Observing Hispanic Heritage Month

The following excerpt is from a September 18, 2017 blog post. Read the full post here.

This year, Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, comes at a remarkable period in our country’s history. In recent months, we have seen hate-filled demonstrations in the streets of Charlottesville and cities across the country, we have witnessed anti-immigrant sentiment, and most recently, legal protections for the children of illegal immigrants from deportation from the only country that they have ever known.

At the Education Trust-Midwest, we advocate for the high academic achievement of all students – particularly those of color or living in poverty. And as our research and reports have documented, year after year, Latino students in Michigan face a huge achievement gap compared with other groups. And their proficiency levels are nowhere near where they need to be to go on to success in college or careers.

We need to find a better road that includes all Americans of every background on the journey to an inclusive America.

Today we need to recapture that spirit in our country. We especially need focus every single month throughout the year on the needs of historically underserved communities, including Hispanic and Latino students. That would really be something to celebrate during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Read the full September 18, 2017 blog post here.

Improving early literacy the right start

The following excerpt is from a September 14, 2017 article written by Amber Arellano, as part of an ongoing series of editorials, columns and commentaries that will appear throughout the school year exploring ideas for improving our state’s schools. Follow along at and read the full article here.

The start of a new school year is usually greeted with a great deal of optimism among teachers, parents and students alike. My own daughter is starting kindergarten this month, and her excitement is contagious.

Like all parents, I hope and expect she will grow a lot over the next year, and master new skills and gain new confidence. Hoping for the best for my daughter, and for all children in Michigan, though, does not blind me to the fact that public education in the state is in a crisis, a years-long downward spiral heading to the bottom.

The research on this is clear: education in Michigan is not just failing to keep up with the rest of the country; we are rapidly racing toward the bottom. For example, in fourth-grade reading, Michigan students have fallen from 30th in the country in 2005 to 41st in 2015.

What are some initial steps for moving forward? We need to start by rejecting the failed policies that have contributed to this decline. Let’s insist on high academic expectations for every student. Let’s provide our teachers with the training, tools, mentoring and other supports they need to meet the needs of students. Let’s distribute our resources more equitably so that all students are given a fair chance to succeed. And let’s commit ourselves to using data not just for meaningful accountability, but also to inform policy and practice.

Fixing the state’s broken education system would not just be good for kids. In fact, Michigan’s future prosperity depends on us pulling our public education system out of its freefall.

Read the full article posted in The Detroit News here.

Noteworthy News

Capital Update

The House School Aid and Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets today, September 19 at 10:30, in Room 352 of the State Capitol Building. The Agenda will include a presentation on the Career Pathway Alliance Initiative and Career and Technical Education programs by the Department of Talent and Economic Development and Department of Education.

The Senate Education Committee meets today, September 19 at noon, in room 1300 of the Binsfeld Building. AgendaSenate Bills 544 – 549 (Colbeck, Pavlov, Emmons and Green) regarding expanded education savings accounts. Also, House Bill 4181 regarding requirements for employment as a school counselor.

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