By Ron French, Bridge Magazine

Education likely will be a major topic in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first State of the State address Tuesday.

And for good reason.

Michigan’s schools are in the bottom third in the nation in student achievement. There is a wide and stubborn achievement gap between low-income students and their wealthier classmates. Many public universities are more expensive yet have lower graduation rates than similar schools in other states. Quality child care is as expensive for some families as tuition at the University of Michigan.

“You’ll hear a lot about education during my State of the State on Feb. 5, and you’ll see my plan,” Whitmer said at a January event in Clare.

Bridge spoke to nine school leaders, advocacy groups and State Board of Education members about what they’d like to see Whitmer propose in the State of the State. While they proposed an assortment of reforms, there were commonalities that many believed could help improve education in Michigan.

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