Ebony JJ Cury
July 3, 2023
In a landmark decision that is reverberating with optimism and a renewed sense of hope, the Michigan Legislature passed a groundbreaking $21.5 billion budget for K-12 education. This isn’t just another budget though. It contains a significant funding increase for those students often deemed ‘at risk’ of falling short of academic goals.
This is the first education budget since Democrats took full control of the Legislature and governor’s office this year and reflects a mission to address significant the downward learning curve during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among the state’s most vulnerable students.
Under the approved budget, which now heads to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, districts will receive more money in the upcoming school year for economically disadvantaged students, English language learners and students who receive special education.
This pivotal action didn’t just occur. The winds of change have been brewing for years, gathering strength with every voice raised in protest and every stride taken in advocacy. This isn’t a victory for Michigan alone; it’s a victory for the marginalized, the overlooked, and those burdened with the label of being “at risk.”
The new budget is a clear testament that we’re done labeling these kids and are ready to begin aiding them instead. It is an investment in our future that couldn’t have come at a better time.
Right in the heart of this crucial change is Detroit – a city that has persevered and thrived despite the odds. And the Black students of Detroit are not just spectators in this movement – they are at its core, driving it forward, ready to make the most of the opportunities this budget seemingly represents.
This isn’t just about providing the tools for a quality education; it’s about changing lives. This funding increase shines a ray of hope on Black Detroit students who’ve been pushed to the fringes for far too long. It tells them, “You are seen, you are heard, and you are valued.”
As we chart this new course, it’s important to remember that change, though promising, isn’t instantaneous. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But the critical element is that we’ve started moving in the right direction, and that’s half the battle won.
There will be obstacles ahead, but there’s a newfound resilience now. Detroit’s Black students are more than just a demographic; they are a powerhouse of potential. And this budget is a testament to the belief that every student, regardless of background or circumstance, has the right to an excellent education.
What we’re witnessing is more than a simple shift in policy; it’s a seismic shift in mindset. A $21.5 billion investment that tells our children they are worth every penny, every effort, and every hope.
In Detroit and across Michigan, this budget is a beacon of change that, if implemented thoughtfully, could drastically alter the future trajectories of our children, especially those ‘at risk’. Let’s harness this momentum, continue pushing for equity, and in doing so, ensure that every child has an opportunity to shine.