January 9, 2017

Monday, January 9, 2017

MI Education Ranks 34th in U.S.

As Michigan develops the structure of our Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan to submit to the U.S. Department of Education this year, new data offers a snapshot of key areas where our state needs to improve.

The ESSA replaced the long-standing No Child Left Behind Act. It's aimed at giving states greater flexibility to develop their own plans for school accountability, student performance and more.

Education Week Research Center released its annual report on the state of education last week. Quality Counts 2017: Under Construction—Building on ESSA’s K-12 Foundation, shows Michigan was given an overall grade of C-, putting us among the bottom states.

While the report ranks Michigan as 34th in the U.S., for the third year in a row, it is worth noting the U.S. overall also received a C grade.

The report findings are based on indicators including a Chance-for-Success Index which examines the role of education in promoting positive outcomes, school spending on education and equity, and the K-12 Achievement Index which gauges academic performance and poverty-based gaps.

Michigan’s Report Card:

  • Chance for Success Overall Grade: C
    • Early foundations (which examines factors that help get children off to a good start): B
    • School years (which focuses on metrics related to pre-k enrollment through postsecondary participation): C-
    • Adult outcomes (based on postsecondary educational attainment and workforce indicators): C
  • K-12 Achievement Overall Grade: D
    • Status (this examines our state’s current performance): F
    • Change (state’s improvement over time): D-
    • Equity (based on achievement gaps between low-income students and their more affluent peers): B+
  • School Finance Overall Grade: C
    • Equity: B
    • Spending: D-

The grades reflect what many of us already know: there’s work ahead. Perhaps a surprisingly high grade was the B in equity for Michigan, as we’ve reported, the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) has called for more strategic approaches and policies to support equity in our education system.

Michigan's B grade in early foundations reflects the work that's underway to improve access to high quality early childhood education in our state. We have several CMF members focused in this area.

As CMF reported in July, the Michigan School Finance Study found that “overall, Michigan’s school finance system is moderately inequitable." The research pointed out districts with higher need tend to have fewer resources available to serve students. The department of education and the governor's office agreed more equitable investments should be made in our education system.

Michigan's 21st Century Education Commission has been on a listening tour around the state, gathering input on how we can improve our education system. The commission is expected to use that information to shape its final recommendations that will be released at the end of next month. Once it's released, CMF will provide details and takeaways from the commission's report.

Two generation approaches, as the MLPP notes, that can offer support and guidance in college access and workforce development could help increase children’s chances for success, since half of Michigan children do not have a parent with a postsecondary degree.

CMF’s P-20 Education Affinity Group is planning a Chronic Absenteeism Summit in the coming months to examine ways funders can help break down barriers that keep students from attending school and relieve chronic absenteeism. Details on the event will be released soon.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is accepting ESSA stakeholder feedback until January 16. The next step will be another round of public comment on the final ESSA draft in the coming months, before submitting the final plan to the U.S. Department of Education in April.

Want more?
Read Quality Counts 2017: Under Construction—Building on ESSA’s K-12 Foundation
Check out the latest update from the Michigan Department of Education on the ESSA development
Attend CMF’s InFocus Southeast Michigan Series event focused on Engaging in the Education Conversation on February 14.






Racial Healing: Where do we begin?

We have read the headlines and seen the news stories about hate crimes, racism and a growing divide in our country. As we strive to foster equitable, safe communities, how can we respond?

A year ago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) launched the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) enterprise. TRHT’s focus is to transform our country’s systems and beliefs that are rooted in unconscious or conscious bias, what TRHT calls a “racial hierarchy, a collective national consciousness that has dominated the educational, economic, social and legal discourse for centuries.”

WKKF defines racial healing as the second part of achieving racial equity, “To heal is to restore to wholeness; to repair damage; and to set right. Healing a societal racial divide requires recognition of the need to acknowledge the wrongs of the past, while addressing the consequences of those wrongs.”

The TRHT enterprise has grown to more than 130 organizations, adapting practices and lessons that "have been instrumental in resolving deeply rooted conflicts around the world," and work to apply them in the U.S.

Now, a day after we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., organizations across the country will come together for the first-ever National Day of Racial Healing on January 17, led by the TRHT enterprise.

The National Day of Racial Healing is expected to spur conversation and catalyze action plans for organizations to tackle throughout the year and beyond.

The Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the Battle Creek Community Foundation have plans for the national day including partnering with local groups, sharing the docu-series America Divided, engaging local youth and identifying "healing places" within the community.

TRHT has shared a list of ideas and how you can get involved on January 17.

