Preceding the increases Michigan had been criticized for its relatively low testing standards. For example, The Education Trust-Midwest, an education policy and advocacy organization, noted severe disparities between Michigan's and national education standards. They discovered that "the state tells 84 percent of parents of Michigan fourth-graders that their kids are proficient in reading according to the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), what state leaders have not said is that on the more rigorous national reading exam, only 30 percent of Michigan's students rank as proficient." According to the Board, the increase in the passing scores will render the standards congruous with college readiness metrics.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan applauded the increases. "I applaud Michigan for being honest with students on where they stand," Duncan said in a statement this afternoon. "Michigan's education leaders are putting kids first by taking critical steps to help them compete in a global economy." Duncan has long been a critic of Michigan and other states that have lax testing standards.