LANSING, Mich. — A team of 11 selected by the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration are now serving as Michigan’s first group of parents providing routine insight on how the state can improve student education.
The Michigan Parents’ Council was set to be created after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order July 15.
Members of the council include residents from across the state, though local appointees include Yazeed Moore of Grand Rapids, a senior programs officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Blanca Astua of Holland, a health promoter for Strangers No Longer.
“We wanted to have a representative sample of parents from across Michigan,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “We have parents who whose kids are educated in a multitude of ways. We have parents whose children are homeschooled, parents whose children go to public schools, parents whose children go to private schools — we have representation from every part of Michigan, we have different races and ethnicities represented on this council.”
The council was originally set to have seven members but was ultimately increased to 11 as a result of the number of applications they received – 250, according to a spokesperson from the Governor’s Office. Collectively, the council will regularly provide Whitmer with insight on how the state’s educational budget can be improved upon to further students in the classroom.
“Really what this represents is the highest-level engagement opportunity for parents when it comes to state level education, policy decision making,” Gilchrist said. “We're very proud to have that, because it allows parents to another opportunity for engagement that already certainly exist at the school level.”
Similarly, in 2019 the Whitmer-Gilchrist administration established the Educator Advisory Council.
“These are two illustrations of the fact that — myself and the governor — we think that the people who are who are going through the experiences with our education system, whether they're parents, education professionals, like they understand the problems, and they also understand the solutions,” he said. “So it's important to have them at the table to be able to give their voice in perspective to help us.”
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