It’s time to row in the same direction for schools, according to a Michigan business group


The most obvious question about Michigan’s latest school reform report is also the easiest to answer.

Why is a group of companies writing about education?

For Michigan business leaders, “It’s about developing talent here at home,” said BLM President Doug Rothwell. “We want to hire Michigan students, but we can see firsthand that too many young workers lack the basic literacy and math skills they need to be successful in the workforce.

“That’s why we got involved in this study; to spark an important dialogue about how to improve student outcomes.

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The last report of the group of activities, “Insights from Business Leaders: Leading Practices in K-12 Education That Can Improve Michigan Student Outcomes,” studies best practices from leading education states and makes recommendations for changes that could help reverse Michigan’s declining K-12 system.

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The BLM’s education report, released on Tuesday, calls for:

  • High and consistent standards. Michigan changes its standards too often, according to the report.
  • Investing in the professional development of teachers and school leaders, giving them better access to data and recognizing the best students.
  • Money spent on policies that have proven to be effective and standardize those strategies across the state.

“Some of these ideas aren’t new, but they haven’t been adopted consistently in Michigan like they have in states with high student achievement,” Rothwell said.

The CEOs Plan is the latest of at least a dozen education reform reports released by various groups in Michigan in recent years.

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“We have talented people who spend countless hours trying to fix our education system,” the BLM report says, “but their efforts are rarely coordinated.”

Rothwell has said he hopes that will change now.

“Successful states have a group of business, educational, foundation, and philanthropic organizations aligned with concerns about student performance and pushing forward a cohesive, unified effort to improve outcomes,” Rothwell said.

“Today we are announcing the start of a group of Michigan organizations committed to working together for better student outcomes.”

This group includes: Michigan Business Leaders, Detroit Regional Chamber, The Education Trust-Midwest, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Skillman Foundation, Small Business Association of Michigan , Talent 2025, Traverse City Chamber of Commerce, and Tom Haas, President of Grand Valley State University and Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Education in the 21st Century.


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