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Michigan Civil Rights Commission: 6 of 10 Recommendations for Action in 2020 Education Equity in Michigan Report Now Being Implemented

Lansing, MI -- The Michigan Civil Rights Commission reports 6 of 10 recommendations for action laid out in their Education Equity in Michigan Report issued in September of 2020 are now being implemented.

The Education Equity in Michigan Report outlined inequities in Michigan's K-12 education system and detailed specific recommendations for action that policy makers and educators can implement to make achieving educational equity a priority in all Michigan schools.

"In less than a year, MDCR, the Michigan Department of Education, and many others who stepped up to collaborate on making education in Michigan more equitable and accountable have implemented 6 of the 10 recommendations for action outlined in the MCRC Education Equity in Michigan Report," said MCRC Chair Stacie Clayton. "We're proud of the initial work that was done in a short time. The report is a living document and we will consistently use its findings to build upon efforts to ensure all students have access to an equitable education."

The MCRC Education Equity in Michigan Report was 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.

Find the MCRC Education Equity in Michigan Report here.

The MCRC Education Equity in Michigan Report recommendations for action now being implemented are:

Developing a Statewide Educational Equity Plan to enhance policies, accountability and opportunities for all, using a holistic approach to inform the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the Michigan Department of Education and schools statewide; and

Encouraging schools to create local school equity plans and contribute information and resources to encourage and support equitable practices and opportunities for schools.

  • MDCR has produced a detailed Education Equity Resource Guide that serves both as a statewide plan for operationalizing educational equity and provides local schools with a template for creating customized, locally developed and controlled, school equity plans. Find the MDCR Education Equity Resource Guide here

Ensuring that all data collected by state and county government entities be disaggregated by race and ethnicity. 

  • The Michigan Department of Education's Top 10 state strategic education plan includes a commitment to disaggregating data. MDE is now collecting and reporting school and school district data disaggregated by race and ethnicity - important for raising consciousness around education gaps as a prelude to addressing the gaps.
  • MDE has extended their commitment to including this disaggregation when they provide public reports at State Board of Education meetings on state strategic education plan goals.

Supporting a well-resourced and quality teacher training program through universities and colleges, encouraging diversity in its teaching roles and student enrollment. 

  • To help increase diversity in the teacher ranks, the Michigan Department of Education has put out guidance and grants for districts to begin Grow Your Own programs for students who aspire to become teachers. MDE has also issued guidance and support for districts to begin Grow Your Own programs for support staff members who aspire to become teachers. In the coming months, MDE will be issuing additional guidance and small grants associated with this effort.
  • MDE has approved two applications for waivers to establish alternative teacher certification pathways, in part to help develop diversity in the teaching workforce among support staff members. These entities are Detroit Public Schools Community District and New Paradigm for Education.
  • Through its Proud Michigan Educator campaign, MDE is now advocating around the importance of diversity and diversifying the ranks of teaching and support staff.

Creating a multicultural, student-led component of the Council for Government and Education on Equity and Inclusion to engage students and parents/guardians on the local level. Many students are interested in equity and can help make strides to remove barriers and re-shape equity policies and practices that inhibit students of color.

  • The Council has established a subcommittee of members who are working in their respective areas to identify potential student participants and ensure youth voices and insights are part of the equity in education discussion and process.
  • Through the MDCR Civil Rights Youth Academy, the department is using existing partnerships and participants in the Youth Academy to recruit students who wish to take part in the Equity Council youth component.

Providing year-round cultural competency/race and equity education, advice and coaching.

  • MDCR's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division is actively promoting and providing implicit bias education and additional DEI strategies to schools, local government, state agencies and other entities statewide. The DEI Division is also working in collaboration with the state's Chief Equity Officer and additional state agencies to develop long-term strategies to operationalize equity long-term.
  • MDCR's Community Engagement Division and their collaborative partners at the University of Michigan convene a group of educators from throughout the state in bi-monthly meetings to discuss education equity issues, concerns and best practices.

"The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has an ongoing, long-term commitment to ensuring education equity in Michigan's K-12 public schools," said John E. Johnson, Jr., Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. "Our staff is actively engaged in finding effective ways to support and implement the Commission's recommendations, including providing support and assistance for improving literacy rates negatively impacted by COVID-19 and ensuring safe learning environments for all students."

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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