Summer time in Michigan for the educational community is traditionally a time to recharge batteries after a long school year. For two of our major school districts in the region, it will be more like a time to rebuild the engines and refuel sufficiently to advance in the fall. While Michigan’s legislative leaders today publicly joined Launch Michigan co-chairs to demonstrate their ongoing support for the work being done to improve the state’s preK-12 educational performance at the Mackinac Policy Conference, leaders in the Benton Harbor Area Schools will be laser focused on saving their system while both districts will need to get to work on re-populating the executive suite in light of the impending farewell of leadership.
St. Joseph Public Schools Superintendent Ann Cardon will be departing soon to take on that role at Traverse City Public Schools and Dr. Robert Herrera has been selected by the Farmington Public Schools as their new Superintendent as he wraps up work at the helm in Benton Harbor.
Meanwhile, on the idyllic Mackinac Island scene, following a main stage panel titled The Education Crisis: Michigan’s Response, Michigan’s governing leadership made the following statement regarding the collaboration:
“Launch Michigan is a historic partnership of education, business, labor, philanthropy, civic leaders and parents which we are hopeful will help boost academic achievement for all Michigan students. These organizations have collectively poured over extensive data, gathered input from thousands of educators, and reviewed approaches from successful states to generate several new ideas on a path forward.
“We know this work isn’t simple or quick. We appreciate the inclusive and diligent process Launch Michigan has followed to collectively work on improving our public education system. We applaud this collective effort to make Michigan a top state for education and ensure Michigan students are prepared for a bright future in a strong economy.
“We look forward to hearing recommendations from Launch Michigan by the end of this year in order to continue making progress for all students and our entire state.”
That message came from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, House Speaker Lee Chatfield & House Minority Leader Christine Greig.
The Michigan Legislature is asking for policy recommendations by December 1st.
Launch Michigan co-chairs Tonya Allen, Paula Herbart and Doug Rothwell said of the group’s progress:
“We know from in-depth research that the states that have been successful in changing educational outcomes have taken several years to make progress. The work done so far within Launch Michigan is significant, but it will still take some time to get to final recommendations.
“We are grateful for the partnership of our legislative leaders and Governor Whitmer. Their level of engagement demonstrates that Michigan is on a solid path to attaining marked change within our preK-12 system to ensure every child receives a high-quality education.”
Launch Michigan — a diverse group of partners including business, education, labor, philanthropy, parents, and civic leaders – first convened in the summer of 2018 with the goal of improving preK-12 education through a data-based approach and wide-ranging collaboration.
Since then, Launch Michigan has been developing outcome metrics and recommendations designed to help Michigan become a top state for education based on best practices and measurable outcomes.
During the first year of the partnership, Launch Michigan:
- Established a 22-member steering committee comprised of education, business, community and philanthropic leaders
- Met with the leaders of successful education turnaround efforts in other states
- Identified initial priorities: accountability, educator support, finance, and literacy
- Met with quadrant leaders and Gov. Whitmer
- Conducted a statewide educator survey garnering input from nearly 17,000 participants