MPowerED: Empowering Michigan Education

OVERVIEW

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.


VIDEOS

Ending Inequality in Education

Helping High Achievers from Low-Performing Districts

Doing More...With More

Turning the Tide on Teacher Turnover

Broadening Horizons for At-Risk Youth


KEY DOCUMENTS

Download a Copy of "Raising Readers," Our Roadmap to Empowering Education in Michigan

Download Policy Brief 1: Attending to All Students' Learning Needs

Download Policy Brief 2: Providing Adequate Learning Resources

Download Policy Brief 3: Building An Educator Workforce Capable of Literacy Instruction

Download Policy Brief 4: Supporting Literacy by Supporting Students' Communities

Download Policy Brief 5: Leading Literacy Education at the State Level

Download Policy Brief 6: Providing Appropriate Curricula

Download a PDF of our 2016 education reform mailer

On behalf of 15 named plaintiffs and tens of thousands of schoolchildren in Flint, the ACLU of Michigan filed a class action civil right lawsuit in Flint on...

WASHINGTON, DC—The ACLU of Michigan and the National ACLU today petitioned the US Supreme Court to rule on whether the group can move ahead with a lawsuit...

August 15, 2013

With the economic downturn and the failure of Michigan’s legislature to increase funding for public education, many school districts in the state are facing...

September 23, 2015 RIGHT TO READ

If the right to a public education means anything, it means that students should be taught to read. In a groundbreaking case that has garnered national...

DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today called on the Dearborn Heights Board of Education to exercise discretion allowed under the...

July 12, 2012 RIGHT TO READ

DETROIT—The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a class-action lawsuit today in state court on behalf of eight students who represent nearly 1,...

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ACLU at the Michigan Capitol – Week of September 19, 2016

The Michigan Legislature has only 15 scheduled session days for the 2015-...

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Information is the currency of democracy. 

First spoken by President Thomas Jefferson in the 19th Century, those words will forever resonate with me...

December 15, 2015 Darnell Earley, Emergency Manager

The ACLU of Michigan sent a letter Monday to Detroit Public Schools (DPS) emergency manager Darnell Earley expressing concern over the recent announcement...

In a move characterized by critics as both overtly political and terribly damaging, the Board of Regents for Eastern Michigan University on Tuesday decided...

Last December, regents for Eastern Michigan University put the Education Achievement Authority on notice, saying that a number of severe problems had to be...

November 13, 2015 Education Reform, michiga

"Islands of excellence in a sea of despair," that’s how former superintendent of Michigan Public Instruction, Thomas D. Watkins Jr., described special...

As another example of excessive police force against a student hits the headlines, it makes me wonder when the outrage over such treatment of children will...

Imagine a better road where students, instead of getting suspended or expelled from school as disciplinary actions, are given a chance to heal. Such is the...

October 29, 2015

DETROIT – Citing potential constitutional violations, the ACLU of Michigan is urging Detroit Public Schools officials to rescind the...

WASHINGTON, DC—The ACLU of Michigan and the National ACLU today petitioned the US Supreme Court to rule on whether the group can move ahead with a lawsuit...

September 11, 2015

This month heralds the beginning of a new school year—a time of excitement, hope and promise for most our state’s children. 

Over the summer, ...

September 24, 2015

Below are some of the thousands of Educational Achievement Authority emails (edited for...

September 23, 2015 RIGHT TO READ

If the right to a public education means anything, it means that students should be taught to read. In a groundbreaking case that has garnered national...

I prefer pants.

That’s exactly what I tried to explain to the principal of my high school, Oakridge High, when I went to him with my concerns about...

November 14, 2014 Education

You might expect Atiya Haynes to be downhearted.

After all, the 17-year-old honor student and community volunteer was suspended for the rest of...

In June of 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder stepped behind a microphone at Detroit's Renaissance High School to announce the start of a revolutionary new approach to...

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan expressed dismay and concern today after attending the Highland Park Renaissance...

July 12, 2012 RIGHT TO READ

DETROIT—The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a class-action lawsuit today in state court on behalf of eight students who represent nearly 1,...