Poverty challenges Michigan schools

Capital News Service
LANSING— Numerous studies show that poverty and income are the two best predictors of a student’s success in school. This has been proven in Michigan recently, according to education experts. The average scores of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) are low, with 12 percent proficient in science at the bottom and 50 percent proficient in English at the top, according to the Education Department. Meanwhile, 16 percent of Michigan children live in school districts with concentrated poverty, one of the largest percentages among the states, according to a Kids Count in Michigan report by the Michigan League for Public Policy. Gretchen Dziadosz, executive director of the Michigan Education Association (MEA), the state’s largest teacher and school personnel union, said the increase in poor students and poor school districts hurts students’ academic performance.

More children eligible for free, reduced price lunches

Capital News Service
LANSING – Almost half the state’s public school students were eligible for free or reduced price meals during the 2011-12 school year, according to a report by Kids Count in Michigan. Forty-eight percent of students participate in the free or reduced price lunch program, according to the report, “Health Matters.”
Kids Count is a project that advocates for the health and wellbeing of children. The Michigan League for Public Policy and Michigan’s Children are the project’s partners. The percentage receiving free or reduced lunches increased 2 percent from the 2010-11 school year. Those involved in the project attribute the high, rising percentage to poverty in the state.