Creative Accounting  And Michigan’s Weak Safety Net

Creative accounting and Michigan’s weak safety net

This year, as the welfare reforms instituted under President Clinton turned 20, NPR's Marketplace started a podcast called the Uncertain Hour, which takes a deep look at the consequences of those reforms. And in the fourth episode, Michigan takes a starring role. First, some background. In 1996, the United States ended Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), otherwise known…

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Holding Management Accountable For School Results

Holding management accountable for school results

One of the main lessons we learned from our Michigan Future Schools initiative is, contrary to conventional wisdom, the core characteristic of pre K-12 schools nationally that are getting breakthrough gains in student achievement is the commitment and capability of the management of schools (the central office of both charter school networks and traditional public school districts), not building level…

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Finally Rising Household Incomes

Finally rising household incomes

2015 turns out to be the year that a growing economy finally delivered rising incomes for low and middle income Americans and Michiganders. Median household income nationally rose 5.2 percent. In Michigan 2.4 percent. Michigan's median household income in 2015 was $51,084 compared to $56,517 for the nation. The poverty rate fell nationally from 14.8 to 13.5 percent. In Michigan the…

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Why A Liberal Arts Degree Holds Value In The Second Machine Age

Why a liberal arts degree holds value in the second machine age

I recently caught up with an old friend whose daughter graduated from high school this year. My friend’s pride in her high-achieving child was obvious, but when I asked about her daughter’s intended college major, her enthusiasm was noticeably muted. She admitted that her daughter’s decision to study musical theatre at a liberal arts college was a source of anxiety and…

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$5.5 Billion Reasons Michigan Should Stop Short-changing Its Cities

$5.5 billion reasons Michigan should stop short-changing its cities

According to a 2016 Great Lakes Economic Consulting report entitled Michigan's Great Disinvestment, 11 Michigan cities, one township, one county, and five school districts are in official states of financial emergency. Though cities around the country have struggled with municipal finance, especially in the wake of the Great Recession, the problem has been particularly acute in Michigan. This is at least…

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