September 10, 2015

Making Michigan a Top 10 Education State     

On Tuesday, the first day back to school for 1.5 million Michigan schoolchildren, President & CEO Matt Gillard shared Michigan’s Children’s recommendations for improving the state’s education system by focusing on the need to close the learning gap by taking a cradle-to-career look that truly supports the challenges faced by children, youth, families, schools, and communities today. 

Matt joined nearly two dozen groups and individuals, including Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who testified before the State Board of Education and School Superintendent Brian Whiston following Whiston’s call for strategies to make Michigan a top 10 education state within 10 years. 

See Matt’s presentationread his new commentary which appeared Tuesday in Bridge magazine, and read our Issues brief for further details on Michigan’s Children’s plan. 

Exploring the Benefits of Summer Learning 

For many children who attended summer camps and other enrichment opportunities, they start the new school year ahead of where they left in June. That can’t be said for many students who weren’t able to attend expanded learning programs for reasons including financial constraints or other barriers to access. The evidence is clear: Providing kids with ongoing learning opportunities is the key to preventing summer learning losses, not easily made up through the school year. 
Vice President for Programs Michele Corey reflects on summer learning and the start of a new school year, participating in the traditional, end-of-the-summer Mackinac Bridge walk on Labor Day.  Read her blog, “Starting Today a Step Ahead or a Step Behind,” and learn more about the need for access to summer opportunities for all children

September is Attendance Awareness Month

During Attendance Awareness Month, the national Attendance Works initiative and the Healthy Schools Campaign draw attention to the critical nature of who’s missing school and why. Their report, “Mapping the Early Attendance Gap: Charting a Course for Student Success,” explores how gaps in attendance disproportionately affects students from vulnerable populations, low-income families, children of color and those with disabilities. Breaking out attendance by race, income and disability, the report shows Michigan’s absentee rates for 4th and 8th graders are higher than national averages for all racial groups – whites, African-Americans, Hispanic and Asians – but significantly higher for students who are African-American and Hispanic, contributing to unacceptable learning gaps.  

Communications Consultant Teri Banas blogs about the report and reflects on her own experiences with attendance as a high school teacher.  Read her blog here, and learn more about successful models for improving attendance.   

Meet Elena, Our Newest Staff Member

Elena Brennan, a master’s of social work candidate at Michigan State University, joins the Michigan’s Children staff this month as an intern.  
Brennan, who graduates in 2016, brings experience in a number of areas. She previously worked in MSU’s Adolescent Diversion Program, directed the Lansing-based youth mentorship program, Youth Advancement Through Athletics, and interned with the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.
We’re excited to have Elena here and look forward to the contributions she will make in our vital public policy work on behalf of children, youth and families!

Read her blog here.  
Advocacy tips to help you stand up and speak out for Michigan children. 
Did great things happen for young people in your community this summer?  Were some kids left out of those experiences? Your legislators need to hear about it, and all you need to do is send them an email or give them a call.  

Learn how to get in touch with who represents you on the Michigan’s Children’s website
Direct Quotes
“Michigan's Children tells SBE, equal student resources does not mean equal education opportunity; some need more to learn.”
 -- John Austin, President
Michigan State Board of Education

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Speaking for Kids is Michigan's Children's twice-a-month e-bulletin that offers public policy and budget information relating to children, youth and families in our state. 

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