Exploring Michigan's Digital Divide

The COVID-19 pandemic and related school closures highlighted Michigan’s longstanding digital divide. In communities across the state, access to devices and reliable broadband varied greatly. Through a partnership between The Education Trust-Midwest and Harvard College Data Analytics Groups, Michigan’s digital divide can be explored in an interactive map. Filters include the percent of students from low-income families, the percent of students of color, the percent of deaths in the county due to COVID-19 and district enrollment. Click here to use the data tool.

Michigan's Digital Divide

Closing the digital divide is critical for creating access to virtual instruction, however, much more will be needed to ensure that educators are supported to provide high-quality instruction in a virtual environment. This includes access to digital tools and curricula that are high-quality and align to Michigan’s career- and college-ready standards.

As state and school leaders take necessary steps to improve access to and quality of virtual instruction, it should also be viewed as a supplement to traditional classroom learning, rather than a substitute for in-person instruction. Existing research on the effectiveness of virtual schooling shows the limitations of this approach and the need for close attention to the quality of instruction and additional student supports.

Click here to use the data tool.

Strategic communicator Jennifer Mrozowski joins Ed Trust-Midwest team

This month, Ed Trust-Midwest announced the hire of strategic communicator an veteran Detroit education journalist Jennifer Mrozowski as director of communications.

“Jennifer is a passionate advocate for children, dedicated to advancing educational equity and a thoughtful, experienced communication strategist and community leader,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “Her diverse experience communicating and working with many partners in public and nonprofit sectors, and covering public education at newspapers including The Detroit News,  strengthens our ability to share data and best-practice research about educational excellence and equity. We are thrilled to add Jennifer to our talented team.”

Read the full press release.

Capital Update

SENATE EDUCATION AND CAREER READINESS will meet today, June 16, at noon in Room 403 of the State Capitol Building and streaming here. Agenda: testimony by Ms. Jennifer Marks, parent, Brighton Area Schools

HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE will meet on June 17 in the House Appropriations Room in the State Capitol Building and streaming here. Agenda:

  • Senate Bill 657 (Theis, R),  regarding alternative teacher certification.
  • House Bill 5603 (Reilly, R), which would establish a higher education ombudsman who is appointed by the governor, and outline the roles and responsibilities of the office.

Tweet of the Week

@skillmanfound: Challenges arise for #students in the #pandemic, such as illness, losing a parent, and parents working overtime. These #Detroit #educators are working hard to make sure they connect with all students during this time. #COVID19 #DetroitSchools #DetroitLove