The State Superintendent And Public Education In Michigan

May 12, 2019

Credit WMUK

Kalamazoo Superintendent Michael Rice will soon be Michigan’s state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Western Michigan University Professor of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology Brett Geier, says Rice is taking the job at a time when the position of state superintendent “has increased in terms of visibility and power over the last decade or so.”

Before he was a professor, Geier worked as a teacher, principal and between 2006 and 2010 was Superintendent of the Bloomingdale Public School District. He says the state Superintendent is primarily responsible for oversight over the State department of Education and ensuring compliance of laws and regulations.

Michigan has lagged behind other states in standardized test scores. Geier says the State Superintendent is charged with knowing the best practices and research to improve education in the state. Geier says Rice understands data and standardized tests and achievement.

Extended interview with Brett Geier in WMUK's Southwest podcast

Geier says superintendents around the state want an understanding from state officials of what public schools at the local level are going through on daily basis. He says the experience of the state Superintendent is important, and Geier says the person in that job has to be willing to listen and meet with different people and organizations.

Members of the State Board of Education who voted to hire Rice say they were impressed by his willingness to push back against state policies that he doesn’t think improve schools. Geier says one of Rice’s best qualities is that he will be an advocate for what’s best for students. Geier says the state of Michigan should be pleased that the state Superintendent will stand up for all students in Michigan.