Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

Representation matters in our schools

Representation matters in our schools at every level, from who leads a classroom all the way out to who sets an education policy.

Together, students, parents, caregivers, educators, and community members know what’s needed to boost educational outcomes and nurture whole child development, caring for the brains and the hearts of students.

These are OUR schools. Education is all of our business. As individuals and as a collective, we all are accountable for readying young people to lead bold destinies. And it is by listening to all voices—and centering those of young people and those closest to them—that we will be able to design an equitable education system—one that works for every student and every community.

At last week’s meeting of the Michigan Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12, lawmakers listened and asked questions as advocates from across Michigan’s education system spoke. A Detroit parent organizer, parents from across the state, educational leaders, and community advocates working at multiple levels shared stories, insights, and ideas for how the state could strengthen schools. Their testimonies exemplified the power people can wield to influence the design of our education system.

A key message they shared: Representation matters in our schools.  

For Black and Hispanic communities, this means ensuring classrooms, hallways, offices, and school buildings are filled with Black and Hispanic educators and staff. Study after study shows the benefits of children and young people being taught by, cared for, and championed by adults who look like them, who “get it.”

They stressed that at a time when the teaching profession continues to be dogged, Michigan must get serious about teacher recruitment, development, retention, and pay—and programs targeted to attract and keep Black and Hispanic educators are critical.

Read how these advocates asked Michigan legislators to invest in retaining teachers of color in Chalkbeat Detroit.

The Skillman Foundation is a funder of Chalkbeat Detroit.

Carmen Kennedy-Rogers

Dr. Carmen Kennedy-Rogers is the director of Ground Building, supporting the power of Detroit youth, educators, and residents to shift education policy and systems change.

Comments (1)

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  • Katie

    There is something to be said about hope and academic confidence for all students and their ability to launch towards whom they aspire to be. If you believe it you can achieve it has turned out to be exactly right. We need to teach our children to smile and be proud thru the ability to complete their education and become any person they want to be. Forget the labels and special programs that teach segregation. Teachers must hold all children’s education with love, support, and nurture individuality. Make education defy any shape. We are all children of God.

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