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Launch Michigan Releases Framework to Transform MI Education

Launch Michigan has released a framework aimed at transforming Michigan’s educational system to equip students for a world economy that is increasingly remote, automated and global.

Teacher talking to children at a table and smiling

Launch Michigan has released Reinventing Public Education in Michigan, a framework designed to be a foundation for transforming Michigan’s educational system to equip students for a world economy that is increasingly remote, automated and global.

Launch Michigan was formed in 2018, originally seeded by Business Leaders for Michigan, the Michigan Education Association and CMF member the Skillman Foundation. It is a collaborative of education, philanthropy, business and other leaders across the state, including CMF and several CMF members.

The framework is the first phase of Launch Michigan’s work to prepare Michigan’s children for success and outlines how the proposals were developed and how they can work to create improvements.

“The Skillman Foundation is proud to have seeded this effort. Every student in Michigan deserves a stronger, better resourced system that prepares them for the realities of our changing economy,” Punita Dani Thurman, Launch Michigan co-chair, Skillman Foundation vice president of program & strategy and CMF trustee said. “This is a critical moment to see such a broad spectrum of leaders coming together to call for transformation and commit to see it through to policy and practice change. The voices of philanthropic and nonprofit leaders are essential to ensure equity remains at the center.”  

CMF trustees Kathleen Bushnell Owsley, president of the Bosch Community Fund and Faye Alexander Nelson, director of Michigan programs at W.K. Kellogg Foundation also serve on the Launch Michigan steering committee.

“We have been proud to fund and serve on the steering committee of Launch Michigan since 2020,” Nelson said. “We are pleased that the framework produced by this initiative recognizes the crucial role early childhood education plays in providing all children in Michigan access to a high quality education, and the importance of equitable funding for children – ensuring that those most vulnerable receive the additional support they need to thrive.”

The recommendations are organized into three key pillars of reinvention, resources and responsibility:


  • Adopt a clear and rigorous college and career readiness standard, aligned to international benchmarks, to establish a foundation that is to be part of each student’s graduation requirements.
  • Ensuring that all public high school students have access to rigorous, multiple post-secondary pathways including traditional college prep, opportunity to earn a full associates degree, advanced placement pathways, dual-enrollment pathways and robust 21st-century career/technical education pathways.
  • Amend the state’s Read by Grade Three law to eliminate the retention requirement while enhancing the elements that have been shown to enhance early literacy success.


  • Adopt and support a new funding system that provides a strong foundation for all and focuses on providing equitable resources to students with the greatest needs, including those in poverty and enrolled in special education.
    • Distribute new funds utilizing a localized strategic planning process to help guide the use of practices proven to improve student success.
    • The new funding system will require significant additional investment, which should come from increased revenues and cost efficiencies, connected and sequenced together.
  • Create career pathways, including negotiated minimum salaries, for educators that are competitive with similarly educated private and public sector careers.


  • Evolve the state’s PK-12 regulatory structures to ensure greater coherence and effectiveness.
    • Changes to MDE governance and function must be made to help ensure greater accountability for Michigan’s educational performance, including having the Governor appoint the State Superintendent.
  • Develop and implement a plan to ensure all ISDs/regional service agencies offer consistent and equitable services no matter where they are in Michigan, and to ensure these agencies are in alignment with both state and local needs.
  • Data systems and reporting requirements must be updated, overhauled and streamlined to ensure better decision.
  • Michigan’s educator evaluation framework must be replaced and strengthened to have a focus on supporting educator growth, reducing its reliance on standardized assessments.

“Michigan’s kids simply do not have the same opportunities to learn and succeed as their peers in countries with which Michigan’s economy competes. Our state’s educational system was designed for the mid-20th century, and it hasn’t undergone a true reinvention since,” Adam Zemke, president of Launch Michigan said in a press release. “Our world changes daily, and we must empower our kids to succeed by making better, smarter investments in their classroom experience that prepares them for a global 21st century economy.”

Launch Michigan has engaged the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) to review these proposals and suggest ways to build upon them, helping to guide its next steps and connect the dots between education and the economy.

According to a press release, to solidify and formalize its efforts to effect change, Launch Michigan will transition its organization to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the coming months.

Want more?

Read the full framework.

Read the National Center on Education and Economy’s full review of the framework.