DETROIT, Mich. — Business Leaders for Michigan today announced that it has launched a study aimed at boosting K–12 school performance in Michigan. While the organization has supported numerous K-12 reforms in the past, such as increased funding for early childhood education and the adoption of high academic standards and a rigorous, aligned assessment, this marks the first time it has sought to identify actions that can have an impact on raising student outcomes.
“Our state’s educational achievement has declined relative to other states during the past decade,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM president & CEO. “College and career readiness is low and remains stagnant, enrollment has slipped, and we now rank in the bottom quartile of states in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math. The purpose of this report is to provide an objective, third-party view of leading practices that can have a positive influence on K–12 outcomes in Michigan.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a BLM member, will conduct the study. The report will include data analyses of where Michigan’s gaps in students’ performance lags comparable peers’ performance by grade, subject, ethnicity and location. It will synthesize research and interviews of government and education professionals, particularly from states with superior education performance to identify and consolidate the education approaches into a prioritized set of high impact actions Michigan’s schools can use to address student achievement gaps, given the unique mechanisms governing Michigan’s education system to determine the actions needed to drive K–12 performance growth. BLM will also actively seek the input of leading Michigan education groups and consider the findings of the Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission.
“Today, most good jobs require an education or training beyond high school and successful careers will demand it in the future” Rothwell said. “Unfortunately, too many kids aren’t getting the preparation they need in their elementary and secondary education to thrive in this environment.”
“Like all BLM projects, this study will focus on data, facts and analysis,” Rothwell said. “We recognize that student achievement is attributable to many different factors—some of which a school can affect and some of which are beyond institutional control. We are focusing on the factors that our education professionals have within their control.”
The project is expected to take most of 2017, with an anticipated release of early 2018.
“Our goal is to move Michigan student results from the bottom quartile to the top,” Rothwell said. “We need to identify clear action steps to deliver the results necessary to boost the achievement of our young learners.”