Not As Good As You Think: Why Middle-Class Parents in Michigan Should be Concerned about Their Local Public Schools

Issues and Ideas Forum

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.

For example, at Grosse Pointe North High School in Wayne County, 59 percent of eleventh graders failed to meet or exceed the proficient level on the math portion of the 2012-13 MME. 

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. To download the study, visit

LanceLance Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. He is the author of the highly praised 2012 book Obama’s Education Takeover (Encounter Books), which details the centralization of education policymaking in Washington under President Obama.  His most recent work is the 2013 PRI report, “One World School House vs. Old World Statehouse: The Khan Academy and California Red Tape.”

Lunch is free and is included with reservations.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
11:30 a.m. - Check-in and lunch available
Noon to 1:00 p.m. - Program with Q&A
WHERE: Radisson Lansing Hotel at the Capitol
Captitol I
111 N. Grand Ave.
Lansing, MI 48933

Register for this event.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Event Manager Kimberley Fischer-Kinne at 989-698-1905 or

Registration deadline is Fri., May 8 at 12 noon.

Please note: We are unable to guarantee lunch for any guest if the registration is received after the deadline.


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