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Thinking Globally About Michigan Education. Brian Rowan School of Education Institute for Social Research University of Michigan. Themes. Michigan is in the midst of a major economic transition.

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thinking globally about michigan education

Thinking Globally About Michigan Education

Brian Rowan

School of Education

Institute for Social Research

University of Michigan

  • Michigan is in the midst of a major economic transition.
  • The building of a “world class” education system in Michigan will be important to the success of that transition.
  • Currently, Michigan’s K-12 education system is not among the best in the world (or even the USA).
  • So: What can Michigan educators learn from global trends in educational achievement and improvement?
michigan and the global economy
Michigan and the Global Economy
  • In 2008, Michigan ranked 8th among U.S. states in the $$ value of exports.
  • Michigan’s economy is the size of Argentina’s.
  • Michigan’s place in the world economy is due in large part to the Big 3 automakers.
    • 46% of all Michigan exports involve transportation equipment.
    • Michigan’s biggest trade partners are: Canada (53%), Mexico, Germany, Japan, and China
    • 72% of all export value was produced in the Detroit metro area
  • More than 10,000 companies in Michigan are engaged in exporting.
    • 89% are small companies
    • But, small companies account for only 12% of export value

Export Jobs as Percent of Total

In 2005, 1 in 5 jobs in Michigan was

export related.

michigan s economic transition
Michigan’s Economic Transition
  • Michigan is experiencing its longest period of job loss since the Great Depression.
  • Unemployment is now at 12.9%.
  • The manufacturing sector has been hardest hit, especially the automotive sector, with nearly 10 straight years of job losses (see Table).
michigan and the new economy
Michigan and the New Economy
  • Many analysts believe Michigan must make a transition to the “new” economy if we are to maintain our historic standard of living.
  • The new economy is:
    • a knowledge-based economy
    • where innovative ideas and technologies raise productivity, asset values, and standards of living
  • The new economy is indexed by:
    • Growth in the service sector (education services, financial services, professional/technical/scientific services, business management services)
    • Research and development to enhance productivity
    • Employment in “high tech” industries (e.g., info-tech, nano-tech, bio-tech)
can michigan make the transition
Can Michigan Make the Transition?
  • Michigan is not without strengths in this area:
    • It is an engineering center
    • It has strong universities and R&D activities
    • It attracts foreign investment and foreign talent
    • It has a growing “knowledge” economy
how k 12 education can help
How K-12 Education Can Help
  • Many factors will determine Michigan’s success in transitioning to a “new” economy.
  • K-12 education will be a key to this transition.
  • That is because quality of education—as judged by STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT SCORES—is associated with economic development.
  • Eric Hanushek estimates that for every one standard deviation increase in student test scores, economic growth rates increase by 1%.
  • Figure 2 projects what might happen after an education reform that increased student achievement by 1/2 s.d over three time periods.
  • The Lesson: Slow but steady education reform ultimately produces increased economic growth!
can education drive michigan s transition
Can Education Drive Michigan’s Transition?
  • To answer that question, we’ll first compare U.S. educational outcomes to outcomes in other countries.
    • Key “benchmark” countries are:
      • English speaking nations
      • European countries
      • Asian countries (Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore)
  • Then, we’ll locate Michigan’s educational outcomes within the distribution of U.S. outcomes generally.
  • In both cases, we’ll want to look at:
    • Student achievement near the end of “basic” education
      • Means
      • Disparities
    • Post secondary outcomes
  • We’re asking, does Michigan have a “world class” education system?

International Comparisons:

Where Does the U.S. Stand?

the u s also lags in educational achievement international comparisons pisa
The U.S. Also Lags in Educational Achievement: International Comparisons (PISA)
  • Why PISA?
  • Test measures knowledge use in
  • reallife situations
  • Test assesses students near end of
  • “basic” schooling (age 15).
  • ------------------
  • U.S. 15 year olds typically had lower achievement scores than:
  • All English speaking nations (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom
  • All Asian nations
  • Most European nations (except in reading)
u s educational outcomes international comparisons meta analysis
U.S. Educational Outcomes: International Comparisons (Meta Analysis)
  • Other testing programs show similar results.
  • A meta analysis of results from multiple international assessment programs shows that U.S. students typically fall in the middle of the pack.
  • Two exceptions:
  • Reading
  • Civics
pisa also shows substantial ethnic disparities in u s educational outcomes
PISA Also Shows Substantial Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Educational Outcomes

1 sd = 100 points.

Black gap to OECD average = .91 sd;

Hispanic gap to OECD average = .61 sd

how far behind world standards are u s minority students
How Far Behind World Standards Are U.S. Minority Students?

