• UPDATE! ACT NOW! Tell MI Legislators to Pass an Equitable Education Budget!!

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 6/24/2022 5:00:00 PM

    Take Action for K-12 Funding!

    Former US Representative and civil rights activist John Lewis once said, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you HAVE TO SPEAK UP. You have to say something; YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!” DPSCD families and supporters, Michigan has not adequately addressed its education funding issues. It is imperative for our students and Michigan’s future, that schools receive the funding they need.

    Currently, the Michigan Legislature is negotiating an education budget, and with the additional COVID-19 funds, they have the opportunity to support students and schools in a historical way. Governor Whitmer recommended a budget that demonstrates the value of public education, its children and families, as well as the staff who serve them. The Investment in K-12 public education is an investment that will improve staff retention and hiring, expand wraparound services for students, and address infrastructure challenges.

    On Tuesday, the Government and Community Affairs team along with other education advocates spent time in Lansing speaking about the need for this year’s budget to support students in schools. Particularly investments for:

    • Increasing the per-pupil funding
    • Mental health services
    • School Infrastructure
    • Special Education funding
    • School Safety grants
    • School-Based Health Clinics

    Unfortunately, the fight for DPSCD students and schools cannot end there. We need our students, staff, family, and community to amplify and further spread our message! Join us in our 2022-2023 Budget Campaign by contacting state legislators and telling them to pass an education budget that puts students and schools first.

    CLICK YOUR GROUP BELOW AND CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR TODAY!

    Students Campaign

    Parents Campaign

    Staff Campaign

    DPSCD Supporters Campaign

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  • UPDATE! June State Board of Education Meeting

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 6/17/2022 4:00:00 PM

    Happy Friday District Families and Supporters! Detroit has experienced extremely hot temperatures and we wish everyone safety during these times. It was another busy week in the legislature and this week’s update will consist of a recap of the State Board of Education meeting, updates from Detroit’s City Council, and information about recent education legislation. 

    State Board of Education 

    On Tuesday, June 14, the State Board of Education met for their monthly meeting. Their agenda included how to improve the health, safety, and wellness of all learners; school vouchers; and the effectiveness of pre-kindergarten. 

    Improving the Health, Safety, and Wellness of all Learners 

    • Providing adequate mental health services for students is extremely important; there needs to be more financial investment. 
    • Michigan has one of the highest reported mental health concerns for children in the nation. 
    • Teachers are not therapists; legislators need to provide funding for schools to hire social workers and other support staff. 
    • Investing in mental health services will have a positive impact on student behavior and academic achievement. 

    The Effectiveness of Pre-Kindergarten 

    • PreK can make a profound impact on its students, but to be effective, it needs to be high quality. 
    • Universal and blended PreK has been shown to produce better results than income-based programs. 
    • Not only does PreK have a positive academic impact on a student, but it also helps with social and “soft” skills. 
    • Not only does Michigan need increases in K-12 funding, but PreK funding too in order to create smaller class sizes. 

    President Ulbrich and several board members expressed the dangers regarding the school voucher programs that are being petitioned to be introduced to Michigan. She warned the public that these vouchers will take away funding from the public school system.  

    Detroit City Council 

    Detroit city council has postponed a vote on a $60-million-dollar tax abatement for the development of the former Hudson site. The decision comes amidst fierce pushback from community members as well as members of the council themselves. Citing unfinished design and increasing costs, a spokesperson for the project says costs have increased to 1.4 billion from an original price tag of 904 million dollars.  

    Opponents such as Council Member Angela Whitfield - Calloway say: 

    • Rich investors such as Dan Gilbert do not need more taxpayers’ dollars. 
    • The project has already begun and is scheduled to be completed within 2 years. 
    • Abatement of further taxes is unnecessary and harmful.  

