State Board of Education Approves Principles and Goals for Initiative

DashBoard, Dec. 16, 2015

In response to a request for suggestions on how to make Michigan a Top 10 state for education within the next 10 years, the Michigan Department of Education and State Board of Education received input from numerous stakeholders groups, including MASB, education partners and individual citizens. This valuable information was provided via formal presentations to the SBE, written submissions, one-on-one and group meetings with the State Superintendent, and more than 750 responses collected through a dedicated website.

"The state board invited MASB to be a part of the process very early on and we were happy to be involved in this very important work," said Executive Director Don Wotruba. He and MASB President Cindy Gansen testified before the board on the importance of the governance role to the success of school districts, and ultimately, student achievement.

From that information gathering, the SBE recently adopted Guiding Principles and Strategic Goals to move this initiative forward. The Guiding Principles are:

  • To be successful at becoming a Top 10 performing state in 10 years, Michigan must develop a coherent and cohesive strategy for the children, and implement that plan with continuity for multiple years. Education reform takes time; we must implement, use evidence and data to correct course, and continue with progress on key goals.
  • A “Can-Do Culture” that focuses on student-directed learning and student outcomes, and the work on instruction must take priority.
  • Data and accountability will be used to help drive resources and focus improvement activities for students and educators. Attention will be on transparency in support of key goals for the entire system to make Michigan a Top 10 state for education.
  • Poverty matters, not to be used as an excuse, but as a purpose to design a Michigan system of education that motivates and excites all children about learning, keeps them in school, and provides them with hope and knowledge for a successful future.

Additionally, the existing structure and system of education must be challenged and reshaped. Michigan must establish an educational system that grants indelible rights for all stakeholders to succeed—a system focused more on what is best for children and their learning. These are the strategic goals the SBE approved to move Michigan forward:

  1. Provide every child access to an aligned, high-quality P-20 system from early childhood to post-secondary attainment—through a multistakeholder collaboration with business and industry, labor and higher education—to maximize lifetime learning and success.
  2. Implement, with strong district and building leadership, high-quality instruction in every classroom through a highly coherent, child-centered instructional model where students meet their self-determined academic and personal goals to their highest potential.
  3. Develop, support and sustain a high-quality, prepared and collaborative education workforce.
  4. Reduce the impact of high-risk factors, including poverty, and provide equitable resources to meet the needs of all students to ensure that they have access to quality educational opportunities.
  5. Ensure that parents/guardians are engaged and supported partners in their child’s education.
  6. Create a strong alignment and partnership with job providers, community colleges and higher education to assure a prepared and quality future workforce; and informed and responsible citizens.
  7. Further develop an innovative and cohesive state education agency that supports an aligned, coherent education system at all levels (state, ISD, district and school).

Since Gansen and Wotruba gave their presentation to the SBE, MASB has been a part of two meetings where these goals were worked on, and is now working with MDE and other education stakeholders on the strategies that will be implemented to achieve the goals.

"We are so pleased to know the SBE and the State Superintendent understand the importance of locally elected school board members and have made us an important part of setting the education direction for Michigan over the next 10 years," Wotruba said.

Once the strategies are finalized, State Superintendent Brian Whiston will be bringing a finalized plan to the SBE early next year.

Source: Top 10 in 10 Years infographic. Michigan Department of Education, Dec. 9, 2015.

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