Upon reviewing the data and participating in the excellent workshops and panel discussions offered at the National Summit, our team determined that Michigan must engage in resolution of this issue by creating and emphasizing a vision for Michigan. Since our long-term desired outcome is that all youth in Michigan graduate from high school instead of ending up in prison, the vision is “Justice. School. For All.”
To achieve our vision, distinct objectives must be accomplished. These objectives fall into both strategic and tactical categories, the assumption being that accomplishment of the tactical objectives will directly impact the accomplishment of the strategic objectives. The following objectives need to be realized to move us closer to achieving the vision. The objectives are:
Accomplishing these strategic objectives requires thoughtful change to the current educational environment in Michigan. Michigan Zero Tolerance legislation was revisited and bills were passed in late 2016 that will help us achieve our objectives. Truancy legislation is currently proposed to change how absenteeism is addressed across Michigan. And finally, in conjunction with the Summit, communities need to work together to support the change in approach required across the system in order to affect change.
Each of these objectives, as accomplished, will result in an improved business climate for the state, promote economic development, and reduce social avoidance-related costs such as property loss, personal pain/suffering, adjudication/incarceration, substance use disorders, etc. In addition, the state will realize intangible gains such as improved reputational perceptions further advancing growth for Michigan. An educated citizenry is Michigan’s best investment for future success.