    Supporters such as Council Member Scott Benson say  

    • The tax abatement is necessary for the site to be successful; not just “finished”. 
    •  Member Benson is planning an education series with DEGC to “inform the community about the positive benefits of tax abatements”. 
    •  The first workshop is planned for June 30th at Farwell Recreation Center. 

    The issue will be taken up during the next formal session on 6/21 at 10 am.  

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • HB 6013 (Rep. Pamela Hornberger) passed the House and is being sent to the Senate for further discussion. This bill creates a grant program that would provide funding for public schools to pay mentor teachers and student teachers.  
       
    • HB 6183 (Rep. Jeff Yaroch) was introduced this week. This bill requires high school civics courses to include law enforcement interactions for students. 
    •  
      HB 6230 (Rep. Felicia Brabec) and HB 6231 (Rep. Ranjeev Puri) were also this week. These bills would create a grant program for current paraprofessionals to obtain their teaching degrees. 

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District. 

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  • UPDATE! ANTI-Critical Race Theory Bill Passes Committee!

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 6/10/2022 5:15:00 PM

    Happy Friday DPSCD supporters and stakeholders. While we are still awaiting the Michigan Legislature to finalize budget negotiations, graduation season is upon us and it is important to recognize all the hard work of the District’s students. This week’s update will include information about the upcoming State Board of Education Meeting, the dangers of HB 5097 from Rep. Beeler, and Legislative Bill updates.

    House Bill 5097(Rep. Beeler)

    Despite recent pushback, this past week HB 5097 was heard in the Senate Education Committee. This bill along with Senate Bill 460 have been heavily scrutinized due to banning Critical Race Theory and silencing Black people and other demographics in the classroom as they express their experiences. The District has already taken a strong stance against these bills. Students and staff of all backgrounds should not fear discipline for sharing how their identities have shaped their lives. PLEASE SHARE AND SIGN OUR PETITION TO STAND AGAINST THIS BILL!!!

    State Board of Education 

    On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at 9:30 am, the State Board of Education will be meeting. Their agenda includes student reflections from graduation, a presentation on how to improve the health, safety, and wellness of learners, the effectiveness of pre-k, and discussions on students with asthma and the Special Education Advisory Committee. Please tune in via their YouTube Channel and share your thoughts during public participation.

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • HB 6076 (Rep. Laurie Pohutsky) was referred to the House Families, Children, and  Seniors Committee. This bill would require mental health professionals to release records related to child abuse or neglect within 7 days of receiving a written request from DHHS, instead of the previous 14-day window. 
    • HB 6077 (Rep. Gregory Markkanen) was referred to the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee. This bill would mandate biannual child abuse training for mandatory reporters. 
    • HB 6020 (Rep. Bronna Kahle) was passed by the House and sent to the Senate. This bill would establish a student mental health apprenticeship and internship program through the Michigan Department of Education. 


    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District.

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  • UPDATE! Legislative Bill Updates

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 6/6/2022 4:00:00 PM

    Happy Monday District supporters and stakeholders. Both the city council and state legislature were on recess this week due to the Memorial Holiday. This week’s legislative update will consist of a breakdown of recent legislation. 

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • Rep. Puri introduced HB 6166 which would require schools to provide education on Asian American and Pacific Islander history. We have seen several bills including SB 460 (Sen. Theis) in which legislation attempts to forbid curriculum and instruction that promotes and celebrates the diversity of our students. Rep. Puri’s bill will help students see themselves in their classrooms. 
    • Detroit Caucus Member, Sen. Hollier, recently proposed Senate Resolution 146 which would affirm the belief that students’ education should include a full and complete telling of history. 
    • Staff retention and recruiting has been a topic of discussion at education policy tables for quite some time. House Education Committee Chair, Rep. Hornberger, sponsored HB 6013. This bill would provide additional funding for mentor teachers and payments for student teachers. 
    • Rep. Julie Rodgers proposed HB 6100, which would hold schools harmless from the minimum hour and day requirements if they suffered from closures due to staff shortages. Due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, this would prevent many school districts from financial penalties.  

