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24 January 2013

The Center for Michigan’s new report on public attitudes on school reform drew widespread coverage from Michigan’s media this week.

* “A majority of Michigan residents give the state’s public K-12 schools a grade of “C” or lower, and they see the best ways to fix the system as expanding access to preschool and improving teacher preparation, support and accountability, according to report issued Tuesday by the Center for Michigan.”

* Michigan Radio: “‘The public recognizes a need for more attention to the idea that school doesn’t begin the first day a child walks into the kindergarten classroom. There is a thirst for more attention to early childhood [education]. In contrast to early childhood, where we see a lot of policy development, the second issue we heard about was teacher preparation. Educators are some of the strongest proponents of this themselves,’ said (CFM President John) Bebow.

* Detroit Free Press: “Many Michigan lawmakers see school choice and online learning as keys to improving the state’s education system, but a year-long survey of Michigan residents released today shows a disconnect between what lawmakers want and what the public wants.”

* Detroit News: “Michiganians gave the state’s public school system mediocre grades in an extensive study released Tuesday by The Center for Michigan that also found residents are skeptical of proposed reforms to expand online learning, lengthen the school year and allow universal open enrollment.”

* Detroit News: “On Tuesday, the Center for Michigan released the results of a yearlong study that showed strong public support for increasing investment in early childhood programs, which research has shown improves long-term educational achievement.”

* WLNS-TV (Lansing): “‘It’s a pleasant surprise to see a compelling public mandate for early childhood education,’ said John Bebow with the Center for Michigan. ‘It’s a quick win because the public is behind the politicians and no one is going to be voted out of office for helping four year olds get an early education.’”

* (Livingston County): “But what does the public feel about these reforms? The Center for Michigan, an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit think tank started by the former owner of this newspaper, took a shot at that question through a yearlong public engagement campaign. The results, released Tuesday, point to a disconnect between Michigan lawmakers and the residents they represent.”

* Troy “The Center for Michigan has released a report based on last year’s conversations about education held during community meetings across the state, including one in Troy. … Michigan State University economics professor Charles Ballard said the size of the sampling indicates the report “will be an accurate representation of public opinion on these issues.” It is being shared with state lawmakers.”


* Battle Creek Enquirer: “The ultimate goal of the center’s effort was to generate a report that could be shown to lawmakers in hopes public opinion could become policy. Meanwhile, any policy shift in Lansing toward the center’s findings could throw state support behind local grassroots efforts already under way. The findings ‘demonstrate that we’re doing the right work,’ said Terance Lunger, superintendent of the Calhoun Intermediate School District. ‘It’s a validation that we’re on the right track.’”

* Gongwer (paywall-protected): “Michigan residents favor stronger support for educators, improving teacher preparation and expanding early childhood education as the top three priorities to improve student learning in public education, the Center for Michigan concluded after a year-long project that conducted 264 community conservations across the state and polled about 1,900 people over the phone.”

* Crain’s Detroit Business (paywall-protected): “A report on the state’s K-12 education system that was released this morning by the Center for Michigan found that residents across the state give the system a grade of ‘C’ or worse, think more money should be spent to fix it, and don’t necessarily agree with some of the ways politicians in Lansing have been trying to address the problems in the past two years.”

* MIRS (paywall-protected): “The timing is excellent and the public is willing, according to the Center for Michigan. Now, it’s up to lawmakers to advance some big reforms for public education. This morning, the Center released the results of what’s its founder called ‘the largest-ever attempt” to gauge public attitudes on public education in the state.’ The report, entitled ‘The Public’s Agenda for Public Education,’ found mandates for lawmakers to expand early childhood education, to create a new teacher evaluation system and to develop a system for recognizing so-called ‘master teachers.’”

* Mackinac Center for Public Policy: “According to polling data and ‘conversations’ held by the Center for Michigan, the general public is less interested in expanding school choice than it is in other policy options. More than 50 percent of poll respondents said that increasing school choice in Michigan was important, but other options, such as providing ‘stronger support for educators’ or improving ‘teacher preparation’ were more popular.

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