Gretchen Whitmer, Governor, Establishes New State Agency with Emphasis on Education

Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has reorganised the state’s existing education department, which she does not control, into a new agency devoted to advancing access to pre-kindergarten and higher education in Michigan.

Whitmer’s office said Wednesday the new Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Achievement and Potential, or MiLEAP, will feature offices governing early childhood education, higher education and “education partnerships.”

According to an executive order the governor issued on Tuesday, the new department would oversee regional efforts to guarantee that all young children “enter kindergarten with the tools and ability to succeed in school” and that “every Michigander has the skill certificate or degree they need to prosper.”

The Michigan Department of Education has historically been the leading organisation for education-related policies and programmes, therefore the proposal represents a significant change in direction for state government.

Republican Nikki Snyder said she was already in contact with attorneys to determine whether the action is legal. Snyder is a member of the elected State Board of Education, which regulates the state Education Department. However, Michael Rice, the state’s commissioner of public instruction, admitted on Wednesday that Whitmer is legally permitted to restructure the Michigan Department of Education.

“For too long, we have thought of education as K-12, but we know that’s not good enough,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I’m establishing MiLEAP today because we need to get every kid started early, in pre-K, so they succeed in kindergarten, have paths after graduation to get higher education tuition-free, and forge strong partnerships with our employers so they can get a good-paying, high-skill and in-demand job.”

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