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District. 

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  • UPDATE! City Council Meeting

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 6/1/2022

    Welcome back District supporters and stakeholders! The District has resumed operations after being closed Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day. The District is still awaiting budget updates from the Michigan Legislature to learn about the state’s budget. Please reach out to your state legislators and encourage them to support Governor Whitmer’s proposed education budget. This week’s legislative update will include an update on our My School Votes work, a summary of this week’s Detroit City Council meeting, and an update on legislative bills.

    Student Voter Registration

    “Voting is not only our right-it is our power”- Loung Ung, Human Rights Activist

    The District’s My School Votes program has been working and registering eligible students to vote. The Civic Literacy club at Renaissance High School hosted voter registration tables at this week’s Open House event. The students speak about the importance of striving for equitable school funding, social justice issues, and staying involved in local politics.

    Detroit City Council Meeting - May 25, 2022

    Detroit City Council Meeting - May 25, 2022

    Detroit City Council met for a regular session on May 25. Two resolutions were presented by President Sheffield and Member Scott Benson regarding the financial problems plaguing the Detroit Public Library (DPL). President Sheffield’s resolution called on the state legislature to modify state laws and exempt both DPL and DPSCD (Detroit Public Schools Community District) from tax abatements and captures with the goal of both helping DPSCD pay down DPS’s legacy debt quicker than anticipated. Additionally, it encourages an immediate increase of funding directly to the library system.

    Councilmember Bensons’ resolution changes the appointment manner for the Board of Library Commissioners. It garnered heavy skepticism from council members and the community as a whole. Stakeholders spoke in opposition to the use of funds meant for the library system for business investments by the Downtown Development Authority through excessive tax captures; a board on which Mayor Duggan sits.

    Legislative Education Bills

    • Senate Bill 1012 (Sen. VanderWall) was recently given another reading. This bill would require the Department of Education to create and administer a student mental health internship and retention grant program.

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District.

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  • UPDATE! May State Board of Education Meeting

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 5/23/2022 4:30:00 PM

    Happy Monday District supporters and stakeholders! This work cannot be done without the community. Our stakeholders continue to drive this work and the District’s efforts to amplify community voices. The work of advocacy cannot be done alone; to see transformational change, everyone needs to lean in. This week’s legislative update will include an update on our My School Votes work, a summary of this week’s State Board of Education meeting, and an update on legislative bills. 

    Student Voter Registration 

    The District continues to support student voter registration at our high schools. District members joined Councilmember Calloway this week at Renaissance and Mumford High School to discuss the importance of civic engagement and to assist upperclassmen in registering to vote. 

    On Thursday, Councilmember Calloway and the Government and Community Affairs team went to Renaissance High School and registered nearly 60 students during their lunch periods. Students spoke about the need for youth voices to be amplified, especially in local and statewide elections. 

    Voting registration at Renaissance High SchoolHelping a student register to vote

    On Friday, the two teams went to Mumford High School and assisted in registering almost 40 seniors and juniors to vote. This year’s upcoming election will consist of State Representatives, local school board members, and State Senators, all of whom play a major role in shaping Michigan’s schools and education. Students will be able to participate in selecting leaders who align with their interests and values.  

    Helping students register to voteVoter registration volunteers

    Voting is just one way District students are empowered to take civic responsibility. Students will be applying to participate in the My School Votes Ambassador program. Participating students will receive expert training on relational and digital organizing tactics, network expansion, and voter registration strategies. 

    State Board of Education Meeting - May 17, 2022 

    Last Tuesday, the State Board of Education met to discuss education updates and initiatives for Michigan. Their agenda consisted of a presentation on Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and expanding secondary learning opportunities, a report from State Superintendent Dr. Rice, and a presentation from Ms. Scott from Davis Aerospace High school. 

