Michigan’s population is at a crossroads. Ranked 49th out of 50 states in terms of population growth, Michigan has been struggling to attract new people and retain its residents, and the implications for the state’s economy and prosperity could be dire. According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 43,000 people moved out of Michigan between 2020-2022.
At the 2024 Detroit Policy Conference, business leaders and policymakers convened to tackle Michigan’s shrinking population and discuss potential solutions. Former Ambassador John Rakolta Jr. and Shirley Stancato, Wayne State University Board of Governors Member, served as chairs of the conference, which hosted conversations around the future workforce, education, creating vibrant communities, and the city of Detroit’s efforts to attract new residents.
According to Power, public education in Michigan has been underfunded for more than20 years, and based on her participation in the council, many are saying an upgrade to the system is overdue. Power shared with Henderson that one of the PreK-12 education workgroup’s recommendations made to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December was for a more cohesive vision for education in the state where decision-making is more centralized.
Henderson and Power also discuss the importance of keeping opportunity and access at the forefront of education, defining equitable education systems as it relates to providing students the resources they need, and the importance of having adequate funding to implement these changes.
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