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Education Expert Michelle Rhee to Keynote Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference

DETROIT, January 23, 2013 –Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced that nationally renowned education reform advocate and StudentsFirst founder and CEO Michelle Rhee will provide a keynote address at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference. Held Wednesday, May 29 through Friday, May 31, the Conference will spur a comprehensive dialogue on culture, education and the 21st century global market.

“Education will be the engine that drives Michigan’s future and provides our children and grandchildren the avenue to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams,” said Chairman, President and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp. Joseph L. Welch, chair of the 2013 Conference. “I can think of no better voice to drive a discussion about education reform than Michelle Rhee. Her commitment to ensuring all children have access to a quality education is leading a movement to transform education across the country.”

After being named Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) in June 2007, Rhee gained national recognition for her efforts to turn around one of the nation’s worst performing school districts. Under her leadership the 47,000 student, 123 school district reversed a decades-long trend and increased enrollment and graduation rates for the first time in 40 years.

Following her work with DCPS, Rhee formed StudentsFirst in 2010. StudentsFirst is a bipartisan, grassroots organization based in Sacramento, Calif., designed to mobilize parents, teachers, students, administrators and citizens throughout the country to produce meaningful results in education and meet the demand for better American schools. StudentsFirst has been active in Michigan advocating for reforms in teacher tenure and teacher evaluation and the elimination of “Last In, First Out” teacher retention practices.

“In all the discourse and debate around education, the fate of the very people schools are designed to serve – the students – is sometimes pushed to the background,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “Michelle Rhee continues to serve as a relentless voice for education reform and simply refuses to accept the status quo present in so many American schools. Her advocacy for quality education for all students will challenge Michigan’s leaders to tackle education reform head-on.”

The 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference’s pillars are culture, education and the 21st century global market. To learn more about how the Conference aims to create a more business-friendly climate in Michigan and drive economic growth, visit

Detroit Regional Chamber 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference
The Mackinac Policy Conference – the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual event – brings together business and government to re-energize Michigan. Since 1981, the Conference has provided access to Michigan’s top business professionals, legislative leaders, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions. Approximately 1,500 attendees will gather for the 2013 Conference, held May 29 – May 31 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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