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Michigan Educational Annual Report Shows Encouraging Progress

LANSING – Many encouraging trends in Michigan’s educational progress were reported today by State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice at the monthly meeting of the State Board of Education.

“As we began to emerge this past year from the prolonged global pandemic, educators continued to focus on supporting Michigan’s students and educators,” Dr. Rice said. “We’re showing signs of improvement coming out of a pandemic, and in some cases reconnecting to progress pre-pandemic. This year’s annual report highlights much of the important progress that we have made.”

State Board of Education President Dr. Casandra Ulbrich said, “Looking at the growth our schools were experiencing pre-pandemic, what they faced during the pandemic, and now evolving going forward, I am heartened for greater success for our students, educators, and communities.”

Highlights include greater investments in and expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), significant investments in early child care access and programming, intense focus on addressing the state’s teacher shortage, response to student mental health needs, enhancement of educator knowledge of diverse literature and of important historical movements and events, and a generational state school aid budget that will help move all eight of the Top 10 Strategic Education Plan goals.

“There are significant reasons for encouragement as we emerge from the pandemic,” Dr. Rice said. “Notwithstanding the profound challenges of the past few years, there’s also quite a bit that is encouraging as well.”

Taking stock of the progress in the eight goals of Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan to improve educational success for Michigan, Dr. Rice noted the following:

Goal 7 to Increase the Numbers of Certified Teachers in Areas of Shortage

The percentage of temporarily assigned individuals has doubled in the past five years from 5.7 percent of the teacher workforce in 2015-16 to 11.1 percent in the 2021-22 school year. The teacher shortage has adversely affected students, staff, and schools across the state and country. However, Dr. Rice said that there are some positive signs as well, including:

  1. Four years in a row of rising teacher preparation program enrollment
  2. The recently announced registered apprenticeship program
  3. $575 million in the fiscal year 2023 state budget negotiated between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state legislature to help fund Grow Your Own programs, MI Future Educator Fellowships, and teacher stipends
  4. The increased diversity of our teacher workforce
  5. Grow Your Own programs for students and support staff to become teachers

There have been four consecutive years of rising enrollments in teacher preparation programs, from 9,512 in 2016-17 to 13,171 in 2020-21. Additional growth is necessary to return to the 23,203 teacher preparation enrollment level in 2011.

Over the last six years, there has been an increase of 1,160 full time equated (FTE) African American teachers in Michigan’s teacher workforce since 2015, and an increase of 169 FTE Hispanic/Latino educators over that same time period.

Goal 8 to Provide Adequate and Equitable School Funding

The passage of a generational school aid budget negotiated between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state legislature increased funding to Michigan public schools by $2.6 billion for this school year and included significant funding for students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, English learners, career and technical education programs, and students in rural and isolated school districts.

Goal 1 to Expand Early Childhood Learning Opportunities

Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) tied for first in the country in quality for early childhood education for the fourth year in a row with the expectation that national rankings will indicate a rise in both funding and access for children this spring, once data from 2022 are incorporated.

Michigan’s GSRP received an increase of $168 million in fiscal year 2022 and $34 million in fiscal year 2023 and regained enrollment to near pre-pandemic levels last school year. From fiscal year 2021 to fiscal year 2023, an additional 24,000 GSRP slots have become available for Michigan four-year-old children.

Goal 2 to Improve Early Literacy Achievement

Thousands of Michigan educators are receiving literacy training in the LETRS program to teach the science of reading, with 3,000 teachers currently in the 18-month long training program and funding for up to 8,000 teachers to begin that training. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) also developed with external partners a new dyslexia guidance document for local schools, and facilitated professional development and materials for educators on diversity in literature to create a greater interest for all children in reading books that better reflect themselves.

Goal 3 to Improve the Health, Safety, and Wellness of all Learners

The state budget includes $245 million additionally for children’s mental health supports, which helping to build out a comprehensive student mental health system in the state. Likewise, a social emotional learning (SEL)/Children’s Mental Health Network has been established with 25 major partners, which has been instrumental in the promotion of professional development to over 9,400 Michigan educators to support SEL instruction. The state budget also includes $210 million additionally for school safety.

Goal 4 to Expand Secondary Learning Opportunities for all Students

Even with one-year declines in participation during the global pandemic, over the past six years, there have been substantial increases in the number of completers in career and technical education (CTE) programs from 35,557 students in 2015-16 to 44,609 in 2021-22; and increases in the number of students enrolled in early middle college, from 8,312 in the 2015-16 school year to 15,308 in the 2021-22 school year.

Goal 5 to Increase the Percentage of All Students Who Graduate from High School

Michigan’s high school graduation rate has increased in eight of the past 10 years, with increases in all student groups Notable increases include a 10 percentage point increase in the graduation rate for African American students and a 12 percentage point increase for Hispanic or Latino students. MDE will be sending graduation rate guidance to local school districts later this week, and increased focus on the secondary school programming mentioned under Goal 4 will help drive improved graduation rates, according to Dr. Rice.

Goal 6 to Increase the Percentage of Adults with a Post-Secondary Credential

According to the Lumina Foundation, there has been nearly a six percentage point increase in the number of adults (ages 25-64) in Michigan with a
post-secondary credential from 2015 to 2019, which is the most recent data available. Updated data is expected in 2023. In 2019, the Lumina Foundation reported that 49.1 percent of Michigan adults had a post-secondary credential.

Initiatives spearheaded by Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity with the Future for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs will certainly drive up the numbers of adults with post-secondary credentials over the next several years, as will continued efforts to increase CTE program participation and completion.

“On behalf of the State Board of Education and the Michigan Department of Education, I want to express my gratitude to all teachers, support staff, and administrators who have worked tirelessly in local and intermediate school districts for Michigan’s schoolchildren,” Dr Rice said. “I also want to thank our parents, grandparents, guardians, and community members for their partnership at this challenging time. I value the many partnerships and collaborative efforts that have been developed and nurtured over the years and especially throughout the challenges of the past three school years.”

The 2021-22 Annual Report by the Michigan Department of Education

The state superintendent’s presentation to the State Board of Education