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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Bridge's Academic State Champs, How Kalamazoo Stacks Up

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Both of Kalamazoo’s high schools along with Vicksburg and South Haven High School are among the Academic State Champs selected this year by Bridge.

Computer Assisted Reporting Specialist Mike Wilkinson says this year Bridge altered its methodology for ranking schools. He says changes in state standardized tests doesn’t allow for accurate averages over multiple years. Wilkinson says this year Bridge decided to look for the most part at what happens after high school. He says they also examined what high schools seem to be best at preparing students for college and work.

The school are in four different categories based on the percentage of students in poverty. Both Loy Norrix and Kalamazoo Central are among the lowest-income schools. South Haven is among schools with below average incomes. Vicksburg is grouped with schools that have above average incomes. Wilkinson says it’s important to compare schools with similar demographics because studies show family income is a strong indicator of academic success.

Wilkinson says both Kalamazoo high schools excelled in college enrollment and progress. He says the results indicated that students are taking advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise. Wilkinson says if Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix were in a higher income group, they would not be near top, but he says it’s great news for the community and students.

Bridge finds that many high school graduates in Michigan aren’t ready for college. Wilkinson says that means students have to take remedial classes, and end up spending college-level money for classes that don’t count towards a degree. Wilkinson says it raises the question of whether there should there be a baseline level of knowledge for a high school diploma.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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