2018 school year.  However, the gains are not enough to stave off criticism of the state’s early literacy efforts.


WKAR File Photo

Thousands of Michigan schools are starting a new year under a cloud of uncertainty as they wait for state lawmakers to hammer out the final K-12 education budget. 


Pixabay Creative Commons

Michigan is starting a new school year with an old problem.  The state is in the midst of a chronic teacher shortage.  A report released earlier this year by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan finds  enrollment in post-secondary teacher preparation programs has fallen by two-thirds – 66 percent – since 2008.  The crisis is forcing schools to dig deeper to fill their classrooms.


yellow school bus
flickr/Those Guys 119

New research from Michigan State University finds between 2% and 5% of third-graders would be held back if the state's early literacy law was in effect.

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.