From the Executive Director: Hope in this New School Year

By Amber Arellano, Executive Director






That’s what is guiding my new school year — great hope and faith for better public schools and lives for all Michigan students.

When I shared this with a colleague, he seemed skeptical. “Hope?” he said. How can you be hopeful when Michigan is in the bottom for the nation and the world for student learning today?  How can you be hopeful when important initiatives are not getting attention or funding at the state level?

I’m hopeful because everywhere I go, there are Michiganders more interested in improving our flagging public education system. Parents, civic organizations, business leaders are increasingly interested in how they can help advance a research-based agenda and investments for our kids.

I’m hopeful because more than 15,000 Michiganders have joined theMichigan Achieves campaign, which we launched in May to make Michigan a top ten education state, starting with becoming top ten in early literacy improvement by 2020.

I’m hopeful because the Michigan Achieves agenda is based on best practices from leading education states — and more and more leaders want to support making this agenda happen here.

I’m hopeful, especially, because I believe in Michigan students. I am confident they can learn at levels just as high as students in other states and nations, if we adults do what we ought to do to give them the opportunities to learn at high levels.

Thank you to all of our partners, supporters and friends around the state, especially the teachers and parents who work so hard every day to make sure their students and children are thriving and learning — despite the many challenges for public schools today. Your efforts matter.

Help us spread hope and share with your networks how to get involved in the Michigan Achieves campaign

We’re just getting started, and every person — every Michigander — is welcomed in this conversation.

Wishing you a fruitful, hope-filled school year,


Join us for #EdReformChat

@EdTrustMidwest and @PIEnetwork are looking forward to a twitter chat on Thursday, September 17 at 3:30pm – #EdReformChat. We hope you’ll join us!

Video: State Superintendent on Priorities for This School Year

whiston 9.15

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston welcomes students and families back to school. Priorities and milestones for the year include creating a plan to make Michigan a top ten education state (our presentation on becoming top ten is here), focusing on improving early literacy, introducing better systems of educator evaluation and support, and receiving our first M-STEP scores – which are expected to be lower than scores on previous tests.

From the Capitol

THIRD GRADE READING BILL DISCUSSED.  The legislation, House Bill 4822 (Price – R), aims to improve Michigan’s low reading proficiency rates for students by the end of the third grade. Additional meetings to consider testimony on the measure are expected in the next few weeks. Video of the first hearing is available here.

SUPERINTENDENT TO PRESENT ON DEFICIT DISTRICTS. The House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on school aid will hear the quarterly report from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on Wednesday, September 16 at 8:00am in the Senate Appropriations Room of the State Capitol Building.

Click here for full update.