    CTE Programs and Expanding Secondary Learning Opportunities 

    Dr. Scott Koenigsknecht, Dr. Delsa Champan, and Dr. Brian Pyles spoke about the need to engage students beyond their typical core courses. In Michigan, approximately 103,000 students are enrolled in CTE coursework in addition to their core curriculum. Out of all the seniors who participated in CTE programs, nearly 96% graduated last school year. These programs help students have success during school and also help prepare them for the workforce post-graduation. 

    Due to COVID-19, the state did see a decrease in CTE enrollment after continuous increases in previous years. This was due to lack of transportation, staff shortages, and the inability to social distance. Each presenter specified that they foresee an increase in enrollment these upcoming school years as school districts have managed their COVID-19 policies. 

    Outside of CTE, they also spoke about the need to revamp Advanced Placement (AP) courses. These courses provide more rigorous coursework to students who want more early preparation for college courses. Students who participate in these courses and perform well on the AP exams could earn college credits. It is a fantastic opportunity that students in Detroit Public Schools Community District have been able to take advantage of. 

    Update from Ms. Scott from Davis Aerospace High School 

    Ms. Scott, from Davis Aerospace High School, spoke about her experiences leading the robotics program at her school. She began her presentation by stating that schools need to reflect the student population. The robotics competition was helpful in exposing students to a diverse set of communities. Ms. Scott shared that this diversity has strengthened the robotics team; a transgender student who was welcomed onto the team helped to troubleshoot an issue on the team's project. They focused on working together and achieving a common goal. Behaviors of hate are not innate in us, and communities align their efforts to create a better space for individuals to thrive. 

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • Senate Bill 993-995 (Sen. MacDonald, Sen. Huizenga, Sen. Alexander) was recently signed into law by the Governor. These bills would create the Opioid Liability Litigation Act and provide settlement funds as a result of opioid-related lawsuits.  
    • House Bill 4326 (Rep. VanWoerkom) recently received another reading in the Senate’s Committee on Education and Career Readiness. This bill would allow computer coding to qualify as a language other than English for purposes of the Merit Curriculum language requirement. 

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District. 

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  • UPDATE! School Aid Fund!

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 5/13/2022 4:00:00 PM

    Good afternoon Detroit Public School Community District stakeholders! It took some time, but the current sunshine is welcomed, warming temperatures and Detroiters are finally switching off those furnaces. This week’s legislative update will include an update on our My School Votes work, a summary of the legislature’s education budget, and an update on legislative bills. 

    My School Votes Update 

    This week, Renaissance’s Civic Literacy Club participated in classroom voter registration canvassing! This year is a vital election year for Michigan with many state officials on both the August and November ballots. Led by Mr. Mullin, students spoke to senior classes on the importance of voting and assisted with in-person voter registration. There were also students who received assistance with obtaining a state-issued ID, after being explained its importance in Michigan. Continue to keep up the amazing job Renaissance. 

     Student registering students to vote

     

    School Aid Fund Budget Updates 

    • Senate Bill 832 (Sen. Schmidt) School Aid Fund 
    • It passed a Senate ROLL CALL # 187 YEAS 20 NAYS 15 EXCUSED 3 NOT VOTING 0 
    • It was referred to the Committee on Appropriations on May 5, 2022. 
    • It increases the foundation allowance by $450 to $9150 per pupil. 
    • The Senate included $50 per pupil for all districts to address learning loss for a total of $70 million. 
    • The Senate did not include an increase in funding for at-risk programs.  
    • The Senate did not include any funding for infrastructure or capital projects. 
    • The Senate did not include any Great Start Readiness Program funding increases but shifted $121 million from federal funds to the School Aid Fund. 
    • The Senate does not include any additional funding for special education, student assessments, or expanding CTE programming. 
    • The Senate retained funding for nonpublic schools (the governor recommended eliminating funding for nonpublic school reimbursements). 

    As negotiations continue, please stay tuned for updates. It is vital that all stakeholders advocate for adequate and equitable funding for students and schools. You can read Dr. Vitti’s Detroit Free Press article regarding Michigan’s education budget. 

