Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: Powerful backing for an effort to improve Michigan schools

Good morning and welcome to Friday!

If you’ve been paying attention to state education issues in recent years, you’ve surely seen a number of plans, proposals and recommendations from groups that have come together to solve the state’s education crisis.

The latest effort — called Launch Michigan — is a coalition of business leaders, civic groups, teachers unions and others who have been meeting over the last year to develop policy proposals that could reverse years of declines in Michigan schools. It’s not clear yet whether Launch Michigan will be any more effective than its predecessors, but as Koby reported yesterday from Mackinac Island, it’s off to a powerful start.

The Launch Michigan press conference, held during the annual Mackinac Policy Conference, drew the four top lawmakers of the state legislature, Republicans and Democrats, whose joint presence offered a sign that the group could succeed where others have failed.

Scroll down for more details and the rest of the state’s education headlines — and thanks for reading!

— Erin Einhorn, Bureau Chief

Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.

LAUNCH MICHIGAN After meeting for a year, some leaders of Launch Michigan hoped to offer final policy recommendations at the annual Mackinac conference but it took longer than expected to resolve ideological differences. Now, policy recommendations have been pushed off until December. Chalkbeat The Detroit News

PITCHING IN The head of a major local foundation raised the possibility of foundations stepping up to help the Detroit district finance the more than $500 million it needs to renovate its aging buildings. State law prohibits the district from borrowing money in more traditional ways. Crain’s

RIGHT TO READ Even as the state officially tries to end a lawsuit that accuses the state of violating Detroit children’s right to literacy, Michigan’s top legal official plans to file a brief in support of the plaintiffs. The Detroit News Michigan Radio

GETTING TO THE ROOT Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says one of the challenges to improving Detroit schools is that “people are tired” after years of failed education reforms. “No one’s really going deep enough, with enough real responsibility to say these are the fundamental roots of this problem, and we’re going to fix it at the root level,” he said. Detroit Free Press

INTERVIEW Vitti also spoke with a Detroit radio station about needed funds, school closings and other district challenges. WWJ

GRADING SCHOOLS The head of a Detroit education fund explains why state leaders should pay attention to the school grading system developed by a citywide Detroit education commission —and should more equitably fund schools. The Detroit News

JEB BUSH The former Florida governor says Michigan can learn many lessons from Florida as it tries to improve education. Among them: States can’t just make it harder for struggling readers to pass the third grade. They also have to fund reading programs. The Detroit News

BUDGET The head of a state association of school administrators explains why he supports Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed education budget. She used her platform at the Mackinac conference to make the case for increasing funding to schools. Bridge WDIV

CROWDFUNDING Two crowdfunding efforts aim to raise money for Detroit schools. Crain’s

GROSSE POINTE The state civil rights office will hold hearings in Grosse Pointe before the local school board votes on closing and consolidating schools. Grosse Pointe Times

BENTON HARBOR Residents and civic leaders in western Michigan are pushing back against a state plan to shutter a local high school. The local superintendent, meanwhile, could have a new job in the Detroit area. WSBT WNDU WSBT

FAFSA A Michigan lawmaker has proposed legislation that would require students to submit a federal financial aid form in order to graduate from high school. CapCon

READING Bridge Magazine is looking for 25 educators from across the state who teach kindergarten, first, second, or third grade to participate in a two week, moderated conversation in a closed Facebook group about Michigan’s sliding literacy rates. The conversation will inform a Bridge story on what teachers think the state should do to improve students’ reading skills. Bridge