High School Accelerator
Michigan Future, Inc.’s High School Accelerator plans to open 35 open enrollment, high-performing high schools in Detroit and nearby suburbs by 2017. It hopes for a trickle up affect: 85 percent of students graduate high school, 85 percent of high school graduates attend college, and 85 percent of college students earn a college degree.
Michigan Nightlight: In your view, what makes your program innovative, effective or remarkable?
Michigan Future Inc. President Louis Glazer
: We are trying to do something that has not been done anywhere in the country, and that is to create on a large scale open enrollment urban high schools that prepare students for college without remediation and then have a large percent of them earn college degrees. And we are doing it without regard to model or
So if we really believe in equal opportunity, at the core is quality education. It's the only way poor kids are going to be able to live a middle-class life.
governance. We are solely focused on identifying quality operators.
What was the best lesson learned in the past year?
Education attainment is now the most reliable path to realizing the American dream. So if we really believe in equal opportunity, at the core is quality education. It’s the only way poor kids are going to be able to live a middle-class life. It’s central to everything. We don’t have all the answers as to how to get there and neither do the schools we invest in. So we have adopted an operating philosophy of “come struggle with us.”
What was the hardest lesson learned in the past year?
Schools, even though they are not on track, are resistant to taking assistance. It has been challenging meeting the academic standards we’ve set. This is a national problem for not only school administrators and teachers, but parents and communities as well.
What really differentiates this program?
Two things differentiate this program. We have a willingness to work with anyone. And, our ultimate goal is holding high schools accountable for students earning college, not high school, degrees.
What are the keys to success for your program?
Our goal is that at least 85% of each school's students will graduate from high school, and of those graduates at least 85% will earn a college degree.
We will not compromise on our student achievement standards. Our goal is that at least 85% of each school’s students will graduate from high school, and of those graduates at least 85% will earn a college degree. We do whatever it takes to help the schools we invest in figure out how to meet those standards.
How does your program organize the resources needed to make programs happen?
The Kellogg Foundation funding is for the operations of the accelerator. We have staff costs paid for five years right from the start. The remaining funders, including the Skillman Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and the McGregor Fund, are providing start up assistance to the schools Michigan Future Schools selects.