Ann Arbor-based non-profit Michigan Future today announced the findings of a report on the state’s current educational structure. The report, “Improving Student Outcomes from Education, Birth to College,” offers several proposed adjustments on how to better prepare students for future careers.
While the report notes the volatility of Michigan’s economy and other forces outside of policymakers’ control, it calls for a complete overhaul of educational priorities, and pushes for attainment of higher education.
“To thrive in an economy characterized by constant change, workers have to be adaptable, have a broad base of knowledge, be creative problem solvers, and be able to communicate well with others,” says Lou Glazer, Michigan Future president. “In other words, workers need to be really good at the skills computers aren’t good at. Our education system needs to change from today’s focus on rote learning and test taking to one that recognizes the changes under way in how humans earn a living.”
Michigan currently ranks 32nd nationwide in adults with a four-year degree or more, and is falling further in K-12 student performance. To counter the state’s decline in achievement, Glazer says more emphasis must be placed on fully developing students with a diversified skill set.
“If Michigan is going to be a place with a broad middle class where employers have the supply of skilled workers they need and kids regularly do better than their parents, it will happen because the state made a commitment to provide an education system for all from birth through higher education that builds rigorous broad skills that are the foundation of successful forty-year careers,” he adds.
To reach the goal, the nonprofit organization suggests redesigning curriculum around the six C’s: collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creativity, and confidence. Michigan Future also believes the state’s education system would benefit from a shakeup in who is being held liable in instances of student failure. The report calls for more accountability to be placed on educators and a reinvention of how the educators themselves are being developed.
Additionally, the non-profit proposed more funding for all non-affluent students, and incentives to encourage collaboration between every class of students.
The full report can be read here.