Grand Traverse County Educators React To State Education Commission Report

The governor now has the results of a study from his 21st Century Education Commission suggested improvements to Michigan’s education system.

The report includes nine recommendations that would impact students from pre-k to college.

From pre-school, to post-secondary education Governor Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission released a new report today packed with plenty of reforms.

It’s called a P-20 educational system.

The report wants to make community college free.

And give merit based scholarships to high school graduates who decide to go to the state’s public universities.

The panel report also calls for getting rid of grade levels.

Students would only advance after mastering content.

Plus, the study recommends universal access to pre-school for all four year olds, not just those at risk.

Governor Snyder says, "If we are going to have a 20 educational system that truly prepares our children for the 21st century in Michigan and the world, we must be willing to admit where that system is falling short today…we need to take action that helps prepare Michigan students to find the greatest possible success along the path toward our future."

9&10 News’ Megan Woods found out what local educators had to say about the report.

Superintendent of Kingsley Area Schools, Dr. Keith Smith says, “There’s a great disparity of what kids enter the doors with and sometimes that comes down to social economic lines.”

In order to improve the state’s education system, the governor’s 21st Century Education Commission recommends pre-k for 4 year olds should be free and not just for those in need.

Dr. Smith says, “Cost a lot of times is a limiting factor for kids being able to get to preschool and it’s unfortunate that some people have to make that decision and so for the governor to be considering universal funding pre-school is an amazing thing.”

But that’s not the only financial barrier the commission wants to take down, they want to make community college free too.

Assistant superintendent of Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Dr. Jason Jeffrey says, “I think cost makes a huge difference to parents and students and we see that with our current early college program a partnership that we have with NMC and Ferris State and also with Baker College our students and parents are very cost conscious.”

While both agree making education more accessible is a move in the right direction that doesn’t mean they don’t have their concerns.

Dr. Smith says, “There’s capacity issues, you know Kingsley’s fortunate that we have some space to be able to host this program some districts are going to be at capacity / where do you come up with these additional classrooms.”

Dr. Jeffrey says, “The key point really is how we are going to pay for this because if those dollars get pulled out from K-12 schools and we have districts in this region that are really struggling that’s a significant challenge.”

Click here for the full report.