The latest budget signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the highest state per-student investment in Michigan history—including more than $500 million in school infrastructure and expanded mental health resources for children. (Courtesy/Gov. Gretchen Whitmer)
The latest budget signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the highest state per-student investment in Michigan history—including more than $500 million in school infrastructure and expanded mental health resources for children. (Courtesy/Gov. Gretchen Whitmer)

MICHIGAN—Parental involvement in public education has become an increasingly pressing issue in Michigan.

Multiple Republican gubernatorial candidates are now running much of campaigns over the things that are — or are not — happening behind the walls of K-12 schools, and whether parents have enough say in how curricula is handled. For example, you’ve probably heard lots of debate over critical race theory, or one candidate’s latest claim that children are being secretly being taught about “sex and gender theory” secretly behind their parents’ backs.” 

Most of these claims are unfounded. Critical race theory and secret lessons on gender theory are not being taught to Michigan’s schoolchildren. But it does make sense that parents would want more control over their kids’ education—and under a new executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, they could have the opportunity to sit on or have their input heard by a new council.

The basics: 

The Michigan Parents’ Council will form ahead of the the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. 

The Council will consist of seven appointed parents or family members of students—including those who have or care for students with Individualized Education Plans, who speak English as a second language, or are in foster or kinship care. A representative from the Michigan Department of Education will also serve on the Council.

Over the next few months, the Council will host a series of meetings across the state to gather information from parents, which will then be relayed to Whitmer’s administration to help shape the governor’s next budget proposal.

A report with specific budget recommendations (based on parent feedback) will be prepared by Dec. 9. 

Want to be on the Council?

Michigan parents and family members interested in being appointed to the Council can visit this link, click “Apply Now,” then fill out the application by selecting “Michigan Parents’ Council” in the “Appointment Information” section.

Appointees must have a child enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Applications are due back by 5 p.m. on Aug. 8.  

From the governor: 

“As a mom, I know that parents are their children’s first and most important teacher, and when parents and schools are close partners, kids thrive,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Today, I am proud to establish the Michigan Parents’ Council so we can ensure that parents have an empowered seat at the table in Michigan.”