Thursday, October 16, 2014

Michigan can learn from leading states how to work together to improve schools

Bridge • The Center for Michigan : Smartest kids: What Michigan schools can learn from leading states

“'The way this stuff gets done is two or three or four or five governors in a row keep plugging away at stuff,' former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen told The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis.
"That hasn’t happened yet in Michigan, where education reform vision often dissolves into political polarization, from fights over charter school authorization to name-calling about teacher unions.
“'What worries me about what I read is going on in Michigan is that (education reform) strategies have become tools of political battle rather than instruments for improvement,' said Paul Reville, a former Secretary of Education in Massachusetts who now teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
"Don Wotruba, director of government relations for the Michigan Association of School Boards, said Michigan lacks leadership when it comes to fixing schools.
“'I would say there is no attempt to create a plan between the policy makers in Lansing and the school people who carry out changes,' Wotruba said. 'So what we have is new legislation or edicts handed down on how schools should do things and often with conflicting directions.
“'Some real discussion on what is mutually agreeable and some time to actually implement would really help our schools,' Wotruba said, 'but few in Lansing have the patience to allow reforms to happen.'”

Additional resource: Ed Trust Midwest fact sheet on Massachusetts