Michigan Civil Rights Commission to Hold Public Hearings on Discrimination in Michigan's K-12 Schools - First hearing will be held in Ypsilanti on Monday, May 21

Contact: Vicki Levengood - 517-241-7978 levengoodv@michigan.gov

Lansing–The Michigan Civil Rights Commission (the Commission) will hold a series of public hearings to examine the issue of discrimination in Michigan’s K-12 schools. 

The first of at least three hearings on the issue will take place on Monday, May 21, 2018 at the Eagle Crest Conference Center, Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, located at 1275 S. Huron Street in Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197.

The hearing will follow a regularly-scheduled Commission meeting at 1 pm, with the hearing scheduled for 3:30 pm - 8:00 pm. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and will have the opportunity to speak during a public comment period beginning at approximately 6:15 pm.

“In order for residents to take advantage of the opportunities that Michigan offers, we must address the educational challenges facing students of color and students with special needs when it comes to services and proficiency in reading, math, and career and college readiness,” said Agustin V. Arbulu, Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the operational arm of the Commission.  “With these hearings, the Commission hopes to get a clearer picture of the challenges, and in the end, to bring attention to our educational crisis and offer insights into addressing it.”

The Commission Resolution on the hearings says, in part:

“Based on the opinion of multiple experts across the State of Michigan who unanimously assert that Michigan's educational system is in crisis, and based on reports that show that minority and special needs students are the most vulnerable based on inequities documented in the MCRC Flint Water Crisis Report published in February 2017; . . . The Michigan Civil Rights Commission shall . . . convene a series of at least three (3) public hearings to accept and/or compel testimony to address the question of whether the Civil Rights of underserved students in Michigan have been violated or abridged.”

In addition to taking comments from members of the public, the Commission will hear from two panels of experts and key stakeholders:

  • Panel #1 will focus on the consolidation/merger of school districts.
    • Eric Lupher, Citizen Research Council
    • Randall Davis, Superintendent of Marshall/Albion School District
    • Scott Menzel, Superintendent of Washtenaw County ISD
    • Benjamin Edmondson, Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community School District
  • Panel #2 will focus on K-12 public education in Michigan, school financing and Proposal A.
    • Mary Grech, Education Trust – Midwest
    • Eric Lupher, Citizen Research Council
    • Mitch Bean, former director of Michigan House Fiscal Agency
    • Lou Glazer, Michigan Future

Individuals who wish to submit comments in writing for the Commission’s consideration should send them by email to MCRC-Comments@michigan.gov. All comments submitted on this issue will be posted on the Department’s website, www.michigan.gov/mdcr.

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, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law.  For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.michigan.gov/mdcr.

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