Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 2 on Mackinac Island

Day 2 at Mackinac Island was even more amazing than day 1.   This morning we joined with several business and education leaders from around the country to announce a new grant program for urban schools looking to bring yachting, equestrian, and polo to their physical education departments.  

Then it was off to hear some great speakers.   Today, I heard Michelle Rhee talk about the pitiful state of education and several Michigan based entrepreneurs talk about the positive miracle of Detroit.  I thought they were both equally valid.    

If I had any doubts about the education reform movement, Michelle Rhee deftly erased them all.  She repeated her often used statistic that this would be the first generation in this country that was less educated than their parents.  As the number of  U.S. college graduates hit a record high in 2012, it's clear that Ms. Rhee sees a very precipitous decline to get the numbers down from 30 percent to the 22 percent level of 1990. 

One thing Ms. Rhee emphasized was just how important teachers are.   I think that's why it gives her such joy to fire them.  Earlier today, she had our restaurant in stitches when she let several patrons videotape her firing a waiter on their IPhones.  Poor Emanuel left before even realizing that Michelle Rhee wasn't his boss.

I will be giving our speech tomorrow and I'm very nervous.  We have a new app which will make closing schools as easy as calling a snow day.  Tonight is free Bourbon night and as many of us think of ourselves as Gatsbys, that only seems appropriate.   I always say, there ain't no party like a Gatsby party.

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