Today we officially launch Michigan Future Schools (MFS) as an initiative of Michigan Future, Inc. It builds on the work we have been doing for the past decade or so to figure out how to connect urban high schools students to the economy of the future. Its goal is to create new high schools at scale in Detroit and its inner ring suburbs to substantially increase the number of low income and/or minority students attending high quality schools.
MFS starts with grants from four local foundations of more than thirteen million dollars that will allow it to help launch seven new high schools over the next three years. MFI and its funders are committed to raising the funds to reach its goal of thirty five high schools in the next eight years. Schools will be chosen through an annual competition.
The three core principles of this initiative are unique:
1. We don’t care about the form of governance. All the ideological wars between public, charter and private school advocates are irrelevant to us. We will work with any school as long as it has a high likelihood that it will prepare all its students for college. MFI expects that all students enrolled in the high schools it supports will succeed in college. It has committed to its funders that at least 85% of each school’s students will graduate from high school, of those graduates at least 85% will enroll in college and of those who enroll at least 85% will earn a college degree.
2. We don’t care about where the school is located. It must be open to students from the city of Detroit, but the schools we will support do not have to be located in the city.
3. We will only work with new schools. We think new schools have a far better chance of creating the kind of culture and teaching and learning that lead to high student achievement than trying to transform failing schools.
All of us who have been involved in designing MFS are really excited about its possibilities to make a big difference. We are aiming for nothing less than creating an alternative high quality network of high schools that will compete with low quality high schools no matter who operates them!
For more information see the Michigan Future Schools page.