Ford School researchers to study Michigan’s education governance

May 1, 2024

In partnership with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), a team of researchers from the Ford School will conduct a study into how Michigan’s education governance system can be improved for the benefit of public school students.

“An effective system of educational governance is crucial to ensuring that all children reach their potential and that Michigan is prepared to tackle the economic, political, and social challenges that lay ahead,” said Brian Jacob, co-director of the Youth Policy Lab (YPL) and principal investigator for the project. “I look forward to working with MDE and a range of stakeholders to explore how Michigan might be able to improve the structures responsible for overseeing and managing K12 schools throughout the state."

Associate professor Sarah Cohodes (Education Policy Initiative (EPI) and Stephanie Leiser, lead research for the Michigan Local Government Fiscal Health Project at the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) will serve as co-investigators.

The study will review key features of K-12 education governance in Michigan, including the structure of school districts across the state, the allocation of governance responsibilities and authority across different levels of government, the state’s school finance system, and the state’s school choice system. The researchers will rely on a variety of data sources and analytic methods, ranging from a comparative landscape analysis to interviews and surveys with key stakeholders to fiscal modeling. The study will include actionable recommendations to state leaders for governance changes that would benefit Michigan’s public school students.

State Superintendent Dr. Michael F. Rice said the study aligns with Michigan’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan in a press release. “MDE is pleased to work with Dr. Jacob on this very important study focused on education governance and ways in which governance reforms might strengthen child education outcomes statewide,” he said.

The project is slated to begin in May 2024. A final report will be delivered to MDE in April 2025.

Read the MDE Press Release.

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