Editor’s Note: Mich. kids need biz leaders’ help

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

It’s common knowledge that Michigan’s schools are doing sub-par work to prepare its students for a competitive world. Test scores keep sliding, as our neighboring states are managing to do better.

So must Michigan. And the business community and other groups are taking notice. That’s an important voice that has been largely lacking so far.

The state has put in place higher standards and more meaningful accountability for students and teachers. To reap results, it must stay the course now. That’s the message a newly formed coalition, which includes the Education Trust-Midwest, Detroit Regional Chamber and Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, wants to spread.

A new federal education law, the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, gives states and local districts much more discretion over school accountability. And the coalition is offering state Superintendent Brian Whiston and the State Board of Education some guidance as they put together a plan for complying with the law.

The coalition says it wants the state to focus on academic excellence for all students, closing achievement gaps for underserved students and transparent information for families.

“It’s no secret that not enough of our students are adequately prepared for life after high school,” stated Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Chamber.

“The success of our region depends on the success of our talent. It is critical that Michigan’s ESSA plan prioritizes equal access and opportunity for all students.”

It’s a message that needs heard.