A New Year, A New Moment for Public Education in Michigan


In so many ways, 2019 holds the potential to create a new moment for advancing public education for all students in Michigan.

Following eight years of single-party control of state government, the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer raises the question of whether a divided state government can support the thoughtful, reasoned and bipartisan policy changes needed to propel Michigan education forward. This year, a new State Superintendent of Public Instruction will be hired to steer the Michigan Department of Education. And after a few years of planning and initial stages of implementation, the Every Student Succeeds Act is largely in effect, providing greater stability for schools and districts.

Taking advantage of these opportunities to advance the needs of Michigan students is essential. After all, 2018 served as a continued wake-up call around the troubling state of public education and the need for drastic improvement.

Last year began with the disappointing news from Amazon that Detroit and Grand Rapids would not be considered for their second headquarters, largely a result of a poor record for developing, retaining and attracting highly educated talent. National Assessment data showed that Michigan remained low-performing and low-improving in most areas, for most groups of students – trends mirrored in state M-STEP assessment data. After spending nearly $80 million dollars and making policy changes intended to improve early literacy rates, reading rates actually went down and the year ended with the lame-duck legislature diverting much-needed funds away from Michigan public schools.

Action must be taken to improve educational outcomes for Michigan students – particularly students of color and students from low-income families. Let a new moment for public education be a shared resolution and a shared priority in 2019.

Please join us in making Michigan a top ten education state for all students – start by joining our convening next week, where we’ll be sharing more on how you can get involved in our collective efforts.

Onward and upward,


Amber Arellano, Executive Director

The Education Trust-Midwest

You're Invited: Opportunity for All on January 16

You are invited for a special conversation on improving educational excellence and equity in Michigan schools on January 16. The event, Opportunity for All: 2019 State of Michigan Education Conference will feature panels and remarks by Michigan education and civil rights leaders, and former U.S. Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr. King served in the cabinet during President Obama’s second term.

The event is free, but registration is required.

WHAT: Opportunity for All: 2019 State of Michigan Education Conference

WHEN: January 16 from 9am – Noon

WHERE: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit

Click here to reserve your seat today!

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We're Hiring

The Education Trust-Midwest is looking for talented champions for equity to join our team. Current openings include:

  • Associate, External Relations
  • Senior Data and Policy Analyst
  • 2019 Summer K-12 Research and Policy Intern

Visit for more information on the positions and to apply.

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