tom watkins

Opinion
9:34 am
Mon December 23, 2013

An effort to help the mentally ill

Lessenberry commentary for 12/23/13

My guess is that we think too much about football and not enough about mental illness, especially perhaps at holiday season.

But the fact is that millions of us are trapped in our own private hells. According to a report last year from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, about one in every five Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness. For 5% of us, the suffering is severe.

The association estimated that more than eleven million adults suffered from severe mental illness in one recent year. Nearly nine million had serious thoughts of suicide, and a million actually tried to kill themselves. Yet we tend to take insufficient notice of the mentally ill, at least until someone walks into a school and begins shooting.

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Stateside
5:17 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Michigan and China have a strong economic connection, and it's growing stronger

Philip Jägenstedt Flickr

An interview with Tom Watkins, the former State School Superintendent and former State Mental Health Director, and Michael Barris, a reporter from the China Daily’s U.S. edition.

When it comes to economic growth and finding an economic partner, it seems that Michigan and China are discovering a lot to like about each other.

Look at the numbers:  last year, Michigan exported $3.2 billion worth of goods and services to China, just behind Canada and Mexico. And Michigan is one of the top ten states for direct investment from China. We were on the receiving end of more than $917 million in capitol from China in 2012.

Tom Watkins is the former State School Superintendent and former State Mental Health Director, and a frequent traveler to China. And Michael Barris is a reporter from the China Daily’s U.S. edition.

They joined us today to talk about what China and Michigan have to offer each other.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
8:25 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Commentary: Mackinac and Education

Lessenberry commentary for 5/29/2013

It sometimes seems that education reform has become a lot like the weather.  We talk almost incessantly about it these days, but you have to wonder if anybody really can do much to change things.

The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual Mackinac Conference begins today, and education is a heavy focus. Michelle Rhee, the controversial founder of StudentsFirst and the former head of Washington D.C. public schools will give a keynote address. There will be a panel on 21st Century jobs and education, and another, moderated by Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White, on early childhood education.

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Education
5:17 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

A conversation with Former State School Superintendent Tom Watkins (audio)

flickr / iboy_daniel

Governor Rick Snyder outlined a plan to try to turn around the lowest performing schools in the state.

The Education Achievement System would start in the 2012-2013 school year with the lowest performing schools in the Detroit Public School System and would eventually spread out to underperforming schools across the state.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke with Tom Watkins, Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction about the potential pitfalls and benefits of the EAS plan. Watkins  is currently a business and educational consultant in the US and China.

You can hear the interview here:

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Education
1:49 pm
Wed April 27, 2011

A closer look at Snyder's education reforms

scui3asteveo / flickr

Today, Governor Rick Snyder laid out his plan for education reform in Michigan. All Things Considered Host, Jenn White, sat down with Tom Watkins to discuss the details in Snyder's plan. Watkins is a Former State Superintendent who is currently a business and educational consultant in the United States and China. 

Education
5:36 pm
Thu December 9, 2010

Michigan's Tom Watkins selected for Upton Sinclair Award

Tom Watkins of Northville Michigan has been given the Upton Sinclair Award for education from EducationNews.org.

Watkins is the CEO of TDW and Associates, an educational consulting firm, and a former Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Michigan from 2001 to 2005.

In their release, EducationNews.org writes

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