LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – On Monday, Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced 11 members of a first-ever Michigan Parents’ Council put together as an advisory group to
bring parents into the policymaking process and get the parent perspective on Michigan’s education budget.
The press release sent from the governor’s office says that “Governor Whitmer thoughtfully structured the council to include diverse perspectives,” but that diversity appears to be in specific categories chosen by the Whitmer administration.
Although Whitmer touts that the council represents a wide range of experiences and perspectives from across the state, most of the council is from southern Michigan, with only two members who live north of Gratiot county.
Of the 11 parents on Whitmer’s Parents Council, only two are men even though the National Center for Education Statistics says that in 2021, most children under the age of 18 (71%) lived in two-parent households.
Seven members of the council are people of color with four members who are white.
The statistics of Michigan students in K-12 education are not equal to that ratio, leaving some races to be underrepresented and others to be overrepresented in the representation of the students. Michigan School Data reports that for the 2021-22 school year, Hispanics made up 8.67% of all students, African Americans were 17.98%
and whites were 64.26%.
In addition, many of the members on the council are also highly educated with Bachelor’s and/or Master’s Degrees. At least six of them have Bachelor’s Degrees and Michigan News Source could only identify one of them as having a physical-type “blue collar job” and that is a female member who is a nursing assistant.
During a search of information about the members through LinkedIn, Facebook and various websites, it was also clear to see that the council doesn’t seem to include any older parents. No one over the age of 45 was able to be identified on the council.
In addition to older parents raising school-age kids, an estimated 2.7 million grandparents in the United States are raising their grandchildren and more then 6.1 million kids under the age of 18 live in their grandparents’ household.
Looking through their social media sites, many of the council members appeared to be involved personally or professionally in matters that align up with democrat ideology including Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) issues and immigration.
Some of the council members even had obvious ties to the Democrat party including Rafael Turner who was Comms Affairs Manager for Democrat Sen. Carl Levin and deputy district director for Democrat Congressman Dale E. Kildee.
Another member, Jennifer Figler has a Facebook page full of supportive posts for Reproductive Freedom for All, Pride Fest, a post for a Democratic State Rep, and a post about organizing meetings for voters to learn about “disinformation” in the voting process.
On the other side of the political spectrum, there were no Republicans, Conservatives or Trump supporters that could be identified from the list of council members.
The remaining two members of the group who Whitmer listed on the council include her appointed members from her Executive Office and the Michigan Dept. of Education.
Roundtable meetings of parents and family members will be held across the state in the upcoming weeks, however the report that will be submitted by the council to the governor’s team and state superintendent will not be submitted until December 9th, after the election.
While the council is not diverse in many ways, the roundtables should allow the average parents around the state to have a voice in the education of their children and how taxpayer dollars are spent for it, hopefully allowing their concerns to be given serious consideration.