Working Together for Public Education 2015

The recent election in Michigan has underscored the need for all partisan corners to pull together in support of our school children. What can you do to help Michigan schools mend? Superintendent of Oakland Schools, Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch, talks about the importance of citizen voices in public education policy-making in her new podcast…

Oakland SchoolsClick image above to view VIDEO, or go to

TEXT of podcast:

Dr. Markavitch: “I had the opportunity to review a bit of public education history recently and ran across the writings of Horace Mann who has come to be known as the father of public education. During the 1830’s he became a strong and somewhat controversial spokesperson for education reform. He argued that education was necessary to unite the people, to help all students with the opportunity to succeed in life, and was essential to maintaining our freedoms. Two of his principles stand out for me:

  1. Education should be paid for, controlled, and maintained by the public; and
  2. Education should be provided in schools that embrace children from varying backgrounds

One can see why that would have been considered controversial in 1830. But today, I think it would serve our children well if all of us involved in public education dialogues remembered those two principles. We know public education needs some improvements, but the ideals that have under-girded that system must be preserved as those improvements are made.

I have thought a lot about what improvements might be needed. I think what we want for all of our Michigan children are:

  • Public schools that continually advance meaningful student learning
  • Schools that are accountable to the communities they serve
  • Schools that spend their public funds with full transparency
  • Schools that implement evidence based best practices in their classrooms
  • A public school system that supports a highly qualified teaching force in those classrooms

To achieve those ends we need public policies for education that are developed with care, with nonpartisan thinking, with due diligence from all decision makers, and respect for educational expertise as well as local community wisdom. Hopefully, with the election over and the campaigning done, we can enter the new legislative session ready to develop those kinds of policies.

I have been reading the opinions of several Lansing analysts and they think that we will not likely experience the crazy kind of December lame duck session we have had in the past. I hope that is true as the pace and atmosphere of such a session does not allow due diligence and collaborative thinking.

As we look forward to the new legislative session, it is important for all of us who value our system of public education, for parents whose children spend their school days in that system, and for all taxpayers who want a prosperous Michigan to engage in the public dialogue and decision making concerning our schools. Here in Oakland County we have a group of folks who have been actively engaged and committed to effectively improving education. That group is growing and they would like you to join the effort.

You can do that by enrolling in a free resource called ENGAGE. This resource allows you to easily introduce yourself to your new legislators as you welcome them to the new year, to receive monthly updates on educational issues, and have access to an easy-to-use tool for communicating to Lansing and even Washington D.C. if necessary. You can access this resource through

Let’s put our voices together for each of those kids we know and love; let’s stand for quality education for each and every one of them; and let’s stay engaged – with each other and with our policy makers.

We are the ‘public’ in public education.

Oakland Schools

MORE at Million Michigan Voices


Blog Editor: Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools


 Oakland Schools • 2111 Pontiac Lake Road • Waterford, MI 48328-2736 • 248.209.2000


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