1 s.d. = 100 points. Black gap to Finland = 1.5 sd; Hispanic gap to Finland = 1.24 sd.


PISA also Shows Income Disparities in Achievement:On the PISA (2006) science test, the U.S. had below average achievement and above average SES disparities in achievement

michigan education in national perspective source quality counts
Michigan Education in National Perspective(Source: Quality Counts)

By most indicators, Michigan is average in terms of tested achievement. Moreover,

tested achievement and achievement gaps have been fairly stable this decade.

More Evidence of Disparities(Michigan’s low income and minority students perform below comparable students in most other states.)

Trends shown here are for 8th grade math. But, trends are similar for reading.

michigan s reputation
Michigan’s Reputation

This chart labels Michigan

as low in achievement and

high in achievement dispar-


It measures disparities in

terms of % minority student

concentration in low

achieving schools.

It measures achievement

in terms of % proficient on


Ranks are above and below

national average and do not

take into account statistical

significance of state-to-

state differences.

Source: Lost Opportunity, Scott Foundation for Public Education (8th grade math

other quality indicators graduation rates
Other Quality Indicators: Graduation Rates

Michigan ranks in

the middle of the

pack on graduation


Source: NCES

MI Four Year Cohort Graduation Rates

2007 75.45%

other quality indicators michigan s disturbing disparities in graduation rates 2003 2004
Other Quality Indicators: Michigan’s Disturbing Disparities in Graduation Rates (2003-2004)

African American 32%

Asian 67%

Latino 35%

White 73%

Source: Education Trust, Inc., Education Watch-Michigan (2006)

other quality indicators michigan s college going population is taking a rigorous curriculum
Other Quality Indicators: Michigan’s college going population is taking a rigorous curriculum

Source: Achieve, Inc., American Diploma Project, Michigan Report, 2008

and more michigan students are taking ap exams
AND: More Michigan Students Are Taking AP Exams

Source: Achieve, Inc., American Diploma Project, Michigan Report, 2008

but postsecondary participation and persistence lag behind top states and show real disparities
But, Postsecondary Participation and Persistence Lag Behind Top States and Show Real Disparities

Source: Education Trust, Inc., Education Watch-Michigan (2006)

why education disparities are important
Why Education Disparities Are Important
  • Michigan’s population will grow slowly over the next two decades (MI will fall from 10th to 11th in state population rank).
  • Michigan will continue to have a majority White population (>75%) in the next two decades.
  • But, almostALLpopulation growth over the next two decades will occur among Black and Hispanic populations.

What Michigan Can Learn from Other Countries:

Global Trends in Educational Improvement

explanations for cross national differences in academic achievement
Place in world system:

Economic development status

Historic civilizations

Education “system” variables


Standards and accountability

Inspection/improvement regimes

Time/Opportunity to Learn

Cross-sector alignment


Training models

Well-developed teaching profession


Societal planning models

Cross-sector coordination/trust

Consistent leadership

National commitment

National Culture Models

Life cycle emphasis (early/late)


Out-of-school resources

Explanations for Cross-National Differences in Academic Achievement
economic development historic civilization
Economic Development/Historic Civilization
  • There is a “world model” of schooling.
  • It diffused from the north to the south
  • (1st to 2nd to 3rd world).
  • Later adopters generally have lower levels
  • of “school” knowledge than early adopters
  • Later adopters also face different issues
  • in educational management/improvement:
    • Motivating participation rates
    • Mobilizing education resources
    • Government efficiency
  • The countries we benchmark against are
  • are more highly developed
among developed nations spending and achievement are weakly related
Among Developed Nations Spending and Achievement Are Weakly Related

The USA is among developed nations

with high education spending, but lower


In the U.S., research does not show a

Consistent relationship between spending

and achievement.


education system models centralization decentralization
Education System Models:Centralization/Decentralization
  • The US has a decentralized education system.
  • We often think that other (non-English-speaking) nations are more centralized.
  • But, the “world” model of education is moving toward decentralization
  • Centralization/decentralization occur across many dimensions of decision making.
  • The new “world” model typically has centralized standards and test-based accountability
  • But there is huge variation cross-nationally in centralization of other functions, like:
      • Curriculum
      • Instructional practice
      • Resource allocation decisions:
        • Control over funding
        • Control over instructional materials (textbooks)
        • Control over teacher hiring
      • Inspection/Improvement regimes
      • Choice
a brief look at variation in european systems
A Brief Look at Variation in European Systems


  • In the table, deeper hue = more autonomy.
  • European systems vary greatly in
  • what is centrally/regionally/locally
  • regulated.
  • Research suggests that:
  • Days in school year, length of
  • school day is not related to
  • achievement differences
  • curricular centralization
  • standardizes teaching
  • centralization/decentralization
  • overall have no consistent effects
  • on assessment outcomes
  • however, decentralization works best
  • when accompanied by CBE’s




a brief look at variation in european systems37
A Brief Look at Variation in European Systems

Testing Systems

European systems have a variety of assessment regimes

a brief look at variation in european systems38
A Brief Look at Variation in European Systems

Variation in Test- and Inspection-Based Monitoring of Education

England: Large-scale assessment + CBE’s + inspection used in government monitoring of schools.

