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

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.  


mother and son
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Every parent wants their child to learn how to read.  It’s a skill that takes patience, practice and a lot of time.  But when time slips from a parent’s grasp, the daily reading session can easily slip their mind.


Now, educators in Ingham County have developed a new way to help local families keep track of their kids’ literacy skills day by day.


school classroom
Wokandapix / Pixabay

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to boost K-12 education spending by more than $500 million is getting a mixed reception in Michigan.  Educators welcome the idea of extra funding, but GOP lawmakers are wary of approving a big tax hike to pay for the increase. 


teacher and students
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Educators in Michigan are using many strategies to ensure all their students become strong readers.  In Mason, the district employs a “literacy coach” in each of its three elementary schools.  They provide on-site training and assistance to classroom teachers.


Michigan Capitol
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will deliver her first State of the State address on Tuesday.  It’s a moment for her to highlight ongoing accomplishments in Michigan, and to lay out her formal legislative agenda.

Whitmer campaigned on a promise to stop raids on the K-12 School Aid Fund.  Now, educators are watching to see if the governor will deliver.   

boy at computer
flickr/Kristine Full

Most children today have some access to technology from an early age.  While many schools teach digital skills, Michigan has no formal standards for teaching computer science.  Now, the Michigan Department of Education is gathering public input on a proposed set of K-12 computer science standards.  


people in hall
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Michigan is three years into a decade-long strategy to improve its schools.  The plan values the notion that parents should have choices beyond traditional public schools.  Twenty-five years ago, Michigan took a key step towards ensuring that sense of choice.  



governor and teachers
Kevin Lavery / WKAR/MSU

The Michigan Department of Education says a controversial new school accountability law will not improve student achievement.  


The Michigan State Board of Education holds its first meeting of the year Tuesday in Lansing.

Capital building photo
WKAR File Photo

Michigan schools will see fewer dollars in 2019 under legislation that passed out of the lame duck legislature early Friday morning.


policeman in cafeteria
Kevin Lavery / WKAR/MSU

After months of work, the Michigan School Safety Task Force has presented a set of recommendations to Governor Rick Snyder.  In April, the governor directed the group to review and modify best practices that school districts can use to protect their students and staff.  One goal of the task force is to create a standard curriculum for training school resource officers.


school and flag
Kevin Lavery / WKAR/MSU

The record-breaking turnout of the 2018 midterm election is heading for the history books.  For most civics and government teachers, talking to their students about the outcome of an election is a normal part of classroom life.  But for some educators, it’s an uncomfortable topic.