Education Inequities – Michigan’s Youth are Inadequately Prepared for Future Employment - American Society of Employers - Heather Nezich

Education Inequities – Michigan’s Youth are Inadequately Prepared for Future Employment

The K-12 District Comparison Dashboard, recently released by Launch Michigan, offers valuable insights into Michigan's public education system.  Unlike previous tools, this dashboard allows for comparisons between Michigan districts and those in high-performing states, revealing significant disparities:

  • 88% of Michigan districts underperform in math. 
  • 70% of Michigan districts underperform in reading. 
  • 71% of Michigan districts underperform in graduation rates. 

A majority of Michigan districts are lagging behind in math, reading, and graduation rates compared to their peers in top-performing states. These findings highlight the need for educational transformation in Michigan.

View the complete District Comparison Dashboard here.

Why This Matters

The vitality of our economy and Michigan's capacity for growth hinge on adequately preparing our youth for future employment opportunities. The data from this dashboard illuminates the need for systemic overhaul rather than mere band-aid solutions. This entails robust, accountable leadership, equitable distribution of resources, and adoption of globally competitive performance benchmarks.

How do we Improve It?

Business Leaders for Michigan is a founding member of Launch Michigan, who released the dashboard. They are championing K-12 restoration and stated in a recent email that we need to:

  • Establish rigorous performance standards – In Michigan, a high school diploma typically signifies attendance and exposure to required subjects, lacking assurance of competency or readiness for future careers. Emulating top-performing states, we must set higher statewide standards, prioritize readiness for college and careers, and stress 21st-century skills crucial for upcoming job markets.
  • Reform governance structures – A more effective governance system for public education is imperative, one that champions transparency, prioritizes student welfare, and catalyzes sustained performance growth. Empowering the state superintendent and Michigan Department of Education to be accountable to the governor is pivotal for instituting enduring reforms.
  • Optimize classroom resources and ensure fair funding – Efforts are ongoing to direct funding into classrooms, where it can have the most significant impact on students. We must allocate new funding with an equity-focused approach, targeting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with special needs, and English language learners. This strategy aims to narrow achievement disparities and enhance overall educational outcomes.

How You Can Help

While this data is concerning, we have the power to change and create a better Michigan for our children. Support the Launch Michigan Framework for K-12 transformation and urge Michigan's leaders to do the same.


Sources: Business Leaders for Michigan; Launch Michigan

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