Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks about Florida’s successful educational programs at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference Thursday at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel. (Photo: John L. Russell, Special to The Detroit News)

Mackinac Island — Forgive us our skepticism. But we’ve been aboard this boat before, and it’s always sank prior to reaching shore.

This year’s Detroit Regional Chamber policy conference here was heavily focused on improving Michigan’s dismal education achievement. Education experts talked about the silver bullets of boosting student performance. Panels declared the urgency for addressing the major impediment to Michigan’s economic progress. And an initiative was touted to bring everyone together behind a common education mission.

And none of it was for the first time.

Look back at conference agendas for the

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