Not as Good as You Think: Michigan

Not as Good as You Think: Michigan

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Many middle-class Michiganders think that most low-performing schools are located in poor inner cities such as Detroit, not in their nice neighborhoods or in their smaller towns. They need to think again.

Based on a variety of indicators, many Michigan public schools with predominantly non-low-income/middle class student populations are not as good as people think.

Among the 677 regular public schools that have less than 33 percent of their students coming from low-income households, 316 or nearly 47 percent have 50 percent or more of their students in at least one grade level that fail to achieve proficiency on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) – mostly in the math exams

Further, among the predominantly non-low-income 677 regular public schools in Michigan, 534, or 79 percent, have at least one grade level where students performed below the average performance of schools with students on the same income status on a MEAP or MME exam.

The results should cause middle-class parents to rethink their views on the quality of their neighborhood public school, and consequently, to open their minds to other education options, choices, and policy changes that would allow their children to escape underperforming schools and attend better-performing alternatives. The study recommends that Michigan lawmakers consider school-choice options such as education savings accounts and tax-credit programs, which have been enacted in other states.

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How to Read the Tables

% Low-Income

The percentage of economically disadvantaged students in the school. The study only includes schools in which 33 percent or fewer of the students qualify for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

ELA Prof. Less than 50%/Math Prof. Less than 50%

The number of grades in the school in which 50 percent or more of the students scored less than proficient (Level 2-Proficient) on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in English language arts/reading or math in 2012-13.

ELA Prof. Below LR/Math Prof. Below LR

A technique called linear regression-line modeling (LR in the tables) was used to show a relationship between the percentage of students in a school who are classified as low-income and the percentage of students who score proficient (Level 2-Proficient) or above on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in English language arts (ELA) or math for a particular grade level. This analysis for each grade in ELA/reading and math allows for the identification of schools that are performing above or below average performance based on the performance of all the other schools in the state. This column shows the number of grades at that school that were below the average performance of all other schools with the same percentage of low-income students.

% ELA Prof./% Math Prof.

The percentage of students that scored proficient (Level 2-Proficient) or above on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in English-language-arts/reading or math in 2012-13.

ELA LR Gap/Math LR Gap

A technique called linear regression modeling (LR in the tables) was used to estimate whether a relationship exists between the percentage of students in a school who are classified as low-income and the percentage of students who score proficient (Level 2-Proficient) or above on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in English language arts/reading or math. This column shows the percentage points above or below the average (the linear regression line) for that grade based on the percentage of students who are low-income and the percentage of students who scored proficient or higher. A positive number means that the school is performing above the average and a negative number means that the school is performing below average. The higher or lower the percentage, the larger the gap from the average.

Green Bar Indicates Schools that have No Grades with Less than 50% Proficiency and No Negative Positions Below ELA/Math Regression Lines

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.