The Craig Fahle Show

The Most Critical Issues Facing Education In Michigan

September 20, 2013

As students head back to school, WDET asked some of Michigan's most influential experts and policy makers to answer the question: What is the most critical issue facing education in Michigan and how can it be solved? Read their editorials and listen to their conversations on The Craig Fahle Show below.

Consolidation and Teacher Evaluations

Consolidating School Districts

Craig Fahle sounds off on consolidating school districts throughout Michigan. This editorial was originally published in the September issue of Hour Magazine.

"The system we have is at best inefficient. We have more than 500 school districts in Michigan. We have more than 90 school districts serving fewer than 500 students each. The city of St. Clair Shores has three separate school districts. Warren has five."

Teacher Evaluations

Michigan State Senator Phil Pavlov, chair of the Senate Education Committee, shares his opinion on teacher evaluations.

"To prepare our children for life and work in the 21st Century, we must ensure that our schools are honestly evaluating educators – from principals down to first-year teachers – and informing parents about their performance."

Consolidating Across Counties

Michigan State Superintendent of Public Education, Mike Flanagan's editorial on consolidating educational services across counties.

"Why do you think we don’t have individual school buildings with their own transportation system; payroll system; accounting system; purchasing system; information system? It is because money was saved by consolidating those functions at the district level."

Hear What They Had to Say

Hear Craig's interview with Pavlov and Flanagan on the Craig Fahle Show.

Funding and Red Tape


Michigan State Board of Education President, John Austin, shares his opinion on his number one issue in education: funding.

"Disinvestment, combined with declining student enrollments, mean many district’s budgets have shrunk 25-30%; creating a death spiral of diminished programming chasing away even more students."

Red Tape

Oakland County Schools Superintendent, Vickie Markavitch, describes how red tape is harming our students and school districts.

"Stop annual, subject specific statewide testing. Let teachers and schools do what they do best, which is to use assessment of student achievement as part of the teaching learning process."

Hear What They Had to Say

State Board of Education President, John Austin and Oakland County Schools Superintendent, Vickie Markavitch, join Craig for a conversation about what they see as the biggest issues facing education in our state.

Parental Involvement and Finance Reform

Parental Involvement

Executive Director of Michigan PTA, Sandra York, sounds off on the important role of parental involvement in children's education.

"...[W]hat matters most to parents is how their child performs in school right now, today, this year, and moving forward through graduation. They want to know how they can be an active partner in their child’s educational success."

Rigorous Standards

Great Lakes Education Project Executive Director, Gary Naeyaert proposes that a focus on high expectations, accountability and fair funding are essential for public education improvements.

Rigorous standards won’t improve education quality without careful implementation which includes an aligned curriculum, solid instruction, meaningful assessments and excellent teachers and leaders.

Finance Reform

Treasurer of Ann Arbor Public School Board and retired economics and public finance consultant, Glenn Nelson describes the important role of finance reform in improving Michigan's education system.

"In 2003 our fourth graders performed better than those in 24 and 23 other states in math and reading, respectively. By 2011 our fourth graders outperformed those in only 9 and 15 other states in math and reading, respectively. Until we reform school finance, our children will be at a competitive disadvantage relative to those in other states and nations."

Hear What They Had to Say

In for the third panel on education in Michigan with the CFS in studio are Treasurer of the Ann Arbor Public School Board and retired economics and public finance consultant, Glenn Nelson, Executive Director of Michigan Parent Teacher Association, Sandra York and Executive Director Great Lakes Education Project, Gary G. Naeyaert.