PRESS RELEASE: Flat test scores highlight urgent need for research on school financing

The latest national comparison of school test scores could reveal challenges with the way we fund schools in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Flat test scores by Michigan students on a national test highlight the pressing need for a new, comprehensive look at how we fund Michigan’s public schools so all students can achieve and succeed, regardless of their circumstances, said a broad-based group of Michigan business and education experts.

The Detroit News reported on Feb. 20 that Michigan students had flat scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). According to the article, students are performing about as well as they did in 2003 when compared to their peers in other states.

“The report highlights the need for a comprehensive analysis of school funding that creates a roadmap for preparing all students for jobs and success, regardless of their income, location or other circumstances,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent and member of the School Finance Research Collaborative. “We must reexamine our approach to funding our schools so all students can achieve and succeed, and that’s why this research is so important.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is bringing together top industry experts to reexamine how Michigan’s schools are funded in order to fully prepare all students for college and careers. The Collaborative is planning to produce a school adequacy study using multiple methodologies that will provide policymakers with the best, most complete and most accurate information on what it truly costs to educate our students.

“These test scores should be a warning sign that more research is needed to determine how we can best prepare students for jobs, technical education and college,” said Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, and a Collaborative member. “We need to
recruit top-notch talent to grow our businesses and fill the cutting-edge jobs of tomorrow, and our schools play a key role in that.”

The School Finance Research Collaborative is a broad-based group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business leaders and education experts from Metro Detroit to the U.P., who agree it’s time to change the way Michigan’s schools are funded.


For media inquiries, contact Christopher Behnan, Byrum & Fisk Communications, at (517) 333-1606, ext. 1