Worth reading

Lots of good stuff being written about the themes we are focused on at Michigan Future. Here is a list of  recent articles I think are particularly worth reading:

A Gap in College Graduates Leaves Some Cities Behind, from the New York Times on a new analysis from Brookings. More evidence that the metropolitan areas doing the best are those with the highest proportion of adults with a four year degree or more. And that many of the metros lagging are traditional manufacturing hubs. Of course, including all of Michigan metros. What is most troublesome is the growth rates differential in college graduates in the factory based metros compared to the more prosperous metros.

Susan Demas continues her terrific writing about higher education in an MLive column entitled Why universities are being targeted with state funding cuts and raising tuition. Its a must read. Demas demonstrates that the opposition to supporting higher education in the Michigan legislature is now largely driven by the culture wars. She writes: “Unfortunately, our universities are victims of the GOP culture war, which some not-so-bright trilobites from the Paleozoic era believe will return this country to its former glory (and win the 2012 election).”

Students of Online Schools Are Lagging from the New York Times. More evidence that if you care about Michigan kids getting a quality education the recently passed legislation to make it far easier for online k-12 schooling without having to meet any quality standards is bad policy. As the Times writes: “The number of students in virtual schools run by educational management organizations rose sharply last year, according to a new report being published Friday, and far fewer of them are proving proficient on standardized tests compared with their peers in other privately managed charter schools and in traditional public schools.”

Now Coveted: A Walkable, Convenient Place a column from Chris Leinberger on a new study he did for Brookings with Mariela Alfonzo. More evidence of shifting consumer preferences away from low density suburbs to high density, walkable central city neighborhoods. Leinberger and Alfonzo found that “real estate values increase as neighborhoods became more walkable, where everyday needs, including working, can be met by walking, transit or biking.”  Central cities – as many in Michigan continue to believe – are not relics from a bygone past, but places where many now want to live.

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Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. The article about online schools is good. It may be good to give kids one or a few online classes to help them gain computer skills, but encouraging K-12 kids to take all or most of their classes online is a big mistake in most cases. Exceptions could be made for kids with emotional, physical or psychological problems preventing them from participating effectively in a traditional classroom. I think an online component within a traditional classroom could be effective. Perhaps kids could observe a world class math teacher online (for example) and then do some problems based on his/her presentation under the supervision of a traditional inclass teacher.

    I also appreciate the distinction between for profit and not for profit schools. I am generally a free enterprise kind of person. But in education I have never seen evidence that it works.

  2. Couldn’t agree more with both comments. Blended learning far more likely to work than entirely online. And for profit schools not a good track record. This notion that are current policy makers are pursuing of let the market decide almost certainly will reduce student achievement. Not a good thing.

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