Action with MiPAAC for Student Recovery Council Stakeholder Representation

LDA MI is a proud member of the Michigan Parent, Advocate, and Attorney Coalition (MiPAAC). Recently, we joined with our partners at MiPAAC to advocate for appropriate representation for students with disabilities on the Student Recovery Advisory Council who developed the MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery.

July 8, 2021

The Honorable Gretchen Whitmer

Governor of Michigan

P.O. Box 30013

Lansing, Michigan 48909

Dear Governor Whitmer:

We are reaching out to you today to introduce ourselves, the Michigan Parent, Advocate and Attorney Coalition (MiPAAC), which was formed in 2020 for the purpose of giving voice to families of children with disabilities. We sincerely hope you will consider MiPAAC in the future when stakeholder input is needed for purposes of policy, funding, legislative input, advisory council positions, and other matters related to special education. Our work is centered around educating families on current special education issues and topics of interest, as well as to advocate for state policies and legislation that support their needs. We are unique in that we are an independent group of stakeholders without political interference that is solely focused on advocating for the education needs of children.

Recently, we noticed that only one individual of the nearly 90 included on the Student Recovery Advisory Council[1] and additional contributors to the MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery[2] currently work in special education. Additionally, we would have liked more community members involved, specifically parents. Nearly 14% of Michigan students are currently eligible for special education services and support under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) across our state,[3] with many more having documented disabilities and receiving accommodations through Section 504 plans. We believe representation on this Council should have mirrored the population affected by this entity. For example, at least 12 parents/advocates/attorneys connected to families of students with disabilities should have been included. For our educational system to be inclusive, it must be responsive to the needs and values of the community it serves.

We hope in the future, when taking up work of this nature, you will remember MiPAAC, and include our members on task forces, advisory councils, etc. when working on educational policy in our state.

Sincerely,

MiPAAC Membership and Sponsor Organizations

Michigan Alliance for Special Education

Pierce Advocacy & Consulting, LLC

Elizabeth Abdnour Attorney
Melody Arabo Parent
Jacquelyn Babinski Attorney
Amy Barto Advocate
Marcia Binion Parent
Alexis Boyden Advocate
  Eileen Brandt Parent
John Brower Attorney
Barbara Byers Parent
Deb Calandrino Parent
Toni Cannon-Mitchell Advocate
Debra Chopp Attorney
Jason Cowin Attorney
Donesa Crivella Parent
Denise Parent Diaz Parent
Heather Eckner Advocate
Janel Frost Parent
Chesley Giertz Advocate
Lisa Kirsch-Satawa Attorney
Maggie Kolk Parent
Kathleen Kosobud Advocate
Sidney Kraizman Attorney
Marcie Lipsitt Advocate
Kanika Littleton Parent
Jessica Lizardi Parent
Calvin Luker Parent
Brenda Mann Advocate
Justin Manna Parent
Susan Marquardt Attorney
Jacqueline Martin-Sebell Parent
Beverly McBrien Advocate
Jessica Murphy Advocate
Judith New Advocate
Kathleen Osborne Advocate
Margo Pierce Advocate
Amanda Rhines Parent
Meredith Schindler Advocate
Guy Suter Parent
Jason Wine Attorney
Kat Wolfe Parent

[1] https://www.michigan.gov/whitmer/0,9309,7-387-90499-551449–,00.html

[2] https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dtmb/MI_Blueprint_for_Comprehensive_Student_Recovery_725617_7.pdf

[3] https://www.mischooldata.org/special-education-data-portraits-disability