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Monday, January 3, 2011

National education reform organization comes to Michigan, makes students top priority

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (December 17, 2010) – With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Skillman Foundation, The Education Trust-Midwest – a new statewide education policy and advocacy organization – launches this month, dedicated to promoting high academic achievement and opportunity for all Michigan students, particularly those who are often underserved: low-income students and students of color.

Ed Trust-Midwest will do that by :

  • Serving as an independent source of reliable, honest information about our schools and a watchdog by conducting research and analyzing data the help build broader understanding of achievement and opportunity gaps and what it will take to close them.
  • Working alongside educators, parents, students, policymakers, and civic and business leaders to provide expertise and practical assistance in their efforts to transform schools and colleges into institutions that serve all students well.
  • Participating in national and state policy debates, bringing lessons learned from on-the-ground work and unflinching data analyses to improve policies that help all students and schools reach high levels of achievement.

This new Midwestern organization was established by The Education Trust - a powerful voice in federal policy working on behalf of the best interests of America’s students - to address the need to improve student learning in Michigan and close the gaps in opportunity and achievement for children of all backgrounds statewide. Ed Trust’s first state-focused office -- The Education Trust-West -- is based in Oakland, California.

"Many of the most important decisions driving school improvement are made at the state level. So it's no wonder that there is a wide range of education organizations in Lansing representing the interests of the adults employed by Michigan's schools," said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust. "Ed Trust-Midwest, on the other hand, will evaluate policies, practices, and dollars spent through a unique lens: what's best for the students themselves."

Ed Trust-Midwest’s founding executive director is Amber Arellano, who most recently served as columnist and editorial board writer for The Detroit News. Throughout her career she has covered immigration, politics, race relations, and education in the Midwest, Southern California and Mexico. She has done policy work in the U.S. and Europe, and taught and mentored students of every age, from elementary school to college. The first in her family – an United Auto Worker household – to go to college, Arellano earned a Master of Public Policy at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy and bachelor’s degrees in secondary education and journalism at Michigan State University.

“Like many Michiganders and metro Detroiters, I’ve watched this difficult and painful economic crisis devastate our communities over the last several years,” Arellano said. “For our state to get back on track, we must focus like a laser on ensuring that all Michigan kids get the great education they need to have a fair shot at achieving the American dream. The Education Trust-Midwest will play an integral role in that overdue and important work.”

In January, Ed Trust-Midwest will release its first report, which will lay out a pro-active agenda for Michigan to become a national leader in education. For more information, visit

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