Michigan public education is being eroded – through the advancement of for-profit charter schools, by way of threats of school closures, and now with the diversion of public school funding to private schools.
The most recent numbers showing lead levels in the water of Flint’s public schools continue to hit with spine-chilling impact.
Thirty months after an appointed emergency manager made the ill-fated decision to begin using the dangerously corrosive Flint River as the municipal water source for a city of nearly 100,000 people, the water is still not safe to drink unless it first passes through a filter.
That’s after a year of intense study by federal, state and local officials as well as some of the nation’s leading experts from a variety of universities.
ACLU of Michigan Launches “MPowerED” Campaign to End Inequality in Education
DETROIT—With public schools in decline statewide and Michigan tumbling from national leader in public education to faltering also-ran, the ACLU of Michigan today kicked off a major reform campaign aimed at ensuring the state honors its obligation to provide quality education to all its schoolchildren.
The ACLU of Michigan has devoted a large part of its mission to reforming education in Michigan. Along with our efforts to guarantee that the state’s schoolchildren have a right to read, we are also working alongside experts and activists to implement a host of other reforms aimed at boosting the quality of education in our schools.
Through our communications, legal and legislative work, we seek to shed light on some of the most pressing problems facing our school districts—inadequate funding, lack of transparency, unstable and unsafe learning environments—and to work with teachers, administrators and other experts to provide recommendations to address these problems.
We believe that Michigan has the potential to be a national standard-bearer for public education, and we think it’s our role to help push the state to such heights.
As part of this role, we have developed the MPowerED campaign, an ongoing, statewide effort to transform how we think, talk about and, ultimately, operate public education in Michigan. From capital expenditures to standardized testing, from literacy education to zero-tolerance discipline policies--Michigan has seen a dramatic decline in everything from the conditions of its schools to the resources so essential to teaching and serving students and maintaining successful districts. In big cities and small towns alike, literacy education is suffering; school facilities are crumbling; and many of the leaders tasked with fixing the problem seem torn between bad ideas for education reform and no ideas at all.
Meanwhile, many of our students—especially those in financially strapped districts—find themselves inundated with a growing host of problems that stem from the state’s educational shortcomings. In many districts, children read far below grade level. Standardized test scores suffer. Fewer Michigan public-school students are finding a path to college—or the means to stay even if they do manage to enroll.
With MPowerED, the ACLU of Michigan adds yet another dimension to its ongoing fight to make the change many of our districts so desperately need. Driven by our vision of quality education for all, we continue to take up the challenges of empowering Michigan education for one central reason: Our children cannot afford for us to fail.