Civil Rights Commission releases report on education equity in Michigan

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has released a 62-page report describing inequities in Michigan’s K-12 education system.

It contains recommendations for action that policy makers and educators can implement to make achieving educational equity a priority in all Michigan schools.

The report is the culmination of a series of public hearings and a year-long examination of disparities in K-12 education in Michigan.

From May 2018 through the end of March 2019, the commission held five public hearings around the state and heard from dozens of subject matter experts, school administrators, teachers, parents and students on the ways Michigan is falling short in its obligation to effectively educate all its children.

“This commission believes that an adequate education is the key to unlocking a lifetime of opportunities and also is a basic civil right,” said Stacie Clayton, Chair of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. “We learned during our education hearings that not all children receive the kind of education they deserve as their birthright.”

To achieve equity, the report says public school systems must recognize differences and distribute resources based on an understanding of how differences impact equitable access.

They must also implement strategies to break down biases and barriers to equity, including:

• Educating on implicit biases
• Developing racially conscious strategies for school integration
• Changing per-student funding and Proposal A
• Eliminating competition between schools
• Increasing teacher pay
• Eliminating legacy debt
• Increasing special education opportunities and funding

The report concludes with a list of recommendations for action, starting with the expansion of the Council for Government and Education on Equity and Inclusion, an MDCR-led initiative, to include representatives of the Michigan Department of Education.

It also recommends development of a statewide educational equity plan to enhance policies and accountability.

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