Giving All Michigan Students a Top Ten Education

Like so many during this season, I find myself reflecting on the past year and being overwhelmed both by all that I have to be thankful for — and the tremendous challenges we face in the years ahead.

A healthy and happy family, and terrific friends and coworkers certainly top the list. But this year has also been different in the interest and conversation about what needs to be done to provide allMichigan students with the education that they need and deserve.

Earlier this year, The Education Trust-Midwest launched a new initiative to make Michigan a top ten education state for all of our state’s students, no matter who they are or where they live. We launched Michigan Achieves to bring much-needed attention to the issue and solutions that our state needs today.  Michigan is now on track to be among the lowest performing states in the U.S. for student learning in important subjects such as third-grade reading.  We must change our trajectory for our students’ and our state’s future.

Despite the tremendous challenges that we Michiganders collectively face in the years ahead in improving our public schools, this year I am buoyed about the potential for positive change.

Since Michigan Achieves was launched, the conversation around Michigan education has largely shifted from why Michigan needs to improve its schools to how that can happen. We have seen tremendous interest from business, community, educational, and government leaders, on how leading education states have achieved improvement and transformation. We are thankful for the many partners and leaders around the state for their partnership in this work.

This year Michigan has taken steps forward in reaching this goal, too.

Earlier this year, our state legislature made strategic investments in early literacy improvement efforts and funding to support high-quality evaluations for educators. Students and teachers have also begun implementing new higher career- and college-ready standards, which have been essential to raising achievement for all groups of students in states such as Massachusetts and Tennessee. The transition to higher standards and a more rigorous, honest assessment will take time, but we are on track in getting this work started.

Thank you to all of our partners that make this work possible, and especially for the thousands of Michigan educators who work so hard to the most important work in education:  teaching students.

We have a long way to go in making Michigan a top ten education state for all students, but know that educational transformation is necessary and possible. Together, we hope that you will join us in working to make Michigan a top ten education state for all students.


Amber Arellano
Executive Director
The Education Trust-Midwest

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