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • Senate Bill 380-833 (Dyslexia Package) recently passed the Senate. It will provide training and resources for schools and teachers to support students with dyslexia. 
    • House Bill 6100 (Rep. Rogers) was recently referred to the Committee on Education. It will hold school districts’ funding harmless for up to 9 days for not reaching 60% student attendance if they had staffing shortages due to COVID-19 for the 2021-2022 school year. 
    • House Bill 4326 (Rep. VanWoerkom) was recently discussed again by Michigan Legislators. If passed, it would make computer coding a foreign language in schools. 

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District. 

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  • UPDATE: The Truth About School Vouchers!

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 5/6/2022 4:00:00 PM

    Happy Friday DPSCD Community and Supporters! The legislature is still undergoing budget negotiations and the District looks forward to keeping the community updated. This week’s legislative update will discuss the School Voucher initiative that serves as a threat to public education in Michigan, legislative bill updates, and the upcoming State Board of Education Work Session. 

    The Truth About School Vouchers 

    Let MI Kids Learn is a political organization or ballot committee that gathers voters’ signatures to place a policy on the ballot. It was founded in 2021 and is funded by Betsy DeVos, Let MI Kids Learn is attempting to circumvent a veto from Governor Whitmer on scholarship vouchers. These vouchers would mirror those in Senate Bills 687 and 688, which were previously vetoed by Governor Whitmer. Under this model, corporations and individuals could donate money to a private school and no longer owe that amount of money in taxes. After five years, these tax breaks could cost the state over a billion dollars.  

    Proponents state that the vouchers give increased choice, and opponents state that they unconstitutionally funnel public dollars to private schools and drain tax revenue. 

    Currently, Let MI Kids Learn is attempting to gather around 340,000 signatures, which would allow them to send the vouchers to the Republican-controlled State Legislature, which could pass the vouchers on a simple majority vote. In 2000, a similar ballot initiative to establish vouchers was voted down, with over 69% of voters voting no. 

    Why do the vouchers matter? 

    These vouchers give public dollars to private schools at a time when our public schools are already underfunded and under-resourced. The vouchers, which were already vetoed by Governor Whitmer, could be reinstated with this ballot initiative, circumventing both the Governor's veto and Michiganders' rights to vote on this issue themselves. 

    What is the legislative loophole? 

    While petitioners are telling voters that signatures will simply get the vouchers on the November ballot, their intent is to bring the issue to the Republican-controlled legislature and use a Constitutional loophole that allows the legislature to enact the proposal into law without putting it on the ballot. This would bypass the Governor's ability to veto it, and the voters' ability to decide for themselves in November. 

    Who benefits? 

    If the proposal becomes law, parents of children in private schools could get up to $8,700 in tax credits, paid for by the School Aid Fund. Parents of children in public schools could only get up to $500 in tax credits. 

    Where does the money come from? 

    The tax credits come from the School Aid Fund, which gives funding for our public schools. An estimated $500 million would be taken from public schools in only the first year; billions would be taken from public schools in the following years. 

    Read More at: https://482forward.org/vouchers/#pdf-impact-of-the-student-opportunity-scholarship-ballot-initiative/1/ 

    State Board of Education 

    On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at 9:30 am, the State Board of Education will be meeting for a work session. Their agenda includes board member comments and public participation. 

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • Senate Bill 832 (Sen. Schmidt) recently passed the Senate. It will serve as the baseline for appropriations of the School Aid Fund for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. 

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District. 

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  • UPDATE! STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING APRIL 12, 2022

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 4/15/2022 8:00:00 AM

    Greetings DPSCD Community and Supporters! Please be aware that the District is closed on April 15 in observance of Good Friday. This week’s legislative update will include a summary of the State Board of Education’s meeting and legislative bill updates. 

