News Bite

State Board of Education member resigns, leaves Michigan

When people who know Michigan's educational offerings best decide their future is elsewhere, we should be concerned

Two years into an eight-year term, Michigan State Board of Education member Jason Strayhorn resigned last week, citing “unforeseen opportunities” for his family.

The Detroit News reports the Strayhorn children have “academic and sports opportunities” on either coast, in California and in Florida. Strayhorn told The News the family recently sold its Novi home. It was simply too expensive to hang on in Michigan, given other commitments.

People should do what’s best for their families, and success is to be celebrated. That should go without saying.

What should worry us, as Michiganders, is when people as plugged in to Michigan’s educational offerings as the Strayhorns decide that their children’s educational futures are better-served elsewhere. The Strayhorns lived in Oakland County, in Novi, and sent a son to Detroit Catholic Central, a private school elite in academics and athletics. He transferred to IMG Academy in Florida, an even more elite school for a top athlete.

On his campaign website, Strayhorn said he was “raised in a family whose top priorities were faith and education.” What does his own family’s 2022 exodus from Michigan say about its faith in the education system here?

Losing elite talent can’t be taken lightly, as we are told Michigan’s economic future depends on winning the competition for such talent. On what levels is Michigan lacking? How can we make up for lost ground? Can we compete in other ways? Or will we keep losing family after family?

U.S. News & World Report, in its latest rankings of state education systems, puts Michigan 38th among 50 states. Florida comes in third place, California at no. 20.

Michigan Capitol Confidential has reached out to Strayhorn to request comment. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will appoint his replacement.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.