Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
Young people in Michigan are more likely to graduate from high school, get their GED, and graduate from college than ever before. In 2000, only 83 percent of people over the age of 25 had completed high school or their GED. 20 years later, that number has risen to 91 percent. This year is the first time that Michigan has had over 90 percent of its residents graduate from high school. The Great Lakes State is doing slightly better than the United States, which has an overall 88 percent graduation rate, up from 80 percent in 2000.
Washtenaw County is doing better than average in high school graduation, with 95 percent of residents having completed high school or their GED. It is also ahead in college education, with 56 percent of residents holding a college degree, nearly doubling the Michigan average of 29 percent.
Wayne County is struggling compared to its neighbor, with around 87 percent of residents having completed high school or the equivalent, and only 24 percent holding a college degree. This educational achievement gap has been attributed to differences in funding. In 2021, Wayne County schools received only $8,111 in funding per student, the lowest of any school system in the state. Wayne County educators are hopeful for the future however, after the state legislature passed a record setting $17 billion education budget in July of 2021. One of the key features of the budget was that every school receives the same amount of money: $8,700 per student. This policy change will benefit Wayne County the most since it previously received the least per student.