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Top-Ten for Education: Not By Chance

For the first time in the state’s history, Michigan public schools are able to compare their performance in some subjects to other states around the country for all students. A new analysis of this historic new comparative data by The Education Trust-Midwest shows Michigan’s third graders showed the greatest decline in third-grade reading compared to other states participating in the same assessment consortium, despite nearly $80 million of targeted state investment to improve reading outcomes.

Michigan students also are among the lowest performing students among peers for third-grade reading, which is one of the most important indicators of lifelong student success and lifelong employment. This news is among the takeaways of the report released today, Top Ten for Education: Not By Chance, which delves deeply to the challenges Michigan schools and leaders face in raising student achievement.

“Michigan’s young students are just as bright and talented as other students around the country,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of the nonpartisan think tank, The Education Trust-Midwest. “The question is not whether we should be investing in improving third-grade reading for Michigan children. The question is, how does Michigan become more effective at improving teaching and learning, as leading education states have done?”

“We can turn things around in Michigan,” Arellano says. “Just as Michiganders worked together to turn around our ailing auto industry during the Great Recession and continue to move toward a more vibrant economy, today we need to work together to turn around our P-12 public school system. Visit www.michiganachieves.com to join us in being a voice for great public schools for all children.”

Open Your Eyes

As Black History Month comes to a close and Women’s History Month begins, Deidre Bounds, president of Ignite Social Media, contributed her thoughts on the importance of advocating for all students including those who fall in the middle. The excerpt below is from her full blog post.

Let me introduce you to Deidre Lambert. Deidre comes from a loving, low income, single parent household, is the youngest of seven children and the only child still living at home. For various reasons, she has attended many different schools throughout the Detroit Public School system, and therefore, has no consistency nor history with her teachers or peers. She is a C average student, but has the potential to be a straight “A” student. Unfortunately, her teachers and school administrators don’t “see” her because she isn’t a class superstar, nor is she a candidate for special education programs. They don’t see her because she is swallowed up in large class sizes, a system designed to divert attention to students who naturally do well or those who naturally require more attention and she has no adult focused on or fighting for her educational success.

There are “Deidres” all across our state. Kids who fall through the educational cracks every day. We must ask ourselves, is it enough that our kids are graduating high school?  In my opinion, the answer is NO! We must successfully prepare them for higher education, to be entrepreneurs or to work skilled trade jobs. I have no doubt that these young people want to be gainfully employed, tax paying citizens, and leaders in our community. As a state we fail if we don’t set higher expectations for our students beyond getting them through high school graduation.

I challenge each one of you reading this post to open your eyes, seek out and help, not just the rock stars and those who need additional educational attention, but those quiet kids in the classroom who may not always speak up or always get the answer right. With just a bit of encouragement to become successful businesswomen, community leaders, mentors in the making.

Find the text of the full blog post here.

Capital Update

The House School Aid and Education Committee will meet today at 10:30am in Room 352 of the State Capitol Building. The agenda will include presentations on Imagine Learning, Lighthouse Academy and Adult Education.

The Senate K-12, School Aid, Education Committee will meet tomorrow, March 7th at 8am in Room 1300 of the Binsfeld Office Building. The agenda will include presentations by the Department of Talent and Economic Development, the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), MiBright Future, Michigan Education Corps, Michigan Restaurant Association and Section 95b Funding.

The House Education Reform Committee will meet on Thursday, March 8th at 9am in Room 521 of the House Office Building. The agenda will include a discussion of House Bills 5598-5605 which pertain to teacher preparation institutions and programs as well as HB 5626 (Noble – R) which seeks to revise the regional enhancement millage ballot language.

Noteworthy News

Event Spotlight

Join the Education Trust-Midwest, Business Leaders for Michigan, the Center for Michigan and many other organizations on Thursday, March 22, 2018 in Detroit or Friday, March 23, 2018 in Grand Rapids for a Solutions Summit. At each event, Ed Trust-Midwest’s executive director, Amber Arellano, will join other notable education experts in a discussion on what’s being done to address Michigan’s education crisis. Click here for more information and to reserve your seat.

Tweet of the Week

.@edtrust: To celebrate #WomensHistoryMonth , we’re kicking off “#ShePersisted: 31 Days of Women’s History” featuring diverse women who inspire us with their work to create a more equitable America. Follow along with #ShePersisted & share who inspires you.