Launch Michigan Releases Education Framework to Lay Future Foundation

A group of leaders in business, education, and labor, along with parents and philanthropy groups, has released a series of recommendations called The Launch Michigan Framework to transform the state’s educational system to equip students for a world economy that is increasingly remote, automated, and global.
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interior of a school classroom with wooden desks and chairs. nobody around. 3d render
The Launch Michigan Framework is designed to to transform the state’s educational system to equip students for a world economy that is increasingly remote, automated, and global. // Stock Photo

A group of leaders in business, education, and labor, along with parents and philanthropy groups, has released a series of recommendations called The Launch Michigan Framework to transform the state’s educational system to equip students for a world economy that is increasingly remote, automated, and global.

Lansing’s Launch Michigan was formed in 2018, originally seeded by Business Leaders for Michigan, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), and The Skillman Foundation. Since then, a steering committee representing a broad cross-section of education stakeholders has tapped the knowledge and expertise of both its members and state, national, and global experts in educational research and policy.

“Michigan’s kids simply do not have the same opportunities to learn and succeed as their peers in countries with which Michigan’s economy competes. Our state’s educational system was designed for the mid-20th century, and it hasn’t undergone a true reinvention since,” says Adam Zemke, president of Launch Michigan.

“Our world changes daily, and we must empower our kids to succeed by making better, smarter investments in their classroom experience that prepares them for a global 21st century economy.”

Most recently, the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), a group with a reputation for being the best education system transformers in the United States, reviewed Launch Michigan’s work to date, helping to guide its next steps and helped connect the dots between education and the economy.

The framework coalesces around three interconnected areas of focus:

Reinvention Michigan will adopt a clear and rigorous college and career readiness standard aligned to international benchmarks to establish a ‘foundation’ to be part of each student’s graduation requirements. Part of the proposal includes amendments to the state’s “Read by Grade Three” law and continuous support to ensure students — no matter where they come from — can meet high standards in a variety of ways.

Resources Michigan will adopt and adequately support a new funding system that provides a strong foundation for all and focuses on providing equitable resources to students with the greatest needs. The ideal funding system will include both an increase to the foundation allowance and weighted funding to support students with greater need. Rethinking existing expenditures and securing new revenue must be part of the solution.

ResponsibilityMichigan must evolve its regulatory structures to ensure greater effectiveness, alignment, and accountability from all education stakeholders, including having the governor appoint the state superintendent. Improvements to both the capacity and governance of the Michigan Department of Education are necessary, as are changes to the educator evaluation system and school performance measurements.

“Until we act to create an educational system that gives kids the knowledge and skills to succeed in an economy that’s increasingly advancing on a global scale, we will lag behind other states and nations and outsource the opportunities that should belong to our youngest residents,” says Jeff Donofrio, co-chair of Launch Michigan and president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “To ensure future opportunities will exist for our kids, we have to invest in the educational system capable of producing them.”

To solidify and formalize its efforts to effect change, Launch Michigan will transition its organization to that of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the coming months. In addition, NCEE has recommended that Michigan’s leaders come together to develop both a shared economic vision for the state, and recommendations connected to that vision on how to create a world class education system.

“Like all frameworks, today’s release is a starting point, not a final product,” says Zemke. “Using the framework as a foundation, Launch Michigan is asking broad groups of stakeholders and practitioners to be fully engaged in further work to make these ideas a reality.”

The full Launch Michigan Framework is available here.

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