The course has been set for educational and economic success in Michigan's future. We know what we need. Do we have the courage to get there?
Educational IS economic development in Michigan. A high quality education will provide a high-quality, highly-skilled workforce for the evolving needs of this global economy.
If many of the manufacturing jobs of the 20th Century are being shipped out to other nations, then we need to retrofit Michigan's economy. Governor Jennifer Granholm recognizes this, as do the top business leaders in this state. The Governor began with a call to double the number of college graduates and followed that with a guaranteed Michigan Promise scholarship for all Michigan students, she relentlessly pushes forward for new jobs in the growing-demand areas of health care and alternative energy, and has developed an aggressive worker re-training program called No Worker Left Behind.
Likewise, business and industrial leaders in Michigan know that to stay competitive with world markets, they must update their products and production systems. To get a manufacturing job on a 21st century production line, a worker needs advanced training and education far beyond high school.
It all boils down to education-either the first time around for young students today, or in a re-training program for Michigan's current workforce.
The State Board of education has led the alignment of curriculum and grade-level learning expectations from Kindergarten through 12th grade. The State Board, the Governor, state Legislature and the state's business leaders worked together to develop the Michigan Merit Curriculum-the most rigorous high school graduation requirements in the nation. A workforce with this foundation will drive Michigan's economy.
For this rigorous curriculum to really work, however, we need to retrofit our education system too. We need a...