‘Money alone is not the sole answer’ to school improvement

Improving Michigan’s public schools will be one of the central topics at this week’s Mackinac Policy Conference, where Michigan leaders gather each year to consider some of the state’s most pressing challenges.

But in Michigan, and other states, the conversation about how to improve schools “has been stalled by a false debate – the debate about whether money is what’s needed to improve our public schools and close achievement gaps for students of color and low-income children,” according to an op/ed in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press byKati Haycock, CEO of the Education Trust, and Amber Arellano, executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest.

“Money alone is not the sole answer for ensuring all of America’s children are taught at high levels of achievement,” they wrote. “High expectations for all students; equitable access to effective teachers; and accountability for school performance are all critical – and proven – levers for raising achievement for all students.”

In addition to more equal funding, Michigan schools also need greater accountability and systemic improvements, according to Haycock and Arellano. “Yet we would be naïve to believe that money doesn’t matter in ensuring poor students and African American and Latino children have access to the strong public schools that they need and deserve,” they wrote.

Haycock will be a featured presenter at the Mackinac Policy Conference on Thursday; see the following story for details.


More equitable funding and higher expectations are key to improving Michigan education, according to Ed Trust CEO

There are two things that Michigan ought to be thinking about when it comes to improving schools, according to Kati Haycock, CEO of the Education Trust. First is a more equitable funding system, “where students with greater needs receive more dollars instead of the other way around, as it is now. And along with this funding has to come more accountability for school improvement because learning matters in the lives of students and should matter for schools, as well.”

Haycock is one of the featured speakers at the Mackinac Policy Conference under way this week. In advance of the meeting, she was interviewed by the Detroiter, a publication of the Detroit Regional Chamber, which organizes the annual meeting.

“The biggest challenge facing schools across the country is low expectations. We have too low expectations for what children should know and be able to do,” Haycock said in the interview. To close the achievement gap for students of color and those living in poverty? “The two most important things are: No. 1 higher expectations of students and No. 2 high-quality, effective teachers. But we also need to make sure that teachers have the resources and support that they need to provide struggling kids with help to reach high standards.”

Haycock will be speaking as part of a panel at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 2. Click here to see a live stream from the conference.


Michigan’s business community must lead charge for better schools

“Leaders of the business community care about education in Michigan not just because they’re trying to be good corporate citizens,” according to Brian Cloyd, vice president of global corporate relations at Steelcase, Inc., and Ken Whipple, former CEO of CMS Energy and former executive vice president of Ford Motor Co. “It’s also because business leaders are connecting the dots between investment in education and its impact on the economic future of the state.”

Cloyd and Whipple are members of the leadership council for Michigan Achieves, a campaign to make Michigan a top ten education state. They wrote about the important role the business community can play in education reform in an opinion article that appeared inBridge on May 26.

“Michigan has Great Lakes and an increasingly strong economy. But we cannot be great, by any definition of greatness, if our leaders provide our state’s students with one of the worst performing public school systems in the United States,” they wrote.

In leading education states across the country, the business community has been an essential voice in systemic change and investment in closing achievement gaps and raising achievement.

“We need business leaders and organizations in every corner of the state to work to bring our state’s education policies in line with our goal of better schools,” according to Cloyd and Whipple. “Michigan business organizations and leaders can take concrete steps to support better educational outcomes for all children in our state.

To find out how to get involved visit And consider signing on to the campaign to make Michigan a top ten education state at

Click here to read the full article Bridge.


Capitol Update

House Education Committee. Thursday, June 2 at 8:30am. Room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda: Presentation regarding National Board Certification by Rick Joseph, Michigan Teacher of the Year, and Nancy Schwartz, Vice President of Outreach and Engagement at the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.


For the full Michigan Education Update – please click here.