Ed Trust-Midwest Joins Business, Civil Rights and Civic Leaders to Call for Investment in Michigan’s Students

In a new analysis, ETM unveils equitable funding options to shield vulnerable students amid projected budget shortfalls 

By Jennifer Mrozowski

At a time of great inequality of opportunity deepened by the COVID-19 crisis, The Education Trust-Midwest and a broad cross-section of business, civil rights and civic leaders launched a new campaign – Opportunity for All – to call on state leaders to invest in Michigan’s students and adopt a system of fairer education funding – including in immediate state budget decisions – as leaders grapple with projected shortfalls for the FY 2021 budget.

The announcement also includes a new analysis, entitled The Time is Now: COVID-19 and Fair Funding. In the new brief, The Education Trust-Midwest proposes pragmatic and fair budget strategies that state leaders could immediately implement to prioritize Michigan’s vulnerable students – especially low-income students, English learners and students with disabilities – in the state’s immediate budget decisions. The strategies include more equitable approaches to budget reductions that serve as alternatives to Michigan’s standard approach to budget cuts, as well as greater transparency and accountability for the state investment.
State leaders joining The Education Trust-Midwest in the call to shield Michigan’s vulnerable students from the harshest state budget cuts included Mike Jandernoa, Founder and Chairman of 42 North Partners; Alice Thompson, CEO of Black Family Educational Services, Inc. and former Chief Executive Officer, Black Family Development, Inc. of Detroit; Jametta Lilly, Chief Executive Officer, Detroit Parent Network; and Adnoris “Bo” Torres, Executive Director of the Hispanic Center of West Michigan. The diverse table of leaders represents among Michigan’s most prominent civil rights, business and civic leaders – on both sides of the political aisle.
Michigan is already among the worst states in the country for fair funding of education, a key reason why state leaders must commit to invest in public education, transform the state’s inequitable funding formula and prioritize vulnerable students during budget decisions to address wide gaps in opportunity and achievement among Michigan’s schoolchildren.
“Michigan needs a skilled workforce to ensure a strong, prosperous economy, and that means we need to give every student equal access to opportunities for a successful future,” said Mike Jandernoa, who is also a respected philanthropic leader and a board member of Talent 2025 in West Michigan. “Our state’s leaders must commit to an equitable education funding system that helps close the gaps between Michigan’s wealthy and poor districts and supports our most vulnerable children.”
“We have to take a hard look at our longstanding systemic injustices and choose to invest in public education, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic is worsening the opportunity divide among Michigan’s students,” said Amber Arellano, executive director of the nonpartisan The Education Trust-Midwest. “The time to address these inequities is now. But if budget cuts are necessary, Michigan’s leaders should provide more support for high-need students that have been underserved for decades. We are calling on state leaders to create Opportunity for All.”

Opportunity for All Campaign

The Education Trust-Midwest and a broad cross-section of business, civil rights and civic leaders who support education equity invite you to join a new campaign — Opportunity for All — to elevate the importance of equity of opportunity for all students in Michigan’s public education system and state decision-making.

Will you join the Call to Action? Your support means that you will receive regular updates in the effort to ensure Opportunity for All.

Sign up by clicking here.

Federal Stimulus Funds for 2020-21 Must Invest in Education

Congress will soon begin negotiations on an additional coronavirus relief package with Senate Republicans have introducing their proposal. The following is a statement by Amber Arellano, executive director, The Education Trust-Midwest

“As states, districts, and schools develop and implement reopening plans for the 2020–2021 school year, they need substantial additional federal support to protect students and to address students’ unfinished learning.  Now is the time to not only protect education funding, but prioritize education funding over other areas of the budget and invest in research-based strategies to accelerate student learning.

“The recession induced by COVID-19 has, and will continue to, decimate state and district revenues. On top of that, states, districts, and schools will face additional costs to provide the academic, health, and emotional support that students will need when they return to school. The Council of Chief State School Officers indicated that school systems may need as much as $244.6 billion in additional funding to safely reopen school buildings and serve all students, while other estimates suggest this may require $305 billion. In recognition of both increases in cost and reductions in revenue, 70 education organizations have urged Congress to provide at least $500 billion total in additional state budget stabilization funds, the K-12 share of which should be at least $175 billion. The amount proposed in the relief package by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Lamar Alexander, and Senator Roy Blunt is deeply insufficient to meet the challenges facing our schools and students.

“Federal COVID-19 relief legislation must pay particular attention to the unique needs of students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, English learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness, foster care, or engaged in the juvenile justice system. These students have been historically underserved in education and disproportionately affected by the health, economic, and educational impacts of the virus. Dedicated funding through the programs with expertise in identifying and serving these students, including the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, must be included.

“To that end, critical provisions are needed to protect the rights of historically underserved students and ensure federal funding is appropriately targeted to those who need it most.”

Tweet of the Week

@EdTrustMidwest: In a new analysis, The Time is Now: COVID-19 and Fair Funding, we propose pragmatic and fair budget strategies to invest in public education and prioritize Michigan's vulnerable students. Read more --> #Opp4All