Launch Michigan—a broad coalition of educational, labor, business, philanthropic, and civic organizations dedicated to improving Michigan’s education system for all students—has released its framework for transforming Michigan’s education system to equip students for a global economy.
The Framework is unique in its scope, ambition and density. No other educational transformation effort in recent memory goes so far to alter the experiences of students and educators.
MEA has been a key partner of Launch Michigan since forming the coalition four years ago, working to build trust between unlikely partners, advocating for high-quality research on issues facing public education and providing the voice of Michigan’s grassroots educators. are part of all the proposals to help our students succeed.
“When it comes to improving Michigan’s educational outcomes, there’s absolutely no time to waste,” Paula Herbart, MEA president and co-chair of Launch Michigan, said in a press release. coalition. “Our priority is to make sure that we start to close the gaps that we know exist, so that we can start changing children’s lives and futures as quickly as possible. Michigan educators are dedicated to our students, and this framework is an important starting point to provide them with the tools to change the course of our children’s future.
Unlike ad hoc public education reforms proposed in the past, Michigan’s launch framework centers on three interconnected pillars: reinvention, resources, and accountability. Along with buy-in from a wide range of organisations, the strength of this approach is that it is not a checklist of quick fixes, but rather a holistic view of how whose changes are needed in all three areas to truly transform public education in our state.
The main proposals of the framework include:
- Reinvention: A new college and career readiness standard that ensures students are supported throughout their college career to achieve lofty high school goals and prepare them for post-secondary learning and the world of work. This includes equitable access – regardless of where the student is from – to multiple learning pathways like college-credit courses and 21st century vocational and technical training programs. The framework also includes removing retention requirements from the Reading Act in third grade.
- Resources: More than $3.5 billion in new education funding – the majority from new revenue – to increase both base per-student allocations and weighted funding for students with higher needs, such as l special and at-risk education (based on research by the School Finance Research Collaborative). The framework includes measures to improve the compensation and staffing of the teaching profession, as well as an important caveat that any effort to change the funding of pension benefits must not undermine the security of the retirement of current and retired school employees.
- Responsibility: At all levels of stakeholders – from elected leaders at the Michigan Department of Education to middle school districts to local schools – we need to align governance to focus on the standards we want to achieve. This includes a stronger, fully resourced MDE; a clearer and more transparent grading system and interventions to support struggling schools; and a revamped teacher evaluation system that emphasizes professional growth rather than standardized test scores.
“It’s important to remember that this is a framework, not a fully fleshed out plan,” Herbart said. “Now that we have a broad consensus among partners, it is time to begin to further develop the proposals that Launch Michigan is discussing so that they are actionable and reflect the best thinking of educators, parents, business, and all those with an interest in public education. ”
This process is already underway through a review of the framework by the National Center for Education and Economics, a respected national research group that has contributed to education transformation efforts in Massachusetts and Maryland. Their initial review revealed that the framework had many good starting points, but more detail is needed in key areas – including details around the college and career readiness standard, interventions for struggling schools and efforts to strengthen the teaching profession.
In particular, the MEA is committed to ensuring that these steps are taken without placing an inappropriate emphasis on standardized testing while maintaining the collective bargaining rights of school employees.
The next step is to expand the conversation through development teams who will work to iron out those important details. If you would like to engage in this process, let the MEA know by emailing [email protected]
Coalition members agree that this development work needs to be done urgently and include as many partners as possible to ensure we are doing the right thing for Michigan students.
“Until we take action to create an education system that gives children the knowledge and skills to succeed in an increasingly global economy, we will lag behind other states. and nations and outsource opportunities that should belong to our youngest residents,” said Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders Michigan and co-chairman of Launch Michigan. “To ensure that future opportunities exist for our children, we must invest in the education system capable of producing them.”
Brian Calley, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan and co-chair of Launch Michigan, summed up the sentiment by saying, “Inaction is not an option here. We will continue to work together until true transformation becomes a reality for Michigan students.
Learn about Launch Michigan’s work and proposals, the full text of the framework, and the NCEE review at LaunchMichigan.org/framework.