Amazon Announcement Highlights Need for Educational Transformation
News of Amazon’s decision not to include Detroit or Grand Rapids as finalist cities for their second headquarters is disappointing and should serve as a wakeup call. Among the top reasons reported for passing over Michigan is our poor record for developing, retaining and attracting highly educated talent.
While the opportunity presented by Amazon was the largest in recent memory, it is just one opportunity missed because of the educational crisis that Michigan currently is in.
Despite expansive early learning efforts, far too many kindergartners arrive at school without the preparation that they need to learn and thrive. By third grade, 56 percent of Michigan students are not reading at grade level. In eighth grade, two thirds of Michigan students are behind in math. And we know that students of color and students from low-income families are even less likely to be prepared.
Last year, nearly 70,000 Michigan high-school students – 65 percent of juniors at the end of the year – were not considered college- and career-ready.
Simply put, when we deprive our students of the opportunities to achieve, we’re also stacking the odds against our state’s collective prosperity and that of Michigan students.
If all that we get from Amazon is a sense of disappointment from not being selected, then it is a missed opportunity. If, however, this becomes a rallying cry to become a top education state, then the Amazon experience could be a resounding win for our state and our future.