'Dear Dan Gilbert', coalition asks business leaders to improve Michigan public education

Feb 6, 2018

"Dear Dan Gilbert". A coalition of student, education and civic groups are asking Michigan's top business leaders to commit to improving Michigan public education system
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The business leaders who unsuccessfully pitched Detroit to Amazon are now being asked to make a similar commitment to public education.

Billionaire Dan Gilbert and top Michigan businessmen made every effort to convince Amazon to put its second headquarters in the Motor City.  They failed.

Amazon left Detroit off its short list.  The web giant cited problems with Michigan’s “talent” pool pipeline, including Kindergarten through 12th grade. 

But a coalition consisting of students, educators and civic leaders see an opportunity.

The Detroit Education Justice Coalition includes 482Forward, ACLU Michigan, the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, Good Jobs Now, MOSES, and the Student Advocacy Center.  

The coalition announced Tuesday it is delivering letters to Gilbert and the other Michigan business leaders involved in the failed Amazon bid.  The letters invite them to help improve Michigan’s public schools.

“I do not believe that stops with Detroit,” says Bishop Daryl Harris, with 482Forward, a Detroit education group, “I believe that is for the entire state of Michigan.”

Harris says Michigan needs to do more to develop the “talent” pool pipeline that will be needed for the next “amazon-like” opportunity.