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Michigan’s education failures spell future disaster

September 1, 2017
Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

We got the latest results from our statewide education tests earlier this week, and here are the highlights — without the jargon. Johnny mostly can’t read as well as he should, and neither can Susie, although she’s doing a little better. Both are doing a little better in math than last year, but not nearly as well as they should.

For black and Hispanic kids, scores are far worse. Brian Whiston, the state superintendent of schools, did his best to put a good face on this, saying, “We keep moving forward on our goal to be a top 10 education state in 10 years, and know that the early work we are putting into motion will pay positive dividends in the very near future.”

I assume he meant the Great Start Readiness Program, the state-funded preschool for four-year-olds deemed to be at risk. Research shows conclusively that this is working, and that the earlier we start to reach and stimulate young minds, the better off they are.

Actually, those who really understand education think we would be better off extending this program to all kids, and starting it before age four. This, some not very wise people say, would cost a lot of money. Actually, in the long run, it would save billions.