Innovation proposals aim to transform Michigan education

Lori Higgins:

Be bold. Be dramatic. Think big.
That’s what state Superintendent Mike Flanagan asked school leaders to do in coming up with plans to reimagine how kids are educated. He said it’s necessary to produce better-educated students who are more prepared to compete with their peers around the world.
This reimagine process has the potential to radically transform education in Michigan, where a quarter of students fail to graduate high school on time. Student achievement has seen only modest gains in some subjects, and has actually worsened in others. A troubling 40% of high school students failed the reading portion of the Michigan Merit Exam the last two years.
The reimagine plans could help Michigan win a slice of more than $4 billion in federal funds pledged for states with promising plans to innovate education.
Proposals so far reflect an array of ideas. For instance, students would be able to take college courses at their high school in Fitzgerald Public Schools in Warren. And in Oxford, students will be fluent in Spanish or Mandarin Chinese by the eighth grade — and start learning a stringed instrument in kindergarten.