In every classroom across our great state – from Monroe to Manistee and Mt. Pleasant to Marquette – every Michigan student deserves access and opportunity to the educational resources and support to realize a bright future.

Yet for too long, Michigan’s education system has served as an engine of inequality when it should be providing opportunities for all students to achieve at high levels.

Our state’s longstanding inequalities were compounded further over the last three years as students, families, educators and communities faced unprecedented educational challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And though many states – even those that were among the top-performing before the pandemic — lost ground, we now know that students in Michigan, a state that was not systemically well-positioned before COVID-19, fared worse than many states during the pandemic.

Indeed, Michigan’s unprecedented challenges now need an equally unprecedented response to ensure that all children have the opportunity to catch up and accelerate. Coupled with an unprecedented opportunity of unspent federal COVID-19 relief funding, we believe the time is now for Michigan to change its trajectory.

Over the last six months, our research, data and policy team dug into the data, conducted new research and analyses and looked across the nation for educational recovery best practices for our 2023 State of Michigan Education Report: Beyond the Pandemic.

In the following pages, we present The Opportunity 10 – 10 research-based steps that Michigan must take now to make our state a Top 10 Education State by 2030, one of our organization’s goals. The recommendations include the need for urgent investments in educational recovery, a fair system of school funding, honesty about students’ performance, a strong system of fiscal transparency and accountability for spending, as well as other strategies that have shown to be impactful for students, especially the most underserved, in leading education states.

In this report, Beyond the Pandemic, our researchers delve into each of these areas. And we examine how these and other research-based strategies, such as extended and expanded learning time and full access to rigorous coursework and preparation for all Michigan students, can support educational recovery and acceleration for all Michigan students.