Category Archives : Michigan Schools

Ideas to Transform Michigan Schools

Alarm bells needed II

We finished our last post this way: The bottom line: the Massachusetts approach has worked, Michigan’s hasn’t. Seems like its time for Michigan to learn from the state with the highest student achievement in the country. In this post lets look at the data. It comes from the just released 2015 NAEP, the nation’s report card […]


Alarm bells needed 2

Lots of new data on student achievement by Michigan k-12 students. All with a single conclusion: we are a national laggard. All kids, not just poor kids, minority kids, urban kids. The results from the new state M-STEP assessment show Michigan students in reading––at all tested grade levels––to be about 50% proficient. In math its […]

Work requires broad skills

More evidence that work increasingly requires broad, rather than narrow occupation specific, skills. Terrific article in the Atlantic entitled The Unexpected Schools Championing the Liberal Arts: Military academies and chef schools say the humanities are essential to their graduates’ success. How can that be you ask. Aren’t the liberal arts useless skills that lead to crushing student […]

The case for building broad skills for all 1

The Partnership for 21st  Century Learning (P21) has developed an approach to education for all children that is designed to develop the skills that employers hire for. Those same skills are the foundation that all of us will increasingly need to adjust to constant change in labor markets. What follows in bullet form is the […]

Prosperity and college attainment II

In my last post we explored the alignment between state’s per capita income and the proportion of adults with a four year degree. Increasing four year degree attainment is a powerful lever in dealing with many of Michigan’s still substantial economic challenges. Here, in bullet form, is that case: Michigan Today Michigan is now structurally […]

Saying one thing and doing another 2

I have noted frequently that business, political and media elites are increasingly advising other people’s kids not to pursue a four year degree while their kids overwhelmingly are pursuing a four year degree. The advice stems from the not accurate conventional wisdom that unless you get a four year degree in a STEM field you […]

Post secondary certificates vs. four-year degrees

Governor Snyder is in the vanguard of elected officials and business leaders who are pushing for more Michigan students to pursue occupational certificates and associate degrees with an occupational major rather than a four-year degree, particularly in non STEM fields. Supposedly we have too many of the latter and too few of the former to […]

Careers and the liberal arts

As you know we believe that successful careers going forward are going to look far more like rock climbing than ladder climbing. The notion of career ladders––known linear steps up––is increasingly out of date in a world where globalization and technology make jobs and occupations less secure. Add to that, as Daniel Pink explores in […]

Not occupation specific education 1

A central theme of our work has been that successful careers, in an economy constantly changing due to globalization and technology, requires us to be good rock climbers, rather than ladder climbers. Career ladders, where you worked your way up within an occupational category, are increasingly toast in a world where jobs and occupations are […]

Liberal arts and tech

Terrific Forbes article by George Anders entitled “That Useless Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket”. Its a must read for anyone interested in education or economic development. Conventional wisdom among folks working in either area has become that the only four year degrees or more that are needed by the economy and provide […]