17 Things Every Michigan Student Deserves (But Isn’t Getting)

Gary Abud, a metro Detroit author, education consultant and the 2013-14 Michigan Teacher of the Year, shares his dreams for Michigan students.

Michigan used to be known for offering its kids a quality education. But nowadays, Michigan schools rank in the bottom third in the nation and last in the Midwest, according to a report in 2018 from Bridge Magazine. Surprised? Many parents are. But there’s hope.

At Metro Parent’s 2018 Education Expo (now the STEAM + Learning Fair), we gathered a slew of stellar schools, tutors and more to help you and your child fill the Michigan education gap. Plus, we hosted Ed Talks, where some of the leading experts on education offered their insights and advice.

And, while the 2018 event is over, the quest continues. We asked our Ed Talks speakers this simple question: “What’s your dream for Michigan students?”

Here, Gary Abud of SAGA Educators, who is an educational consultant, author and former Michigan Teacher of the Year, offers his.

Gary Abud’s dream for Michigan students

My dreams for Michigan students would be for each student to have access to outstanding teachers, outstanding classrooms and outstanding schools. Specifically, I hope …

That each child has a teacher who:

  • Sees students as who they are becoming, and not who they are right now.
  • Believes students do well when they can and when they know how to – not just if they want to.
  • Finds out what they value and helps them move toward it.
  • Fosters a sense of agency in them.
  • Leads them toward their purpose in life, to use their abilities, gifts and talents to serve others in their communities, work and lives.
  • Helps students learn more than just the facts of their content area, but also teaches them skills they need to be successful and effective in school and beyond, rather than simply expecting them to develop those skills on their own.
  • Builds positive relationships with students that become the basis for teaching and learning.
  • Realizes that many students have had significant adverse childhood experiences or experienced real trauma, but that their personal connection can help heal that in students and reverse the effects of trauma.

That each student would have the opportunity to be in a school with classrooms that:

  • Are experiential, participatory, image-rich and connective.
  • Have a student-centered culture and design.
  • Strive for culturally responsive teaching and learning.
  • Develop students’ social-emotional learning skills and foster in them habits of success.
  • Foster teaching to the whole child and embrace community.
  • Take a mastery-based approach to learning, not a time-based one, so that achievement becomes the constant and time the variable in learning, not the other way around.
  • Create opportunities for project-based and expeditionary learning.
  • Design assessment and feedback to be for learning, not just of learning.
  • Allow for student ownership, voice and choice in the classroom and their learning.

These might sound like a lot of dreams, but they’re not. It’s actually one dream when you really think about it. My dream for Michigan students is that they each have the opportunity to attend the best school ever.

Why? Because that’s where I’d want to send my daughter. And I think that’s what any parent would want for their child. Is that too much to ask for?

Looking for details about this event in the future? Visit the Metro Parent STEAM + Learning Fair page for the latest.

Also, be sure to read about dreams for debt-free education from Sal Vassallo of MESP and Megan Buonodono of the MET and the Michigan PTA’s Education Wish List for All K-12 Students from president Sibyl Collins Wilson.

This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated regularly. 


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