Longitudinal Data Systems in Michigan

In light of recent events and the changing news from moment to moment, a good number of people are starting to think about systems change. In this spirit, I am happy to share with you a new report that I produced for Talent First (formerly Talent 2025) with colleague and friend Tricia Czachowski. This report opens the door to learn about the data that the State of Michigan holds in the public trust, and which can be leveraged to benefit the education of our state’s youth and adults. Creative use of this data could dramatically improve upon Michigan’s ability to train and up-skill our talented, but shrinking workforce.

Every person in Michigan counts. This is true as a matter of decency and humanity, as pertains to the 2020 US Census, and as concerns civil society. These compacts are entered into at birth. Next, youth attending public schools move on to participating in the workforce, and the joys of adulting. We may attend a trade school, community college, or university. All of this participation yields records- a lot of records.

Our report, “Longitudinal Data Systems in Michigan: SLDS Analysis, Stakeholder Input, and Recommendations,” sheds light on the what and why of all this data. We look at the state’s current systems, and convened thought leaders to learn from experts. We sought out those building the data and research systems for taxpayer investments in education and training, and looked for lessons from states doing things differently.

The recommendations in the report address the who, where, and how our state should move forward to reclaim “best in class” status nationally as pertains to the pK20W that Michigan could build upon. That’s a pre-k, kindergarten, primary, secondary, post-secondary, and workforce system.

Since this public health emergency is involuntarily disrupting all of our lives, just imagine how amazing it would be to have the best available data to jump start our economy once this health emergency passes. We need to invest in each other now, and even more once the COVID-19 storm passes. This report drives to the core of how to make better systems possible for all Michiganians.

Stay safe, be kind, and happy reading.