Citing Poor Achievement, Business Leaders for Michigan Call for Best Practices in K-12 Education


Business Leaders for Michigan today issued its review of best practices in K–12 education and a set of principles that can lead to better student performance, with the goal of making Michigan one of the nation’s top 10 states for student learning and talent development.

BLM leaders, which collectively drive more than $1 trillion in annual revenue, say the report is aimed at prompting an important public dialogue that leads to effective fixes for the state’s poor student outcomes.

Ideas advanced in BLM’s report and principles for improvement include:

  • Maintaining high student standards and existing state assessments of student progress.
  • Effectively preparing teachers and school leaders through high quality professional development, including greater access to technology and data, and by incentivizing strong results through professional recognition.
  • Making sure dollars are being spent effectively to educate all students.
  • Ensuring all levels of Michigan’s K–12 structure is asked to meet uniform accountability and performance standards.
  • Keeping a united, sustained effort behind strategies that work.

“Too many younger workers lack the basic skills they need in literacy and math — and the problem seems to be getting worse,” says Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “It’s time for all of us to come together, learn from other states, and make things right.”

Currently, only one in four Michigan students leaves high school ready for college and career. What’s more, student achievement in math and reading — even in the very early grades — ranks among the nation’s poorest.

To accelerate action to improve Michigan’s education outcomes, a number of business, education, foundation and philanthropic organizations, and individuals have aligned, including: Business Leaders for Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber, The Education Trust Midwest, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Skillman Foundation,  the Small Business Association of Michigan, Talent 2025, Traverse City Chamber of Commerce, and Tom Haas, Grand Valley State University president and chair of the Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission.

“We need to actively help both parents and the business community become aware of the need to improve our education system,” says Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). “If our state is serious about boosting entrepreneurship and growing opportunities for more jobs and higher incomes, we need to find meaningful solutions for addressing K–12 academic achievement.”

Research and analysis for the report: Business Leaders’ Insights: Leading Practices in K-12 Education that Can Improve Student Outcomes in Michigan, was conducted by PwC in collaboration with Business Leaders for Michigan.

The data presented in this report come from several sources, most of which is publicly available. A full copy of the report is available at

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s leading business roundtable, is dedicated to making Michigan a “Top Ten” state for jobs, personal income, and a healthy economy. The organization is composed of the chairpersons, CEOs, or most senior executives of Michigan’s largest companies and universities.

Collectively, BLM members drive nearly one-third of the state’s economy, provide 390,000 direct jobs in Michigan, and serve nearly half of all Michigan public university students.

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