amazon and education
innovative policy solutions
The Amazon rejection of metro-Detroit was a tough wake-up call. Amazon and regional leaders noted that the primary factor in their decision was our lack of talent. With college tuition rates already out of control, a quarter of all Michigan college students spend billions of dollars on required remedial college courses because our K-12 education failed them. It's unacceptable that our kids are already behind before they even start. Our children's math and reading skills not only lag behind internationally, but they lag behind most of the US now. Michigan fourth graders ranked 28th in the country in reading achievement in 2003. In 2016, they ranked 41st. By 2030, they're projected to rank 48th. Considering the fact that early reading abilities are a leading predictor of future success, this is terribly alarming. Politicians talk about the goal of becoming a top-10 public education system in the US, ignoring the fact that we are actually steaming towards the bottom. Let's turn this around.
The truth is that we can't just increase funding. We have to strategically invest that money into successful strategies that have already turned other states' education systems around. I will only support long-term education reforms focused on the following:
- Prioritizing the students' needs -- particularly those that are struggling more than others;
- Investing in and properly compensating quality educators and administrators that demonstrate results;
- Using advanced data to figure out what's working and what's not working and then adjust accordingly;
- Laying out high, competitive standards that will prepare our students for the realities of the modern economy;
- Implementing an accountability system that (1) tailors improvement goals for each school and each district, (2) requires transparency in tracking progress towards those goals and (3) triggers action when schools or districts can't meet those goals;
- Simplifying the public education finance system so that it (1) is fair, (2) shifts resources to schools and districts that are in greater need, and (3) allows for creative investment to deal with unique problems; and
- Reigning in the extreme tuition costs at our public universities.