No agreement on education fix

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. - Fixing education would go a long way toward fixing the Michigan economy, education officials said Thursday, but there appears to be little consensus on how to fix education, according to a report at

Speaking at the Detroit Regional Chamber 2010 Mackinac Policy Conference, charter public school founder Doug Ross said entrenched bureaucracies stand in the way of education reform in Detroit, while Detroit Public Schools emergency fiscal manager Robert Bobb said the district is willing to compete with public charter schools, the report said.

Meanwhile, Carol Goss, CEO of the Skillman Foundation in Detroit, called for mayoral control of Detroit schools, while Art VanElslander, founder of Art Van Furniture, said he can't find qualified candidates to fill the 100 sales jobs he has open, mlive reported.

Ross, who founded the University Preparatory Academy network, said the key to teaching urban students is to put them in small schools where they have meaningful relationships with educators under a principal who has control of the school, mlive reported.

He said the current public school model may be beyond reform, according to mlive, while Bobb said he believes reform is possible by setting aggressive goals.

VanElslander, representing the business community on the education panel, said, "I'm looking to hire one hundred salesmen right now, and I just can't find them. ... I must be honest, the people coming out of school today simply lack the education necessary to compete."

SOURCE:, "Education will drive economy, but will public or charter schools drive Detroit?" June 3, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "States With More College Grads Don't Have Better Economies," June 3, 2010