Foundations Leading

Nice feature in Dome Magazine on the role Michigan foundations are playing in k-12 reform. In a period of big cutbacks in public funding, philanthropy has become the most significant catalyst for innovation.

Too many school districts and charter schools have responded to the pressures of less resources and higher student achievement standards by going back to the old ways of teaching and learning. Basically teacher lecturing students on required content. Its an approach that didn’t work for most students in the past and won’t work in the future.

As the Dome article chronicles, innovation is being led by Michigan philanthropy. Which is providing financing for new ways of delivering teaching and learning, particularly in Michigan’s central cities – where student achievement has been sub-par for decades.

In addition to the initiatives feature in Dome, Michigan Future has partnered with a number of Michigan foundations to redesign high schools. Originally in what became University High School in Ferndale. And now, with the soon to launch, high school accelerator. Foundations not only provided the funding but, maybe more importantly, were part of the design team for both initiatives.

A central component of the Michigan Future New Agenda for a New Michigan is the need to transform teaching and learning. We have a school system still designed for the economy of the past, not the future. To get that transformation its clear its going to have to led from outside the education establishment. That’s why foundation leadership is so important and hopeful.

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