On July 24, the Michigan Education Justice Coalition (MEJC) launched “Reimagine MI Schools,” a statewide campaign to provide quality educational opportunities and positive learning environments for all Michigan public school children. The campaign recognizes that going back to “normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic is unacceptable because it would mean a return to crumbling school buildings, excessive standardized testing, a severe lack of special education services, and other education deficits for far too many Michigan students and their families.
To “Reimagine MI Schools,” the campaign will host listening sessions in August across the state to hear from students, educators and families about their vision for an new education system that is rooted in equity, anti-racism and social justice.
MEJC and the Reimagine MI Schools campaign are led by a diverse coalition of education stakeholders, policymakers, institutions of higher education, teachers, school administrators, community organizations and the students, families and communities most directly impacted by disinvestment in public schools.
The coalition is facilitated by 482Forward, a citywide education organizing network in Detroit. Their members include neighborhood organizations, parents and youth, who come together to ensure all Detroit children have access to an excellent education, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.
482Forward is a founding member of the Partnership for Equity and Education Rights (PEER). PEER is a coalition of state and local organizations in seven states fighting to provide every child access to an excellent public education. PEER supports members to lead, grow and sustain campaigns for full and fair public school funding in their states and to build a powerful movement for education equity across the country. PEER is convened by Education Law Center, the nation’s legal defense fund for public education rights.
“Reimagine MI Schools ensures that student, parent and community voices are paramount in a successful and sustainable solution for public schools,” said Molly Sweeney, co-director of 482Forward. “We are committed to providing a quality public education for every child in Michigan.”
MEJC will use the feedback from the statewide listening sessions to develop a policy platform and campaign to demand full and fair school funding. These meetings are also an important opportunity to support local leaders and coalitions working to improve Michigan public schools. Before officially launching the campaign, MEJC held 13 listening sessions in communities across the state, including Detroit, Grand Blanc and Petosky. A statewide campaign summit is planned for late fall.
”482Forward and MEJC embody PEER’s belief that public education is an essential cornerstone of our society,” said Jennifer Doeren, PEER Managing Director. “Students and families must be at the center of the movement to create and implement a comprehensive plan for equitable and excellent schools.”
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