Michigan Civil Rights Commission Creates Education Equity Committee, Revises Education Equity Report School Funding Recommendation

Contact: Vicki Levengood levengoodv@michigan.gov

March 23, 2021

 

Lansing, MI - At their meeting on Monday, March 22, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted to rescind language in their September 2020 report, Education Equity in Michigan that proposed a reduced funding level for charter schools. The Commission also voted to establish an Education Equity Committee to advise the work of the MDCR Council of Local Governments and Education on Equity and Inclusion - the body tasked with implementing the report's key recommendations. The committee, made up of Commission Chair Stacie Clayton, Commissioner Gloria E. Lara and Commissioner Anupama Kosaraju, will work on behalf of the Commission with the goal of advancing the recommendations in the Education Equity in Michigan report.  The committee also will explore a weighted funding model for education in Michigan, a plan that allocates school funding based on individual student need.

"From the beginning of this multi-year project, we have said that our Education Equity in Michigan report was a starting point; it is a living, breathing document that we will revise and update as we continue to evaluate Michigan's educational landscape and explore options that are centered on what is best for Michigan students," said Stacie Clayton, Chair of the Commission. "We are grateful for the efforts of Commissioner Lara and others who conducted comparative analysis of funding between charter schools and traditional public schools. Their findings informed the decision to revise the report and will provide helpful guidance as we examine more equitable funding and resource allocation for Michigan schools and students."

On September 30, 2020, the Commission issued a 62-page report describing inequities in Michigan's K-12 education system and detailing specific recommendations for action to make achieving educational equity a priority in all Michigan schools. The report is the culmination of a series of five public hearings and a year-long examination of disparities in K-12 education in Michigan.

On November 23, 2020, the Commission held a special meeting to hear from experts, educators and students to continue the conversation on Education Equity in Michigan.  At that meeting, Commissioner Jeff Sakwa made a motion to eliminate language from the report the recommending 75% funding for schools.  After discussion on the motion, Commissioner Sakwa rescinded his motion and Commissioner Reyes-Kopack made a motion and Commissioner Elhasan seconded it for an analysis of funding for charter and traditional schools. The motion passed and the study was done. 

At Monday's meeting, Commissioners were briefed on the comparative funding analysis conducted by Commissioner Gloria Lara and Vanguard Public Affairs. After their reports, Commissioner Elhasan made a motion to remove the 75% funding language and the Commission voted 6-0 to approve the motion.  

"The Commission extends sincere appreciation to the many panelists, guest speakers and experts who have helped us develop a greater understanding of the complex issues surrounding public education in Michigan," said Vice Chair Elhasan. "Our commitment to making education more equitable is for the long term and we look forward to the next phase of our efforts to reduce educational disparities for students throughout Michigan."

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, genetic information, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.

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