Editor’s Note: Can Michigan lead in education?
There’s no shortage of groups that have ideas about making Michigan a top state in the country for education. Now Gov. Rick Snyder wants to get in the mix. As he said in his State of the State address in January, Snyder is putting together the 21st Century Education Commission to focus on improving education in the state. He made it official this week through an executive order.
According to the governor’s office, the commission is tasked with looking at what top performing education states are doing and what’s holding back schools here. Michigan’s K-12 public schools keep falling behind on national standardized tests and rank in the bottom 10 in the nation in fourth grade reading and math.
Snyder wants to reverse that trend, and he’s asked the commission to report back to him by Nov. 30 — a tall order. The commission, which is to be composed of 25 members from a variety of backgrounds, will recommend ways to restructure schools in the state. The appointments are expected soon.
The commission should take a close look at how Michigan is one of only seven states that gives the governor so little direct control of the state education department and its governing body. That’s partly why even though the State Board of Education and Michigan Department of Education have put together their own blueprint for making Michigan a “top 10” state for schools, Snyder wants his own report.
That would take a change in the state constitution, but it’s worth considering.