France: Large-scale assessment + CBE’s + inspection used in government monitoring of schools.

Italy: Large-scale assessment + CBE’s used in government evaluation of schools. No inspection system.

Finland: Monitoring by assessment results

Research suggests that systems with CBE’s have higher assessment results.

a brief look at variation in european systems39
A Brief Look at Variation in European Systems

Inspection/Reporting Systems

England: A list of specific criteria is used for school evaluation, nation publishes results of test and inspection results

France: No list of evaluation criteria exists (inspectorate has discretion), and there is no publication of evaluation results. Schools are held accountable to inspectorate.

Italy/Finland: No external evaluation of school quality exists.

There is no research on the effects of inspection/improvement systems on assessment outcomes.

a brief look at variation in european systems40
A Brief Look at Variation in European Systems

Teacher Hiring is Made at Many System Levels

England:Municipal hiring (school

hiring for “public” schools).

France: Central government

control over hiring/allocation.

Italy: Central government

control over hiring/allocation.

Finland: LEA control over hiring.

a brief look at variation in european systems41
A Brief Look at Variation in European Systems

School Choice Policies Vary

England:Choice with limits

France: Allocation

Italy: Choice with limits

Finland: Allocation

Research suggests choice

can occur without increasing


Systems with greater

private school enrollment

have slightly higher

assessment outcomes.

applying cross national results to michigan
Applying Cross-National Results to Michigan
  • In the USA, states might be thought of as the equivalent of national ministries.
  • But, in the USA, states almost always lack the capacity of national ministries.
  • Therefore, locating responsibility for different functional responsibilities at different levels of state systems is an important decision.
    • What system level controls standards and testing?
    • What system level engages in inspection/evaluation?
    • What system level has authority over resource allocation?
the michigan situation
The Michigan Situation
  • Michigan’s system of standards and assessments is considered “world class” (Achieve, Inc.).
    • But, MEAP proficiency standards are lower than NAEP proficiency standards.
  • Michigan receives high grades for cross sector linkages (Quality Counts).
    • K-12 assessment now linked to college standards, incentives for students (and approximates a CBE)
    • K-12 workplace linkages exist (career tech diploma, industry licensure)
    • But, cross-national literature might be used for models of cross-sector linkages
the michigan situation44
The Michigan Situation
  • Michigan’s system inspection and support for improvement is underdeveloped.
    • Heavy reliance on state-mandated public reporting
    • Real improvement assumed to occur through “self-evaluation.”
    • No “professionalized” and “staffed” inspection system.
    • Under-developed intervention strategy for under-performing schools.
  • Michigan’s support of the teaching profession is mixed:
    • MI teachers are well-paid by American/World standards
    • MI has increased subject-specific course work requirements and has subject matter testing of teachers
    • MI does not have well-developed “entry” into teaching
    • MI does not have well-developed teacher evaluation system
    • MI does not have well-developed system of monitoring teacher education outputs
the michigan situation45
The Michigan Situation
  • Michigan’s political system might lack the features of political systems that have stimulated marked and sustained education improvement
    • Researchers classify Michigan as a “local control” education system
    • Research shows that this form of decentralization leads to educational improvement when there is:
      • consensus
      • and common commitment to improvement
    • But, researchers also classify Michigan education politics as fragmented, with low consensus
      • No highly visible, non-partisan policy analysis capacity
      • Education funding debates often prevail over substantive discussions
      • Key constituencies in contention
  • Importantly, platforms for discussion/planning/consensus building are emerging (Superintendent’s re-visioning process, the Center for Michigan)
  • Michigan education is not at the top by world class standards:
    • High cost/medium performance/high inequity
    • Uneven quality of organization:
      • Strong standards
      • Strong accountability
      • Progress on cross-sector linkages
      • Low improvement capacity
      • Low attention to upgrading the teaching profession
  • Michigan needs to come together around educational improvement.
  • In planning for improvement, there are no magic formula to copy.
    • Each nation/state is unique. But each can learn from the others.
    • To stimulate improvement, think about:
      • System components
      • How they fit together
      • What makes sense next in context