Michigan to Receive Grant to Make Fundamental Change in High Schools

Contact: Heidi Hansen 517-335-6397

July 14, 2005

Supports Granholm push for higher standards, more college grads

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Michigan is one of 10 states to win grant funding from the National Governors Association (NGA) to support major reform of the state’s high schools.  This two-year grant will be used to begin putting new rigorous academic standards in place in all Michigan high schools and to increase the number of students taking college level courses during their high school years.
  
“It is vital that Michigan have an educated workforce in order to be competitive in a 21st century economy” said Granholm.  “This grant will help us make sure every child in Michigan attends a high school that prepares them for success in college and in life.”
  
Granholm said the grant funding will be used to assist the Michigan Department of Education develop high school standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies; help schools provide support, such as professional development, to prepare students to engage in more rigorous training in school; and revise policies on dual enrollment and advanced placement to remove barriers and provide better opportunities for students to participate in these programs during high school.

The grant will help achieve the Governor’s goal of doubling the number of college graduates in Michigan within 10 years. The goal is directly linked to two critical recommendations of the Cherry Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth:  the creation of higher standards for academic achievement that will prepare all students for education beyond high school; and doubling the percentage of Michigan high school students taking advanced placement courses or dual-enrolling in a college or university as part of their high school experience.
 
 “The days when a high school diploma was a ticket to a good paying job are over,” said Granholm.  “Our young people must see graduating from high school not as the end but the beginning, of education and training that will lead to good paying jobs.”
 
The NGA grants, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were awarded to states that have comprehensive plans for improved high school performance.  Tom Vander Ark, the Foundation’s executive director, called the high school reform effort “a moral imperative” and praised the leaders of the 10 awardee states.  Michigan applied for a $1.8 million grant.
 
 “Thanks to the strong leadership and commitment by the governors in the 10 honor states and others, we are moving forward with momentum toward building an American high school system that will prepare every student for college, work, and citizenship,” said Mr. Vander Ark.