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Michigan Civil Rights commission calls for statewide education equity plan

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The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is calling for the creation of a statewide educational equity plan to improve policies, accountability and opportunities for students.

The commission, charged with investigating alleged discrimination, issued a 62-page report on Wednesday after its year-long investigation into equity in K-12 education in Michigan. It met Wednesday to release the report, which can be found here.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is calling for the creation of a statewide educational equity plan to improve policies, accountability and opportunities for students. (Photo: Detroit News file)

“This Commission believes that an adequate education is the key to unlocking a lifetime of opportunities and also is a basic civil right,” said Stacie Clayton, the commission’s chair. “We learned during our education hearings that not all children receive the kind of education they deserve as their birthright.

“We urge policy makers, educators and other stakeholders across the state to view this report as a roadmap they can follow to help schools achieve educational equity and give all Michigan children — regardless of household income, race, residency or ability — the education they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives.”

The report was spurred when the commission investigated the root causes of the Flint water crisis and found educational inequities in Flint’s K-12 school system. To “determine the size and scope of the inequities across schools and districts,” it launched hearings throughout the state in 2018 and 2019 in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ypsilanti and Clinton Township, listening to educators, students, parents and others talk about the challenges in the state’s fragmented education system.

Through those hearings, the commission said, the problem observed with the state’s education system was a lack of a single system and instead hundreds of independent systems all resourced differently. 

“This type of patchwork system has led to