Gov. Whitmer Launches New Education Department

Matthew Donnellon
Photo byCity of Detroit (Wikimedia Commons)

Today marks the official launch day for Governor Whitmer’s new education initiative the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP).

Governor Whitmer established the new department with an executive order last Summer with a goal to expand government resources to pre and post K-12 education and improve peoples’ chances of getting a job.

It would also entice businesses to invest in Michigan as its populace education levels rise. She also established Michelle Richard as the MiLEAP acting Director.

Governor Whitmer commented on the launch in a statement.

 “Today, I am so excited to kick-off MiLEAP and look forward to how they will begin delivering on their mission to improve long-term education outcomes with a focus on early learning and higher education,” said Governor Whitmer. 

“Every Michigander deserves a path to ‘make it in Michigan’ with strong, lifelong learning support and a path to a good job, but for too long, we have thought of education as just K-12. We know that’s not good enough, which is why MiLEAP will tackle bold goals like expanding access to pre-K for all 4-year-olds, offering more affordable paths after graduation to get a higher education or skills training, and forging strong partnerships with our employers so they can get a good-paying, family-sustaining job.”

“With Michelle Richard at the helm, I know that MiLEAP will take our learning ecosystem to the next level and help us all build a brighter future for Michigan.” 

Several Democrats also commented giving their support to the new program. 

“Every kid deserves a great start before they head to kindergarten, and every graduating senior needs a pathway to a good-paying job,” said Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City). “MiLEAP is good for our students, families, communities and economy.”

Educators also made their feelings known applauding the governor for taking action and helping make the education process more efficient. Also with more resources applied to preschool and post secondary education it should lessen the strain on the K-12 teachers.

We know how critical early childhood education is to the long-term prosperity and development of every person,” said Benjamin Mainka, Superintendent of Novi Community School District. 

“I am so excited about the opportunity we have through MiLEAP to create efficiencies and coordination to get support and resources delivered to our staff and families quickly. The more we continue to move away from the silos that are often created in our systems and focus on strategic coordination, the more "red tape" we can remove and get the support that is needed."

The new program was not without its critics. Earlier this year the State Board of Education accused Whitmer of overstepping her bounds as governor and wanted a judicial review of the new department saying it violated the state constitution. 

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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