Category Archives : Blog


21st century education

Someone asked me for my ideas on what should the Governor’s new 21st Century Education Commission recommend. And to do it with no more than four recommendations. Difficult assignment. Before getting to the two lists I did, a bit of context. I start with two pillars in thinking about education whether it is just k-12 […]


Talent rich cities winning

A core finding of Michigan Future’s research has been that the most prosperous places are now those with the highest proportion of adults with a four year degree. Because globalization and technology are driving us away from a factory-based to a knowledge-based economy. Knowledge-based services are almost exclusively the only sector of the economy to […]


Wrong track Michigan policy

Two must-read columns. One entitled Distractions turn dysfunction for Snyder, GOP is written by Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist. Writing about Michigan’s horrible k-12 student outcomes he writes: It’s embarrassing. It’s also a harsh indictment of the recurring public-policy fights between retrograde union interests, the education establishment and a Republican agenda determined to purge […]


Cities and schools again

Following up on my last post about the importance of quality schools and local governments I thought it worthwhile to rerun a post I wrote nearly two years ago. Its as relevant to Michigan’s future success today as it was then. I wrote: “Included in my standard presentation is this quote from Harvard economist Edward […]


Alarm bell reports

Two new reports should be setting off alarm bells among Michigan’s leaders, both political and business. One comes from Ed Trust Midwest entitled Michigan Achieves! More accurately, it would be Michigan doesn’t achieve. The report details Michigan’s status as a national laggard in student achievement and going in the wrong direction fast. All Michigan students, […]


Devaluing a four year degree

Worrisome survey results reported by the New York Times. Worth checking out and taking the one question survey. The question: “What do you think the unemployment rate is for 25-to-34-year-olds who graduated from a four-year college? (Hint: for those with only a high school degree, it’s 7.4 percent.)” The Times reports it previously did a […]


Global manufacturing employment declining 2

Every election year candidates from both parties make growing manufacturing employment a centerpiece of their economic growth strategy. One problem: no matter who wins in DC or Lansing the structural decline in manufacturing employment continues unabated. Manufacturing employment declines sharply in economic contractions and usually rebounds somewhat in economic recoveries. So there are, from time […]


Placemaking agenda: municipal finance

For more than a decade we have argued that the strategy for producing better economic outcomes that Michigan has adopted is not smart. Basically lower taxes and smaller government as the recipe for economic growth. As lower taxes produced less state revenue that meant big cuts in higher education and support for local government. And […]


Detroit schooling chaos

Good article in the Atlantic on Detroit schools entitled Detroit’s Education Catastrophe. Worth reading! The article describes the consequences of an unregulated education marketplace with little or no quality standards. You end up with too many schools chasing too few students. Which leaves all education operators unstable––both public school districts and charters. And that instability […]


Low taxes and low prosperity

More evidence that cutting taxes does not lead to higher prosperity for Michiganders. One can make a strong argument that for at least two decades Michigan’s primarily strategy for raising Michiganders living standards has been to lower taxes. Advocates for that strategy have told us over and over that the place with more and better […]