Solutions Summit: An Educated Michigan

Solutions Summit: An Educated Michigan
March 22, 2018 paperlesslion
Michigan from Orbit i2 iAdj

 Leading experts discuss productive ways to reverse the state’s classroom crisis at Solutions Summit: An Educated Michigan. View the live-stream today – Thursday, March 22 — from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at


We have all heard the figures about how poorly we are educating our students in Michigan. The situation is bad, and it is growing worse at an alarming rate.

Our Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner, Bridge Magazine, compiled the following harrowing statistics:

  • Michigan is one of only five states that declined in actual performance in reading since 2003.
  • Overall, Michigan fourth grade students dropped from 28th in reading in 2003 to 38th in 2013 and 41st in 2015.
  • The problem is not restricted to underprivileged and underfunded school districts. In 2003, Michigan’s white higher-income students ranked 17th in the nation in fourth grade reading. By 2014, they ranked 45th. By 2015, they ranked 50th.

Tomorrow – Thursday, March 22 – Bridge Magazine and Business Leaders for Michigan are organizing a half-day morning conference on Michigan’s education crisis. The event will be livestreamed by Detroit Public Television (DPTV) here or it can be viewed on Facebook live via Bridge’s Facebook page.

Major education authorities, from many perspectives, will be examining the problems and potential solutions to the issues besetting our schools.

One of the highlights will be a panel, moderated by DPTV’s Christy McDonald, on states that do markedly better in educating their students than Michigan. Business Leaders for Michigan’s Jen Nelson will discuss its recently released report on “Leading Practices in K-12 Education” (see the report here).

Tennessee education policy leaders David Mansouri and Marc Hill will explain how their state surpassed  Michigan, while Massachusetts education policy leaders Paul Reville and Linda Noonan address how they became the nation’s best at K-12 education, in sharp contrast to Michigan.

Besides livestreaming the conference, DPTV will be taping its weekly news show, “MiWeek,” on location with its team of journalists – Christy McDonald, Stephen Henderson and Nolan Finley – interviewing many of the important panelists and organizers. We urge you to watch this clip of McDonald discussing education and then tune into “MiWeek” this evening at 7:30 p.m. (repeated at 9 a.m. on Sunday) on DPTV (56.1).

Here is the full agenda for the conference: 

9-9:10Welcome and opening remarks:

Doug Rothwell, President and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan, and Phil Power, Founder and Chairman, The Center for Michigan 

9:10-10:00Michigan’s education performance crisis

Moderator: Chastity Pratt Dawsey, Reporter, Bridge Magazine


  • Amber Arellano, Executive Director, Education Trust-Midwest
  • Michelle Richard, Vice President, Public Sector Consultants
  • Doug Ross, Co-Founder, American Promise Schools
  • Mike Wilkinson, Reporter, Bridge Magazine

10:00-10:55How and why other states succeed while Michigan fades

Moderator: Christy McDonald, Anchor and Reporter, Detroit Public Television


  • Marc Hill, Chief Policy Officer, Nashville Chamber of Commerce
  • David Mansouri, President, TennesseeSCORE
  • Jen Nelson, Vice President of Public Policy and Economic Development, Business Leaders for Michigan
  • Linda Noonan, Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education
  • Paul Reville, Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration, Harvard University

10:55-11:50Key education issues for 2018 statewide elections and beyond

Moderator: John Bebow, President and CEO, The Center for Michigan


  • Dave Campbell, Superintendent, Kalamazoo RESA
  • John Rakolta, Chairman and CEO, Walbridge
  • Dan Varner, CEO, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit
  • Eileen Weiser, Member, State Board of Education
  • Luke Wilcox, Math teacher, East Kentwood High School, 2017-18 Michigan Teacher of the Year

11:50-12:20: How to best support educators in the classroom

Moderator: Chastity Pratt Dawsey, Reporter, Bridge Magazine


  • Elizabeth Birr Moje, Dean, University of Michigan School of Education
  • Ralph Bland, CEO and Co-Founder, New Paradigm for Education
  • Chandra Madafferi, Vice President, Michigan Education Association
  • Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District

12:20-12:30: Thank you and closing remarks: Doug Rothwell, President and CEO, Business Leaders for Michigan, and Phil Power, Founder and Chairman, The Center for Michigan

For all of us who care about the future of our youth and our state, this is must-see viewing.