Letter: There’s no doubt Michigan has education crisis

Richard Zeile, co-president of the State Board of Education of Michigan, said “no” in a Sept. 14 column, “Is there an education crisis in Michigan?” Unfortunately, what I have observed in my own research and that of many others is that Michigan’s academic stagnation — and decline in comparison to the rest of the nation — is a real and direct threat to our state and our children’s futures.

The column suggested that Michigan’s performance on the NAEP is just below average, citing that Michigan’s scores are “5 points or less from the mean.” But five points on a single NAEP assessment translates to about a half-year of learning. In 4th grade reading and math and 8th grade math, Michigan students performed significantly below the national public average in 2015, the most recent year of data. The three- to five-point difference between our students’ average scores and the nation’s means Michigan students have learned 30 to 50 percent less of a year’s worth of content than students on average nationally.

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