Got 6 minutes? Highlights of a dozen studies on Michigan schools
If the size of a problem is measured in pages, Michigan has a big problem with its schools. Here are quickie summaries of 12 reports written about Michigan education reform, with links (if you have time) to the fuller reports.
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TITLE: Business Leaders’ Insights: Leading Practices in K-12 Education that can Improve Student Outcomes in Michigan
PRODUCED BY: Business Leaders for Michigan
RELEASED: March 2018
LENGTH: 44 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: Don’t be afraid of high, consistent standards and accountability, and be open to spending money in different ways.
QUOTE: “Michigan does not have a culture that demands the highest quality of education at every level in the system. As a state, we have grown accustomed to accepting excuses for our K–12 outcomes, rather than holding ourselves 100 percent accountable.”
- Strong and consistent standards
- Money for teacher training
- Meaningful and easily-understood school accountability
Related: Michigan is failing its students, as state test scores keep tanking
Database: Check out your Michigan school and district M-STEP scores
Related: M-STEP results trouble for most struggling schools in Detroit, statewide
PRODUCED BY: Michigan School Finance Research Collaborative
RELEASED: January 2018
LENGTH: 358 pages
WHAT IS SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: Not every student costs the same to educate.
QUOTE: “This is not just an educational crisis – it’s also an economic one.”
- Base per-student funding should be $9,350. The base amount now is $7,631, but some districts get more than that.
- More money for students in special education, career tech or who are English language learners or low-income families.
- More money for districts with high transportation costs.
TITLE: Marshall Plan for Talent
PRODUCED BY: Office of Gov. Rick Snyder
RELEASED: February 2018
LENGTH: 11 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: It’s time to transform our educational system to align with growing job fields, including many that don’t require a college degree.
QUOTE: “Technology is rapidly transforming the workplace yet we develop talent the way we have for the past 200 years.”
- Partnerships between business and schools to create classes teaching skills for high-demand jobs.
- Certification/credential programs within high schools.
- Incentives for current teachers to gain certifications in areas like physics and career tech.
PRODUCED BY: 21st Century Education Commission (for Gov. Rick Snyder)
RELEASED: February 2017
LENGTH: 146 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: The world has changed, and our schools need to change with it.
QUOTE: “Our education systems, structures, and supports that were designed to propel the next generation forward are no longer strong enough to meet the demands of a changing economy.”
- More high school grads with post-secondary education of some kind.
- More funds for at-risk students.
- Better teacher preparation.
- Universal pre-K for 4-year-olds.
- Eliminate the State Board of Education.
TITLE: Top 10 in 10 Years
PRODUCED BY: Michigan Department of Education
RELEASED: February 2016
LENGTH: 43 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: Stop fiddling around the edges
QUOTE: “Michigan can no longer think of the education system as being K-12 schools. Education starts at birth and extends beyond the secondary schools into college, career and graduate education.”
- Publicly funded pre-K available to all 4-year-olds by 2020, and all 3-year-olds by 2025.
- State- and district-level professional development for teachers.
- Increase high school counselors
- Different state spending for different students and communities.
TITLE: A Path to Good-paying Careers for All Michiganders: Improving student outcomes from education, birth to college
PRODUCED BY: Michigan FUTURE
RELEASED: June 2017
LENGTH: 35 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: Forget that Gov. Snyder Marshall Plan stuff about career tech; the most reliable path to a good-paying career is a bachelor’s degree or higher.
QUOTE: “Michigan will not have a mass middle class again until we transition to the knowledge economy that is the path to prosperity in the 21st Century.”
- Access to high-quality early childhood education for low-income families.
- Hold school districts accountable for how successful former students are in college rather than standardized tests.
- Increase school funding.
TITLE: Top Ten in Education: Not by Chance; From Stalled to Soaring: Michigan’s Path to Educational Recovery (second report here)
PRODUCED BY: Education Trust-Midwest
RELEASED: February 2018 and April 2014
LENGTH: 48 pages (2018); 32 pages (2014)
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: Two reports with one drumbeat: Other states have got this figured out – let’s learn from them
QUOTE: “Decades of research tell us that Michigan’s economic future and cultural vitality depend on the quality of our educational system.”
- More coordination to use research-based strategies to improve early literacy.
- More teacher training.
- Master teachers who mentor younger teachers.
PRODUCED BY: Michigan State Board of Education
RELEASED: August 2002
LENGTH: 12 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: Sixteen years ago, the state board sounded an early alarm about early childhood learning.
QUOTE: “Learning to read starts long before a child enters school.”
- Increase awareness of the importance of early learning
- Develop pre-K literacy benchmarks
- Money for early literacy intervention programs.
- More literacy training in early childhood teacher certification.
TITLE: The Road toward k-12 Excellence in Michigan: How an Upgraded Financing System Can Better Support Enhanced Student Achievement
PRODUCED BY: Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
RELEASED: May 2015
LENGTH: 70 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: We need to change how, and how much, we spend on education.
QUOTE: “It is time to stop trailing competitor states, and to do so will require resources.”
- Change state funding structure to give more money for at-risk students
- Money given for specific programs shown to improve learning.
- Allow school district to request local millages to raise money
PRODUCED BY: Public Sector Consultants
RELEASED: May 2015
LENGTH: 32 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: If we want to reverse our downward trend in student achievement, we need to rethink how we invest in education, from cradle to career.
QUOTE: “Michigan does not just need good policy ideas … It needs good ideas and a strategy developed and supported by the business community, school leaders and educators.”
- Invest in pre-K education
- Invest in teacher training
- More funding for needy students
- More high school counselors
- More college credit opportunities in high school
PRODUCED BY: Michigan State Board of Education
RELEASED: December 2014
LENGTH: 9 pages
WHAT IT SAYS IN ONE SENTENCE: Our schools’ problems aren’t all about money, but we definitely need to “spend smarter.”
QUOTE: “The vast majority of traditional public school districts must manage the fiscal effects of having less non-retirement funding to operate.”
- Differential funding based on the costs for different schools and students.
- Expand early childhood education opportunities.
- Better teacher prep and more teacher training.
- Consistent school funding to help schools plan.
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