Our Priorities

Do better by our kids

For Michigan to be great, we need every student to succeed. Widely shared prosperity is created when we have widely shared opportunity, and every student is guaranteed the right to a high quality education. Education is foundational to Michigan’s economic success, but Michigan’s K-12 students have fallen behind. 

Despite good intentions and lots of hard work, no single policy solution or funding initiative has been able to move the needle on student outcomes in Michigan. We must holistically transform our education system and remove roadblocks to success.

Child student holding a Michigan flag and children in a classroom

Key National Metrics


In 4th Grade Reading


In 8th Grade Math


Overall Compared to Other States (Kids Count Ranking)


For High School Graduation Rate

Child doing a nature quiz for class

An outdated model

Michigan has struggled for a number of years to improve K-12 educational outcomes. Other states and many other countries are far ahead of us. Although Michigan has skilled and dedicated teachers and administrators, student test scores are among the lowest in the country. The system was built first for an agricultural economy and then transitioned to move students from the classroom to the assembly line. It has not kept up with the shifting needs of the 21st century economy.

Business Leaders for Michigan supports the Launch Michigan Framework to realign the state’s K-12 public education system to help our graduates compete in the global economy. Reinvention of the system includes strong, accountable leadership, equitable resources, and world-class performance standards. Learn more about the framework: www.launchmichigan.org.

We must
act now

We have to act with urgency to assure every child gets the support needed to be successful in and out of the classroom. After high school, every individual must have a viable pathway to college, career training or an apprenticeship.

Recommendations to Do Better by Our Kids

Enact near-term changes to accelerate improvement to K-12 system

  • Support teacher retention and growth:
    Establish future educator fellowships and support teachers through retention programs

  • Maximize dollars to classrooms: Create operational consolidation and efficiencies, drive additional service sharing, and restructure pensions

  • Invest in support programs: Provide consistent additional before/after school support and summer learning programs to help with recovery from COVID learning loss and accelerate learning
  • Track and report student outcomes: Improve our data systems to track information from early childhood to college and training enrollment and beyond to identify investments and interventions that work
  • Standardize IT systems: Link disconnected systems to gain financial and operational efficiencies and drive more dollars into the classroom

Transform our K-12 system so that we leave no student behind and a high school diploma represents a universal high standard

  • Enact a world class college/career-ready performance standard: Ensure all students can graduate high school fully prepared for post-secondary education or certificate programs
    • Ensure multiple checkpoints in a student’s educational journey (e.g., 3rd grade literacy, high school and postsecondary readiness)
  • Increase education funding: Increase per pupil funding to be competitive with top performing states

    • Prioritize equity: Direct revenue increases and growth toward students in poverty, those with special needs, and English language learners, aimed at closing achievement gaps
  • Establish meaningful consistent accountability and transparency: Establish a common set of educational goals

    • Create one easy-to-understand school rating system

    • Use standards-aligned assessments

    • Have the Department of Education report to the governor, and have the governor appoint the state superintendent

    • Modernize student and educator experience: Grow innovative education models

    • Implement competency-based learning that moves away from traditional thinking around time/age as the primary driver of content mastery

    • Expand the ability of all high school students to obtain college credit and certificates
  • Improve career and technical education (CTE) pathways:

    • Strengthen connection to employers and post-secondary credentials: Ensure CTE programs have a direct connection to employers, trades and apprenticeship programs and a path to post-secondary learning and credentials

    • Increase funding and access: Guarantee universal access and funding for students wishing to pursue quality career and technical education