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While there is a lot of progress to be made in Michigan’s public school system, with its standing among other Midwest states dropping in the past couple decades, it’s not all bad: there are plenty of school districts in the Great Lakes State where things are going well. Let’s take a closer look at Michigan’s top five school districts.

Ranking #1 among Michigan public school districts is the Copper County Intermediate School District, which administers 13 smaller school districts with a total enrollment of around 6,600 students.

The Eaton Regional Education Service Agency is Michigan’s #2 public school district. Another conglomerate school district, Eaton RESA’s six component school districts are some of the best in the state in terms of composite test scores.

Chippewa County’s Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD places #3 on the list. The largest geographic district in the state, Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD serves 19 individual school districts spread over three counties with an enrollment of 7,000 students.

#4 Clinton County RESA serves seven public school districts with an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students, and provides additional services including the Great Start Readiness Program.

The #5 public school district in Michigan is Gratiot-Isabella RESD, another large intermediate school district headquartered in Ithaca that presides over 11 local districts.

Top School Districts in Michigan, 2019

RankSchool DistrictCountyCityState
1Copper Country ISDHoughton CountyHancockMichigan
2Eaton RESAEaton CountyCharlotteMichigan
3Eastern Upper Peninsula ISDChippewa CountySault S MarieMichigan
4Clinton County RESAClinton CountySaint JohnsMichigan
5Gratiot-Isabella RESDGratiot CountyIthacaMichigan
6Livingston ESALivingston CountyHowellMichigan
7Van Buren ISDVan Buren CountyLawrenceMichigan
8Lenawee ISDLenawee CountyAdrianMichigan
9Wexford-Missaukee ISDWexford CountyCadillacMichigan
10Allegan Area Educational Service AgencyAllegan CountyAlleganMichigan
11Cheb-Otsego-Presque Isle ESDCheboygan CountyIndian RiverMichigan
12Tuscola ISDTuscola CountyCaroMichigan
13Washtenaw ISDWashtenaw CountyAnn ArborMichigan
14Saginaw ISDSaginaw CountySaginawMichigan
15West Shore Educational Service DistrictMason CountyLudingtonMichigan
16Ottawa Area ISDOttawa CountyHollandMichigan
17St. Clair County RESASt. Clair CountyMarysvilleMichigan
18Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona ESDAlpena CountyAlpenaMichigan
19Traverse Bay Area ISDGrand Traverse CountyTraverse CityMichigan
20Newaygo County RESANewaygo CountyFremontMichigan
21Charlevoix-Emmet ISDCharlevoix CountyCharlevoixMichigan
22Lapeer ISDLapeer CountyLapeerMichigan
23Macomb ISDMacomb CountyClinton TownshipMichigan
24Muskegon Area ISDMuskegon CountyMuskegonMichigan
25Birmingham Public SchoolsOakland CountyBeverly HillsMichigan


The following contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, teacher quality, school funding, student to teacher ratio, standardized test results (reading and math; the percentage of students scoring at or above state proficiency level). Data from a total of 10,728 school districts had sufficient values for the variables above.

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