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Commentary

Auchter's Art: How to actually improve literacy in Michigan

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John Auchter
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Michigan schools are back in session. Many started two weeks before Labor Day. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it has been oppressively hot and humid. Can you imagine what the learning environment has been like in classrooms with no air conditioning? I can almost hear the chorus of students and teachers reply, "It was miserable!"

Turns out miserable has consequences. NPR had a story not too long ago: "Heat Making You Lethargic? Research Shows It Can Slow Your Brain, Too." It revolved around a new study from the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard, which found that high temperatures can muddle our thinking.

I was thinking about this as I listened to gubernatorial candidates Gretchen Whitmer and Bill Schuette answer questions about their plans to improve literacy rates among Michigan third-graders. Their answers are fine — general goals addressing the big picture. But I hope in the course of campaigning these next few months, they are curious enough to ask students and teachers what they need specifically. That way they'll find out what's really going to help.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.