First State Board of Education Meeting of 2022

Posted by Lamar Weir on 1/12/2022 3:00:00 PM

  State Board of Education – January Meeting 

Over the holiday break the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus swept through our city and nation, we entered the new year with open minds and new strategies to combat the pandemic. It will take our collective efforts to restore a sense of normalcy in our schools and society at large. On January 11, 2022, the State Board of Education met to discuss an agenda that includes statewide teacher shortages, COVID-19 safety measures, teaching our students a “comprehensive history” in classes, and recent educational legislation. 

Comprehensive History 

Teachers deserve to teach an unfiltered historical truth without fear of discipline and bringing financial penalties to their district. Students, particularly those of African descent, have unique life experiences that their white peers cannot relate to. They should be able to discuss them in the classroom. While State Board of Education members Synder and McMillin are against the teaching of a comprehensive history, also deemed Critical Race theory by legislators, in schools, many of the board members OPPOSE SB 460 (which would ban Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project, and defund school districts that teach them) and adopted a resolution to send to Michigan Legislators. The District also opposed the bill with our petition. 

COVID-19 Safety Protocols 

COVID-19 safety protocols such as universal masking policies, surveillance testing, and vaccine mandates continue to be a debated issue nationally. Coming into 2022, Detroit’s COVID-19 positivity rate was ~40%. Given the severity of this pandemic, we cannot just “go back to normal” as both Republican board members suggested. Although the State Board of Education failed to pass a resolution regarding pandemic safety measures, the District is staying diligent in ensuring we are following the most up-to-date COVID-19 Safety Measures possible. While all staff members participate in weekly testing, please register your DPSCD student for COVID-19 Testing to protect our community. 

Teacher Shortages 

Addressing teacher shortages is the 7th goal of Michigan’s Department of Education Strategic Plan. Unfortunately, having an adequate number of certified teachers in classrooms is directly tied to adequate and equitable funding for school districts. Michigan has ranked last in the nation for educational revenue growth and is still recovering from the 2011 budget cut that caused staff layoffs. Despite the recent passing of the historical budget increase,  more investments into teacher certification training programs and recruitment programs are needed. The State Board of Education passed a resolution to encourage legislators to increase the school aid fund and find strategic ways to develop and attract more teachers to the state. 

The State Board of Education meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 9:30 am. These individuals are elected by the eligible voters, and we encourage you to attend these meetings, provide public comments, and make sure that you are registered to vote!