A group of business, education, and labor leaders, as well as parent and philanthropic groups, released a series of recommendations called The Launch Michigan Framework to transform the state’s education system to equip students for an increasingly remote, automated, and global economy.
Lansing’s Launch Michigan was created in 2018, originally by Michigan business leaders, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), and the Skillman Foundation. Since then, a steering committee representing a wide range of education stakeholders has tapped into the knowledge and expertise of its members and state, national and global experts in education research and policy.
“Children in Michigan simply don’t have the same opportunities to learn and succeed as their peers in the countries Michigan’s economy competes with. Our state’s education system was designed for the mid-20e century, and it hasn’t seen a real reinvention since,” says Adam Zemke, president of Launch Michigan.
“Our world is changing every day, and we need to empower our children to succeed by making better and smarter investments in their classroom experience that prepare them for a global 21.st economy of the century.
More recently, the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), a group renowned for being the best transformative of the education system in the United States, reviewed Launch Michigan’s work to date, helping to guide its next steps. and connect the dots. between education and the economy.
The framework is structured around three interconnected areas of focus:
Reinvention — Michigan will adopt a clear and rigorous college and career readiness standard aligned with international benchmarks to establish a “baseline” to be part of every student’s graduation requirements. Part of the proposal includes amendments to the state’s “Read by Grade Three” law and continued support to ensure students – no matter where they come from – can meet high standards in a variety of ways. .
Resources — Michigan will embrace and adequately support a new funding system that provides a solid foundation for all and focuses on providing equitable resources to students with the greatest needs. The ideal funding system will include both a base stipend increase and weighted funding to support students who need it most. Rethinking existing spending and securing new revenue must be part of the solution.
Responsibility — Michigan needs to evolve its regulatory structures to ensure greater efficiency, alignment, and accountability from all education stakeholders, including having the governor appoint the state superintendent. Improvements in both capacity and governance of the Michigan Department of Education are needed, as are changes to the educator evaluation system and school performance measures.
“Until we take action to create an education system that gives children the knowledge and skills to succeed in an increasingly global economy, we will lag behind other states. and nations and outsource opportunities that should belong to our youngest residents,” said Jeff Donofrio, co-chair of Launch Michigan and president and CEO of Business Leaders Michigan. “To ensure that future opportunities exist for our children, we must invest in the education system capable of producing them.”
To solidify and formalize its efforts to effect change, Launch Michigan will transform its organization into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the coming months. Additionally, NCEE recommended that Michigan leaders come together to develop both a shared economic vision for the state and recommendations related to that vision on how to create a world-class education system.
“Like all frameworks, today’s release is a starting point, not an end product,” says Zemke. “Using the framework as a foundation, Launch Michigan is asking broad groups of stakeholders and practitioners to fully engage in further work to make these ideas a reality.”
The full Michigan launch framework is available here.