by Bruce Walker
The grades reported on Michigan’s 2022 education report card have fallen considerably since the last time the tests were administered in 2019.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress ranked Michigan’s fourth-grade reading scores at 43rd in the nation, a significant drop from the state’s 32nd ranking in 2019. The state’s eighth graders ranking dropped to 31st in the nation from its 28th berth in 2019.
Fourth graders in the state picked up the academic pace somewhat better in mathematics by ranking 36th in the nation, compared to 42nd in 2019. Eighth graders in Michigan are ranked 26th in the nation, compared to 28th in 2019.
According to the NAEP, the five-point national decline in fourth-grade math scores is the biggest drop since 2005. The eight-point national decline in eighth-grade math scores in 2022 is the lowest score registered since 2003. Michigan’s fourth graders scored 232 points out of a possible 500 points. At 235 points, the national average was three points higher than Michigan’s score.
U.S. students didn’t fare much better in reading. Both eighth and fourth grade scores fell three points since the last NAEP in 2019. Fourth graders nationally scored a 216 out of a possible 500 NAEP points, but Michigan students scored only 212 points.
“Every child in Michigan is capable of learning and every child has the ability to succeed, but the decisions to shutter schools for far too long by bureaucrats and partisan politicians only made that learning more difficult,” Beth DeShone said in a statement. She’s executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project.
DeShone also referred to attempts by legislators to provide parents reading scholarships, tutoring support, transportation vouchers and “hundreds of millions of new dollars in direct support to our kids,” efforts that were vetoed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
“Governor Whitmer’s vetoes and the bureaucracy’s hostility towards students and parents has real-world consequences – they’re devastating our kids. Instead of playing partisan games, Governor Whitmer, Superintendent Michael Rice, and the state’s public school bureaucracy owes parents answers and they owe them options. It’s time to put the power – and the education dollars – back in parents’ hands.”
DeShone noted the NAEP scores echo test results reported in September by the National Center for Educational Statistics in which average scores for 9-year-old students fell more significantly than in the previous 30 years.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, 2.6% of the state’s fourth- and eighth-grade students tested in math and reading from January through March 2022 in approximately 260 school buildings across the state.
“Statistically, we are not alone nationally,” Rice said in a statement. “Most states were adversely affected in, and by, the pandemic. That said, instructionally, we have a great deal of work to do.
“In spite of the extraordinary efforts of staff and students, the pandemic was very disruptive to learning. What teachers do daily in classrooms across the state is incredibly important, and disruptions of any sort, let alone those associated with a pandemic, do harm.”
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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.
Photo “Teacher and Students” Great Lakes Education Project.