Frequently Asked Questions

What is Launch Michigan about?

The organizations involved in Launch Michigan care deeply about education and our state’s collective future. That’s why we want a student-centered system—one that helps every child succeed in school, in their career, and in life. We understand implicitly that a strong, thriving public education system is the cornerstone of successful kids, prosperous communities, and a strong economy.

How is it different from other efforts or groups trying to improve education?

This is historic! Launch Michigan is a never-before-assembled partnership of business, education, labor, philanthropy, and state and community leaders—all the players necessary to get things done. These groups haven’t come together in quite this way before, so we’re very optimistic about the potential of our diverse and growing collection of unlikely allies.

We have seen other places with similar challenges figure out how to make education better, in large part, by bringing together unique partners who are committed to working long-term on a common agenda grounded in best-practice research. We believe Michigan can do this too. In fact, our goal is to make Michigan a top 10 education state.

What does the partnership intend to do?

Launch Michigan is in the early stages of collaboration and will be working to flesh out a shared agenda in the months ahead. At this point, we’ve identified the following priorities:

  • Leveraging existing research and conducting a statewide educator survey, among other activities, as a way of listening to and supporting our educators.
  • Supporting shared, statewide, research-driven strategies for delivering effective education to all students and sticking to those strategies regardless of politics and election cycles, so we can see what really works.
  • Supporting a fair and comprehensive accountability system that includes everyone who influences education—not just teachers.
  • Elevating public awareness about the current state of education in Michigan.

Do you plan to seek additional resources for K-12 education?

We know that every public policy issue has a financing component that must be considered. Right now, we just don’t have answers to all the funding questions. What we do have, unequivocally, is a deep commitment and willingness to come to the table with open minds and cooperative spirits to seek innovative, shared solutions.

How is Launch Michigan talking about the education problem facing our state?

Countless reports and research are clear: Michigan is facing an education crisis. None of us are strangers to that or to education data. In fact, many of us have participated in past research and other efforts that we believed would lead to improvement. But, so far, we haven’t been able to move the needle enough. We want—and must—do significantly better for every child, every school, and our state.

What we don’t want to do this time around, though, is to get stuck defining and re-defining the problem. Instead, we want to move forward together to seek viable solutions grounded in research.

What’s the partnership’s timeline?

We all agree that the issues we’re facing require a sense of urgency and we’re committed to taking immediate action. First and foremost, we want to flesh out a shared agenda over the summer and get it in front of candidates and elected officials in the fall.

On a parallel track, we will continue to work together to craft solutions to the tough issues we’re facing—issues that will take time to implement and even longer to see the concrete results of. For that reason, we’re committed to this effort for the long-haul.

Why is Michigan struggling so much to improve education? Who’s to blame?

Let’s be perfectly clear—no single group or entity is to blame for the education crisis in Michigan. We all created our system together, and now we have to improve it together. Everyone has a role to play. If we work together, we can get this done. This unprecedented partnership is the key.

There have been numerous legislative and other efforts made by well-intentioned lawmakers and groups in the past. Why do you believe this one will succeed?

“Numerous” is right! One of the biggest challenges we have in Michigan is that we keep asking educators to hit a moving target. With each election cycle, the goals shift. We must be willing to stick with our shared strategies long enough to see what really works, regardless of politics. If we don’t do that, we can’t—and won’t—succeed in the long-run. That’s simply not acceptable for our kids or the future of our state.

The devil is in the details. All the things Launch Michigan is talking about are very high-level. Do you believe you will be able to set aside individual agendas when you start getting down to specifics?

That’s why we are at the table—to build a shared agenda. We all know this won’t be easy, otherwise it would’ve been done before. But, the time is now. We believe that with this group it is possible to make meaningful and lasting change. We’re willing to roll up our sleeves and do what’s necessary to build a strong, thriving public education system for Michigan’s children—together.

It’s a big election year. How can you stop partisan politics from derailing this effort?

While the Launch Michigan partners may disagree on who the best candidate for a particular position is, this effort is about working with whomever gets elected. That’s one of the fundamental points of our momentous collaboration—education can no longer be a partisan issue in Michigan. Our kids and our state need and deserve better. Our group wants to be a collective resource with a shared agenda and research-driven path forward, regardless of who our next state lawmakers or governors are.

Will the partnership endorse a candidate for governor?

No. The whole purpose is to work cooperatively—regardless of political affiliations—to support a sound improvement strategy that transcends politics and election cycles. What we expect of our children and educators should not change depending on who is in office.

What about charters? Where do they fit into the equation?

Charter public schools and traditional public schools are both parts of a cohesive education system that serves all children and prepares them to succeed.

What about early learning and institutions of higher education. How do they fit in?

While this effort is focused on the needs of the K-12 system, we understand that what happens from birth until kindergarten and after high school graduation is integral to high quality, lifelong learning. For that reason, our partnership will look for opportunities to improve bridges into and out of the system.