Bridging the Gap
For years, the Michigan State University College of Education made outreach to lawmakers and educational leaders a priority. But earlier this year, the college took an important step forward in its outreach efforts when it established the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, a nonpartisan institution that has as its goal to provide those who make decisions about the state’s educational system with accurate and timely research-based information.
It marks the college’s most ambitious and formalized effort to date in its long history of playing an important role in improving the quality of education for students and deepening the educational policy debate in Michigan. With the strong support of Dean Carole Ames, the center will move quickly to become an important voice in Michigan’s educational policy debate.
“I think this is a good idea at the right time,” said Professor David Plank, who is the center’s new director. “In the policy arena, education is really at the top of almost everyone’s agenda whether it’s at the state, federal or local levels.
“President (Peter) McPherson and Provost (Lou Anna) Simon have made a strong commitment of university resources to ensure that the university has a positive and significant role to play in bringing about improvements in the educational system.”
For Plank and other faculty members in the college, the need for a policy center had become apparent over the years. At a time when the state’s economic base is being reshaped by technological change and global competition, and Michigan’s economic future is increasingly dependent on a strong educational system and a well-educated workforce, the university has not had a systematic way for researchers and policymakers to exchange ideas and information.
The center will fill that gap.
This article was originally published in the New Educator by Michigan State University College of Education.