As for developing long-term community action plans, a new resource, the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation: Implementation Guidebook recommends gathering leaders of philanthropy, business, faith and community members of all backgrounds to start community conversations.

These conversations can be guided by the TRHT framework which includes asking:

  • What's your vision of a future inclusive community?
  • What are some of the current realities we're facing in our community?
  • Who are the people with the power to bring change in your community?
  • What specific actions need to be taken to achieve an inclusive community?

As the community conversations evolve, TRHT's Guidebook says the narrative in the community can change, allowing the community to look at key areas that require systemic changes, whether its the segregation of housing, failing schools, lack of public transportation, laws and policies or economic challenges, such as lower average incomes for minorities.

“Our nation is crying out for healing, which can only come with a shared understanding of our collective past and a sustained effort to dismantle the structures, policies, practices and systems that divide us, and perpetuate conscious and unconscious bias,” La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of WKKF said.

Join the conversation on social with #TRHT,  #thedaytoheal, #dayofracialhealing

Take a deeper dive:

View ideas for activities for the National Day of Racial Healing
Read Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation: Implementation Guidebook
Here’s a list of ways you can get involved in the National Day of Racial Healing
The National Center for Family Philanthropy has shared recommendations on how funders can embed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their grantmaking
Check out our toolkit, Equity: Is Your Foundation Ready to Invest in Building Opportunity for All?

Watch for details this spring as CMF launches its Racial Equity Workshop Series.







Postage Rates Rise for Nonprofits

You may not send out as many mailers as you used to, but starting January 22, mailing your annual reports, promotional and fundraising communications are going to cost you even more.

The U.S. Postal Services (USPS) announced that nonprofit organizations can expect to pay anywhere from 2.8 percent to 4.3 percent more than last year.

How much foundations and other nonprofits’ postage increases will depend on the size and weight of a piece of mail and whether it’s sorted for delivery.

Additionally, the cost of sending out standard-mail flats, such as small publications, annual reports, calendars and first-class mail will also cost nonprofits more.

The USPS is also renaming standard mail (self-mailers, letters, newsletters and booklets that weigh less than 16 ounces) as “marketing mail.” The new term will be printed on the standard mail pieces, raising concerns that the label may lead to some nonprofit mailers getting tossed aside.

The postage rate increase could have an impact on foundations that provide general operating support grants, as the nonprofits receiving the support may require more funds to mail their communications. Experts say the price increase is expected to decrease some foundations and nonprofits' use of direct mail services.

“This price increase will have a negative impact on nonprofits as most organizations don’t have big budgets and every additional dollar spent on non-mission items is significant,” Jim Asselmeyer, vice president of nonprofit publisher, Guidepost said.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that nonprofits who may be greatly impacted by the postage increase could keep tabs on potential proposals to overhaul how the USPS determines annual rate increases.

This year the Postal Regulatory Commission will review the system put in place in 2006 that links postage rates to inflation, the commission is taking public comments until March 20.

Want more?
View the USPS Nonprofit Marketing Mail Forms and Instructions
Find out what other communicators are doing with their marketing strategies through CMF’s Communications online community
Check out The Communications Network’s tools and resources to step up your communications game







Achieving a diverse and inclusive YAC program: Roscommon County Community Foundation's innovative approach

A few years ago, Roscommon County Community Foundation decided it wanted to strategically bring a larger sampling of teens from the community to the table in their youth advisory council (YAC). That’s when the community foundation began including five schools, two public high schools, a charter school, an alternative education school and a court-mandated school in their YAC application process.

“It doesn’t matter whether they went to public school or charter, alternative education, we are representing truly what is in our schools with students,” Suzanne Luck, executive director, Roscommon County Community Foundation said.

Luck said the kids from the alternative and second chance schools often bring different and fresh perspectives to the YAC group and can educate the other YACers about important programs that benefit the community.

“It’s a fantastic thing to witness how these kids sit together and collaborate and make decisions when they’re in the grantmaking process,” she said.

The YAC’s five advisors recruit students from the five schools, complete with application processes.  To ensure all the kids feel included, meetings are held directly after school, rotating at each of the five schools. Luck said they’ve seen success with several of their second chance students graduating and going on to college.

“They’re given a chance, that’s the thing because these kids, whatever the circumstances behind the mandate for them to attend court ordered schools, when they realize they’re so much like the kids in the group it really does change their outlook,” Luck said.

View sample documents from RCCF's YAC:
Roscommon County Community Foundation YAC Career Survey Sample Document
Roscommon County Community Foundation YAC Commitment Form Sample Document


All sample documents included in this edition of the Weekly Download:

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