May 17, 2024 - Education

Chart: Disparities in Michigan's top-performing schools

A chart compares demographics of Michigan public high school students to the state's top 10 public high schools according to U.S. News. White students have a large majority in both metrics, with 62.1% white at the top 10 schools and 65.1% statewide. Notable differences include 16.9% African American students among all public high schools but only 6.3% at top high schools and 20.1% Asian students at top high schools compared to 3.6% statewide.
Adapted from Kurt Metzger; Chart: Axios Visuals

The demographics of Michigan's top-performing high schools in U.S. News and World Report differ significantly from the state's overall student makeup, per local demographer Kurt Metzger — especially when it comes to Black and Asian students.

Just a fourth or less of the students at seven of the 10 schools are considered "economically disadvantaged," the Free Press reported. Meanwhile, across Michigan, 54% of students are seen as economically disadvantaged.

  • The rankings are often criticized for giving badges to wealthy districts with stronger tax bases.

What they're saying: Analyzing schools by their socioeconomic composition and educational outcomes is important to show state leaders what's needed to close achievement gaps, Metzger, founder of Data Driven Detroit, tells Axios. Michigan is failing its students, he adds, especially students of color.

  • "And we know Michigan's education … is one of the biggest problems for Michigan to attract people or grow."

Go deeper: Inequities remain in Michigan schools long after Brown v. Board

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