    State Board of Education 

    On Tuesday, April 12, at 9:30 am, the State Board of Education held its monthly meeting. During their meeting they discussed topics of Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program, increasing the percentage of adults with a post-secondary credential, state student enrollment trends, and school finance. Their agenda. 

    Updates on the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP)  

    • The GSRP is funding through the State School Aid fund and federal funds at approximately $418 million dollars.  
    • Michigan has allocated an additional $120 million dollars for the next 3 years 
    • The goal of the state is to expand the program services to an additional 22,000 children by FY 2024 

    Strategic Goal 6: Increasing the Percentage of Adults with a Postsecondary Credential 

    • The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is working with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to have 60% of Michigan adults obtain a postsecondary credential by 2030. 
    • Their work is aimed at addressing the equity gap in skills, income, and education levels in the state. 
    • Nearly 90,000 MI residents applied for the Futures for Frontliners program where essential workers were eligible for free tuition.  
    • Residents who are 25 and over may be eligible for the Michigan Reconnect program, which provides free tuition to earn an associate degree or skill certificate. 

    State Student Enrollment Trends Presented by Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI) 

    CEPI presented data on the shifting enrollment trends in Michigan. They noted that in the Fall of 2020, Michigan experienced its largest decline in public school enrollment, with some recovery in the lower grades in the Fall of 2021. The gradual decline due to the declining population and birth rates was interrupted by COVID-19. 

    School Finance Report 

    Dr. Arsen from Michigan State University presented on the need for Michigan Legislators to invest more funds and resources into its education system. His presentation highlighted: 

    • School facilities have not been funded at the state level and due to local tax revenue inequities, the communities that need investments the most cannot afford it 
    • Michigan currently underinvests in their special education services and programs 
    • Michigan is falling behind in funding compared to other states even with increases 
    • Governor Whitmer’s proposed education budget should be supported by the Michigan Legislature, particularly efforts to support teacher recruitment and retention 

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • The House Committee on Military, Veterans, and Homeland Security brought forth House Bill 5366 and House Bill 5367 which are both sponsored by Rep. LaFave. They would allow guns to be carried on school premises by CPL holders. They both moved forward and were reported to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  
    • House Bill 5777 (Rep. Frederick) recently passed the Michigan House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Career Readiness. This bill would require and provide resources for language acquisition and development for children who are deaf or hard of hearing (and who are five years old or younger). 

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District. 

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  • UPDATE! State Board of Education Meeting on April 12 at 9:30AM!

    Posted by Lamar Weir on 4/9/2022 12:15:00 PM

    Hello DPSCD Community! The District has welcomed its students and staff back from Spring Break. The legislature was also on its Spring Break and did not host any committee meetings. Nevertheless, this week’s legislative update will consist of information regarding next week’s Michigan Department of Education meeting, and an update on education legislation. 

    State Board of Education 

    On Tuesday, April 12, at 9:30 am, the Michigan Department of Education will be having its monthly meeting. Their agenda consists of: 

    • Updates on the Great Start Readiness Program (GRSP)  
    • A presentation of MDE’s Goal 6: increasing the percentage of adults with a post-secondary credential 
    • State and federal education policy updates 

    Please tune in and provide public comment to let your voice be heard. The advocacy work for equitable funding for our students and schools cannot be done without the community leading the charge. 

    Legislative Education Bills 

    • House Bill 4074 (Rep. Brann) was signed into law by Governor Whitmer on March 24, 2022. It will encourage school districts to integrate the teaching and application of entrepreneurship in their curriculum. 
    • Both House Bill 4810 and House Bill 4811 passed the Michigan House and are now being discussed in the Senate’s Committee on Education and Career Readiness. HB 4810 alters Michigan’s Merit Examination and HB 4811 changes the reporting requirements. 

    To conclude, the District continues to monitor legislative updates and looks forward to collaborating with the community. Text DPSCDVOTES to 22999 to stay up-to-date with news and events within the District. 

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