Thriving K-12 Students and the 2020 Elections

Michigan’s children will be our next scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers, parents, laborers, artists and lawmakers, and our future depends on preparing them education, work, and life. A high-quality K-12 education matters for our future, but our results are not meeting what we need. Dropout rates are higher, and test scores are lower, for Black, Hispanic and American Indian students, and for those facing life challenges like poverty, disability and homelessness. By the time children in poverty reach 6th grade, they have spent 6,000 fewer hours learning than their peers, resulting in reduced academic success. Research shows that traditionally under served students are experiencing significant learning loss during the COVID crisis which, if left unaddressed, will only widen inequities and hurt our state.

A High-Quality Education Needs All Hands On Deck
Research and the lived experience of youth and families teach us what kids need to succeed:

Academic Tools and Pathways
Students who begin behind in school remain behind without appropriate intervention, and other students face life challenges that require additional academic support both in and out of school, particularly those experiencing foster care, homelessness or juvenile justice. For youth who need more time to complete high school, flexible credit options are limited. Read more here.

Family Skill-Building
Children learn best when their households are able to reinforce lessons from school and engage with schools and other services. However, over 40,000 Michiganders aged 18-34 have less than a ninth grade education, and many live with the effects of childhood trauma. Building caregiver skills and improving access to services for families leads to resilient and successful students. Read more here.

Skilled School Professionals
Students deserve access to teachers, counselors, health professionals, social workers and others who are trained to help students build important skills and connect with critical academic, health and social supports and services while they’re in school. Read more here.

Early Learning
Providing high-quality early learning experiences can ensure that young children have the social and cognitive skills they need to start school prepared and will help prevent an achievement gap that emerges as young as nine months of age. Read more here.

Access to Resources for Learning
Children learn best when their brains and bodies are healthy and ready to learn. Students and their families who face significant challenges benefit from school-community partnerships that provide integrated services within and outside of the school doors. Read more here.


  1. MC Toolkit