MDE Achievement Gap Pilot Project

A website-collection of support materials, webinars, presentations, and information on African-American students and the Achievement Gap (AG) work at the Michigan Department of Education

Closing the Achievement Gap

MDE African American Young Men of Promise Initiative is now The African American Student Initiative (TAASI)

Originally designed as a 3 year pilot study toward closing the Achievement Gap in Michigan of African-American Young Men it has been extended for a fourth year with a focus now on all African American students and the Achievement Gap.



The Office of Education Improvement and Innovation has established an extensive program to enable improved student achievement via technical support provided through Curriculum and Instruction, MiExcel/Statewide System of Support, Teacher Leadership, Educational Technology, Public School Academies, and the School Improvement Grant programs. Collectively, these programs work collaboratively with regional offices, districts, and schools to facilitate and support the improvement of existing educational options and encouraging the innovation of new ones. As a part of this ongoing work OEII has expanded the scope and work of the innovative three-year pilot program to facilitate the rapid turnaround in achievement of African-American young men and women, and eliminate the academic achievement gap.

Specifically, in order to assist more schools, the program has been expanded to include two phases. In the first year of the program the focus is on becoming aware of personal biases regarding culture that have personal and professional impact. Phase Two, the second year of the program, is designed to assist participants in the use of cultural proficiency, dialogue, and reflective practices to understand and change the impact of race, power, and privilege in spaces that influence and determine the academic performance of African American students.

Our Education through Our Eyes

2017 MDE Achievement Gap Summit
Friday, August 4, 2017
Eastern Michigan University Student Center, Ypsilanti, MI

This conference explored the work of closing the Achievement Gap in Michigan of African-American Young Men and Women. You can find the final conference program below.



The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Achievement Gap Core Planning Team has been charged with the research and development of a multidimensional strategy of closing achievement gaps between African American young people and the highest performing student group in Michigan. The findings and recommendations contained in this document are preliminary, not conclusive.

Your critical thought, reflection, and comments are welcome as we work toward crafting an effective, collaborative, and efficient strategy for African American young men and women in Michigan. We also welcome your input and assistance in collecting data and identifying solutions that work. Thank you in advance for being a part of this collective effort!

- The MDE AG Cross-Office Workgroup


Description of Achievement Gap Pilot Project and Goals

Initially, each participating school addressing the AG focused on one of the strategies listed below. The research briefs below provide additional data and information.

Research Briefs:


Webinar #1
March 12, 2013
Principal Baruti Kafele (Presentation | Bio)


Webinar #2
April 8, 2013
Dr. Alfred Tatum (PowerPoint only | Bio)


Webinar #3
May 14, 2013
Dr. Ivory Toldson (Presentation | Bio)