Politics, Money, Education and Transit
A year after proposing an overhaul of the system of schools in Detroit, the Skillman Foundation has formally kicked off the public policy debates at the Mackinac Policy Conference. In a morning session, the issues of governance and a financial rescue for the Detroit Public Schools were debated by John Rakolta, who co-chaired the coalition that made the recommendations, and Dan Quisenberry from the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, representing charter schools in the city.
The Wednesday morning event is just the first in a series of education conversations taking place this week, including a keynote from futurist Brian David Johnson on Wednesday, and a Kellogg Foundation and Kresge Foundation lunch on Thursday focusing on the value of investing in early childhood development. An afternoon session on Thursday will discuss ways to sustainably fund public education.
Meanwhile, the millage proposal for regional transit in Southeast Michigan, unveiled on Tuesday, is getting a lot of attention. Attendees received a summary of the plan in their goody bags, along with a button encouraging support of the $2.9 billion dollar plan. Business leaders led by Chamber President Sandy Baruah, Senator Gary Peters, and Matt Cullen of Rock Ventures are announcing their support of the plan. Read the executive summary.
Both conversations on this gray and drizzly day on Mackinac Island, is an underlying nervousness about the ability of either school operators or transit leaders to make either plan a success for citizens. The debates – and the attempts to persuade – will dominate the networking in the Grand Hotel over the next three days.