Equitable Education and Student Access

State Plan


The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Top 10 in 10 Years strategic plan states that MDE’s mission is to support learning and learners. The plan contains the following goals: (1) provide every child access to an aligned, high-quality P–20 system from early childhood to postsecondary attainment—through a multi-stakeholder collaboration with business and industry, labor, and higher education—to maximize lifetime learning and success, and (2) reduce the impact of high-risk factors, including poverty, and provide equitable resources to meet the needs of all students to ensure that they have access to quality educational opportunities. MDE recognizes that the need to ensure all learners are supported equitably requires addressing systemic inequities. Therefore, it has requested Great Lakes Comprehensive Center’s (GLCC’s) assistance in Year 7 to explore Michigan data to identify current disparities in student academic outcomes and to use research and evidence-based practices to develop recommendations for a state equity plan. The plan will help MDE address educational inequities. MDE's ultimate goal is to ensure students receive the instruction, interventions, and supports needed to graduate college and career ready.


There are significant differences in student educational outcomes in Michigan. Despite data that indicate Michigan has demonstrated some success in raising the graduation rate, significant disparities remain among student subgroups. In the 2016–17 school year, the 4-year graduation rate was 68.5 percent for African-American students, 73.2 percent for Hispanic students and for English learners, 69.3 percent for economically disadvantaged students, and 56.6 percent for students with disabilities.

The 2016–17 Michigan Education Assessment System (M-Step) data indicate that significant support is needed to increase student achievement for student subgroups. White students’ eighth-grade proficiency scores in math were four times greater than the proficiency rate for African-American students. Only 16.9 percent of low-income students demonstrated proficiency in eighth-grade math, and only 31.8 percent were proficient in English language arts compared to 48 percent for all students


Milestone 1. State data review and report to identify inequities in education in Michigan. (11/1/2018)

Milestone 2. Research and literature review conducted to identify other state education agencies’ (SEAs) approach to equity and provide a synthesis of research on best practices for addressing inequities in education. (12/30/2018)

Milestone 3. Compilation of barriers and potential actions to address education inequities produced via stakeholder meetings. (3/30/2019)

Milestone 4. Action plan drafted to address educational inequities. (6/30/2019)

Expected Capacity Building Outcomes

Primary: Improved knowledge and skills
Secondary: Improved culture and political climate

Expected Outcomes

  • MDE will have improved knowledge and skills to determine appropriate strategies for addressing educational inequities in Michigan.

Expected Outputs

  • Research and literature review to help MDE identify other SEAs’ approach to equity as well as a synthesis of research on best practices for addressing inequities in education
  • Data review to identify educational inequities
  • Compilation of potential actions and barriers to addressing educational inequities
  • Proposed action plan