The Issues That Will Define 2020

As we begin a new year, members of the Ed Trust-Midwest team are thinking about the issues that will define public education policy in 2020. Share your predictions by tweeting us @EdTrustMidwest.

Resource Equity

Amber Arellano, Executive Director

For years people have asked me if I really believe Michigan can become a top ten education state. I truly believe it’s possible; other states have done it, and we can, too. We need to be more honest with ourselves about what it’s going to take to get there. That includes having tough conversations – and making bold leadership decisions – about creating world-class schools where all children can succeed. Among them: Michigan is a deeply inequitable state when it comes to how it supports and invest in its children and public schools. That’s true with school funding, yet it’s also true with other resources that are hugely important to student outcomes. Whether it is ensuring an effective teacher is in every student’s classroom, access to rigorous coursework and rich individualized instruction or a safe, healthy school building to learn in, Michigan can do better by all of its students. All students – whether they are from low-income families, live in an isolated or rural area, have disabilities or are English language learners – deserve the opportunity to learn at high levels – and to be supported and educated at high levels

Educator Effectiveness

Joann Riemersma, Assistant Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

“Research is clear than an effective classroom teacher has greater impact on student success in reading and math than any other factor contributing to a child’s academic achievement. The shortage of well-supported, certified teachers to support the learning of every child, especially in high-poverty urban schools, should concern us all. This year, Michigan should address this urgent need by looking closely at ways to attract new teachers to high-need districts, retain talented educators, and address the shortage of prospective teachers entering teacher preparation programs.”

Early Literacy

Brian Love, Director of Community Engagement

“We have begun the countdown to Michigan’s ‘Read by Grade Three’ law taking full effect. The headline will be how many students are held back because they are reading more than a year below grade level. The bigger issue that Michigan needs to take on in 2020 is how we are going to support the many more students who are not reading proficiently in elementary school.”

Responsible Education Budget

Brian Gutman, Director of External Relations

“Will the new year bring a new chapter to education budgets? Michigan students and schools need a budget that focuses on the learning needs of students and budget certainty. We need both a different approach to how we fund schools and for disagreements to be worked out in the spring and early summer, so schools and districts know what level they will be funded at before the school year begins.”

Postsecondary Access & Success

Lauren Hubbard, Data & Policy Analyst

“As an increasing number of jobs in the United States are requiring some form of postsecondary training, it is well accepted that more Michigan students will need to earn a certification or license from a trade school or a degree from a 2- or 4- year institution. For that to happen, Michigan must do more to help all students access, finance and succeed in postsecondary education. This begins with supporting students in gaining access to financial aid by completing a FAFSA as well as graduating high school prepared for credit-bearing courses. It also means providing more support to reduce the number of students – particularly students of color  and low-income students – who enroll in postsecondary but never graduate.”

What Can be Done to Help Children Learn to Read?

A writing competition by the Word Bank Group and Financial Times is asking high school students to address this question for an opportunity to be published in their blogs and the invitation to attend the World Bank Group/IMF meetings in Washington DC this April.

Students are asked to write up to 500 words on either of the following questions by February 10:

  • If you were the education minister of your country what would you do to make sure every 10-year old is able to read?
  • What could teachers and schools do differently to help all children learn to read?

Full details and entry requirements are available here. Good luck!

Capital Update

The Michigan House of Representatives and State Senate reconvene for the first time in 2020 on January 8.

The January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference will be held on Friday, January 10 at 9:00 a.m in the House Appropriations Committee room in the State Capitol Building. At the conference, official forecasts for fiscal years 2020, 2021 and 2022 will be revised by the State Treasurer and directors of the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies.

Tweet of the Week

@JohnBKing: Inspiring: "Stories About Equality that Gave Us Hope in 2019: At a time when hate crimes, inequality & white supremacy appear to be on the rise, these stories offered a little hope." @adeelnyt