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September 27, 2021
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Lansing, MI-The Michigan Civil Rights Commission and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights have issued a comprehensive guide for Michigan superintendents, principals and educators who want to increase equity in schools and help dismantle institutional and structural barriers to success for all students.
The new tool, entitled Resource Guide to Developing a School Equity Plan, provides educators with a template for operationalizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in Michigan's K-12 education system.
The guide was developed in response to recommendations for action included in the Commission report, Education Equity in Michigan, issued in September of 2020. The report describes inequities in Michigan's K-12 education system and details recommendations for action to make educational equity a priority in Michigan schools.
The MCRC report recommended that MDCR expand its existing Council for Government and Education on Equity and Inclusion to include representatives of the Michigan Department of Education. The expanded Council serves as the entity responsible for actualizing the report's recommendations.
A significant finding outlined in the MCRC Education Equity report concluded that a comprehensive school equity plan can enhance policies, accountability and opportunities to achieve equitable outcomes for students across the board. Beginning in January 2021, the Council met to review all the report's recommendations, including the development of a statewide educational equity plan. Over a seven-month period, the Council, working with MDCR's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, created the resource guide.
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"The Commission continues to advocate that an adequate and equitable education is a civil right. Our goal for this document is to assist in achieving equitable outcomes for students across the board and provide an avenue for using an equity lens to review all policies, practices, and procedures within Michigan's K-12 education system," said Stacie Clayton, Chair of the MCRC. "It is our hope that educators throughout the state will be able to use this resource guide to establish their own customized and locally controlled school equity plans."
The resource guide begins by detailing major gaps in educational achievement between students and schools and makes the case for local equity plans in helping to close those gaps. Using real-life examples of equity plans in place at schools around the country, the resource guide outlines the steps to creating a localized plan with a clearly defined vision and mission, organizational structure, as well as guidance in setting goals and establishing desired outcomes. The guide offers a list of additional resources educators can draw upon to help in developing plans to increase equity in their own schools and districts.
"It was great to work with many educators and folks invested in creating and sustaining more equitable access for students throughout Michigan," said Alfredo Hernandez, MDCR's Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chair of the Council on Government and Education on Equity and Inclusion. "The Council's continuous brainstorming generated a resource guide that we see of value throughout the state, as educators embrace innovative ways of establishing more inclusive environments, experiences, and opportunities."
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Find the Resource Guide to Developing a School Equity Plan here. To review the 2020 MCRC report, Education Equity in Michigan, and the complete list of recommendations for action, click here.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, genetic information, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.
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