Today the Education Trust-Midwest – an organization focused on pragmatic solutions that move our state forward – issued that call to action in its 2020 State of Michigan Education Report, A Marshall Plan: Reimagining Michigan Public Education.

“As the U.S. rightfully confronts longstanding inequality and racial injustice, Michiganders have a historic opportunity to address decades-long underinvestment in education and opportunity gaps disproportionately impacting students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners and students in rural communities,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of the nonpartisan The Education Trust-Midwest.

The state’s leaders are at an important moment to commit to shielding vulnerable students from budget cuts – and to ensure their educational recovery is an utmost public priority in our state this year, Arellano added.

The report offers a pragmatic, solutions-based educational recovery agenda for COVID-19. The Michigan Achieves! campaign aims to make Michigan a top ten education state for all groups of students and reports on progress and performance indicators on a range of research-based issues.

“Michigan’s Black and Brown, and rural and low-income students, are no less talented than the children of other states,” Arellano added.

Decades of high stakes decisions by the state’s leaders have led Michigan to become among America’s most inequitable and unfair states for the gaps between what the state invests between poor and affluent schools, Arellano said, adding that the state cannot afford to return to the “old normal” – a system that is unfair and vastly inequitable.

“We need a ‘new normal’ that equitably invests in all communities and recognizes every child’s innate capacity to learn at high levels, no matter the color of their skin, the language they speak or their zip code,” she said.

The report includes six key recommendations on:

  • Fair investment
  • Honest Information, Transparency and Public Reporting
  • Extended Learning Time
  • Quality Virtual Instruction and Access
  • Inclusivity and Socioemotional Supports
  • Transitions to Postsecondary Opportunities

“Our schools are struggling greatly to improve key predictors of Michigan students’ future lifetime earnings and academic success,” Arellano added. “The learning outcomes of rural, low-income, African American, Latino and immigrant children are not simply the concerns of communities of color or the Upper Peninsula. This is about Michigan’s future economic success — and whether all Michigan’s children will have the skills they need to succeed in the global economy.”

Pointing to Ohio’s Governor Mike DeWine (R) as a model for Michigan to prioritize equity and investment in vulnerable students, Ed Trust-Midwest highlights the importance of taking an equitable approach to state budget cuts. It also calls for state leaders to equitably distribute federal stimulus dollars to better support rural and poor districts’ critical work to mitigate COVID-19 learning losses.

“We can do this,” Arellano said. “In a state that continues to struggle greatly to improve learning outcomes, it is critical policymakers minimize cuts to all schools and prioritize investment in kids who most need support.”


A Marshall Plan: Reinagining Michigan Public Education

Report showcases Michigan Achieves! Indicators

The 2020 State of Michigan Education Report, A Marshall Plan: Reimagining Michigan Public Education report found that Michigan, having made no progress from 2003 to 2019, ranks 36th in improvement among all students in fourth grade reading, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card.  For fourth grade reading and eighth grade math, Michigan’s African American students perform among the bottom 10 states in the nation. In reading, Michigan’s Latino students improved about one third as much as Latino students nationwide in early literacy since 2003.

At the same time, Michigan has been among the worst states in the U.S. for its fairness in funding. Specifically, Michigan is one of the bottom five states nationally for the funding gap between high-poverty and low-poverty districts. And between 1995 and 2015, Michigan had the lowest total education revenue growth of all 50 states. Already, nearly 1,000 letters have been sent to Michigan policymakers urging them to join our Fair Funding Pledge.

Key findings:

  • Michigan is one of 18 states declining in early literacy since 2003, according the national assessment.
  • For low-income students, Michigan ranks 32nd for fourth grade reading and 44th for fourth grade math.
  • For white students, Michigan ranks 39th for fourth grade reading and 42nd for fourth grade math, a drastic decline from being ranked 13th nationwide for both assessments in 2003.
  • More than half of Michigan third graders were not reading at grade level before the COVID-19 crisis, and nearly two-thirds of seventh graders were below grade level in math on Michigan’s state assessment.

Capital Update

HOUSE HIGHER EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE will meet today, June 23 at 11:00 a.m. in room 326 of the House Office Building and streaming here. Agenda: presentation from MSU Extension on Statewide Covid-19 Efforts

SENATE EDUCATION AND CAREER READINESS COMMITTEE will meet today at noon in room 403 of the Capitol Building and streaming here. Agenda:

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE will meet on June 25 at 9:00 a.m. in the Senate Hearing Room at Boji Tower and streaming here. Agenda:

  • Legislative transfer request 2020-5
  • Senate Bills 153748 and 751 (Stamas, R), regarding adjustments for the current fiscal year, including adjustments to the FY20 school aid budget

Social to Share Michigan needs a new normal. In our new report, we share solution-oriented recommendations and best practices to support schools' and students' educational recovery.