Press Release

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (Jan. 29, 2020) — In her second State of the State address, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke to the critical needs of ensuring that students are prepared to learn as they enter school, and ready for success as they graduate high school.

The following statement may be attributed to  Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest:

“This year, Governor Whitmer rightly focused on the need to better support students and families during the major transitions into elementary school and out of high school. With the important goals of improving early literacy rates and postsecondary enrollment, this focus makes sense.

“Michigan’s third-grade reading rates have been widely recognized by members of both political parties as at a crisis point. Last year, fewer than half of all students at the end of grade three were reading and writing at grade level. The impact of this crisis falls the hardest on students from low-income families and students of color. While significant investments have been made in this area, we have not yet seen significantly better outcomes for students.

“Since late 2018, The Education Trust-Midwest and Detroit Parent Network have worked to help parents better understand their rights under Michigan’s third grade reading law, with the support of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation. The need for this work in communities across the state is undeniable, and we are pleased to see this type of collaboration highlighted in Governor Whitmer’s announcement today.

“As students graduate high school, too few are equipped with the information that they need to make sound financial decisions about trade school, community college and four-year degree paths. Increasing the rate of Michigan students completing their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a critical first step toward ensuring that Michigan students have the best information about financial support for attending postsecondary. While our organization’s ultimate goal is ensuring that every high school graduate either completes a FAFSA or no-reason parent waiver, innovative strategies to further incentivize FAFSA completion is an important first step.”

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