State Education Department's Puzzling Stance on Students' Family Income

The Michigan Department of Education recently acknowledged that hungry children don’t do well in school.

“Research shows a direct relationship between good nutrition and learning,” a February MDE press release states.

And this month, State Superintendent Michael Flanagan said that the state must address the needs of high-poverty students.

"We're not going to get the achievement you want from some of these kids if they're going to school in fear of their safety ... or if they're hungry," said Flanagan in the Detroit Free Press.

ForTheRecord says: While the MDE acknowledges that hunger can affect childrens' academic performance, the department has taken a puzzling stance on the socioeconomic status of students.

The MDE failed to incorporate socioeconomic status of students in its "Top-To-Bottom" academic ranking of all Michigan schools. Those high-stakes rankings can have a large impact on educators' livelihoods and students' lives.

Ironically, by refusing to acknowledge the effect of family background on academic performance, the MDE is penalizing many schools for just having more poor kids.