About the Michigan Organizing Collaborative and the Micah Center
The Michigan Organizing Collaborative is a grassroots statewide network of civic, labor, faith-based and social service organizations whose mission is to create a broadly shared agenda for the renewal of Michigan. The goal of the Invest in Education campaign is to get thousands of Michigan residents in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Flint and across the state to commit to investing in their children’s education and to urge their State Legislators to invest more funding directly into classrooms to improve the quality of education for all Michigan students.
The Micah Center is a nonprofit organization that exists to educate people about the biblical call to do justice and how they can respond to that call in their local community. It accomplishes this work by hosting a monthly lecture series on biblical justice and applications to current issues and by facilitating advocacy groups that study issues, educate others, and advocate for policies that advance the cause of justice in areas such as poverty, the environment, health care, worker justice, and criminal justice.
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On Thursday March 1, 2012, LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. will join with the Michigan Organizing Collaborative, the Micah Center and the community as a whole to shift our state’s conversation towards education. A press conference will be held at the LINC Development Center, 1167 Madison Ave Se Grand Rapids MI at 10:00am to announce the launch of a statewide grass roots on-line petition drive to “Invest In Education.”
Featured speakers at the Grand Rapids press conference will be Jeremy DeRoo and Darel Ross II, LINC’s Co-Executive Directors, Jerry DeRuiter, pastor of Kentwood Community Church, a community parent, and representatives from the Micah Center.
A recent report from the Education Trust-Midwest shows Michigan now consistently ranks near the bottom in most subjects and grades. This underperformance is reflected across the board, when compared to similar populations across the country Michigan’s students - whether high income, low income, white, Hispanic or African American - are all lagging in academic achievement.
Parents in Grand Rapids have already taken a stand by working to step up their parental involvement efforts, reading more with their children, advocating for them in school and pulling together with other parents to develop strategies to help their children overcome barriers to their educational achievement. Parents are doing their part and now it is time for the state, political and education leaders to do theirs.
“In his budget the governor calls to restore half of the 2% cut to per pupil funding enacted last year. This is simply not enough,” says Jeremy DeRoo. “Investment in education is an investment in our state’s economic sustainability and we are joining agencies and organizations working collaboratively to increase the focus on educational support across the state.”
In 2011-12 the Grand Rapids Public Schools lost $5.6 million in per pupil funding, and an additional $1.5 million was cut in categorical funding for bilingual education, special education services, and small class size grants for at-risk students. The Governor's budget introduced for 2012-13 calls for the complete elimination of small class size funding, and itinerant special education funding. These and other changes would cut state funding to GRPS by more than $5.3 million.
“We know Michigan children are as capable of learning as children in any other state” says Darel Ross. “We need to make sure everyone is doing all they can to ensure our children succeed.”
Revitalizing neighborhoods through authentic engagement, stimulating economic development, expanding housing opportunities, creating affordable housing, and developing leadership and capacity to residents and grass-root organizations.