Business Leaders for Michigan Announces K-12 Education Improvement Initiative

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Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) today announced a study aimed at improving K-12 school performance in Michigan. The study marks BLM’s first attempt to identify actions that can have an impact on raising student outcomes.

“Today, most good jobs require an education or training beyond high school, and successful careers will demand it in the future” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of BLM. “Unfortunately, too many kids aren’t getting the preparation they need in their elementary and secondary education to thrive in this environment.”

Rothwell adds that the goal is to move Michigan students from the bottom quartile to the top and identify effective steps to boost the achievement of young learners. The study will focus on data, facts, and analysis. While student achievement is attributable to many different factors, BLM focuses on those within education professionals control.

“Our state’s educational achievement has declined relative to other states during the past decade,” adds Rothwell. “College and career readiness is low and remains stagnant, enrollment has slipped, and we now rank in the bottom quartile of states in fourth grade reading and eighth 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.”

The study will be conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a member of BLM. It will include data analyses of where Michigan’s students underperform compared to peers’ performance by grade, subject, ethnicity, and location.

The report will combine research and interviews of government and education professionals, especially from states with superior education performance. This will identify and strengthen education approaches into a set of high impact actions Michigan’s schools can use to improve their students’ achievement gaps. BLM will also seek the input of leading Michigan education groups and consider the findings of the Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission.

BLM is an organization that strives to make Michigan a “Top Ten” state for jobs, personal income, and a healthy economy. It is composed of chairpersons, CEOs, and the most senior executives of Michigan’s largest companies and universities. In the past, the organization has supported numerous K-12 reforms, such as increased funding for early childhood education and the adoption of high academic standards and a rigorous, aligned assessment.

The report is expected to be released in early 2018.

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