MiPAAC Letter to Governor Whitmer – Student Recovery Council Stakeholder Representation

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 AbdnourAttorney
Melody AraboParent
Jacquelyn BabinskiAttorney
Amy BartoAdvocate
Marcia BinionParent
Alexis BoydenAdvocate
  Eileen BrandtParent
John BrowerAttorney
Barbara ByersParent
Deb CalandrinoParent
Toni Cannon-MitchellAdvocate
Debra ChoppAttorney
Jason CowinAttorney
Donesa CrivellaParent
Denise Parent DiazParent
Heather EcknerAdvocate
Janel FrostParent
Chesley GiertzAdvocate
Lisa Kirsch-SatawaAttorney
Maggie KolkParent
Kathleen KosobudAdvocate
Sidney KraizmanAttorney
Marcie LipsittAdvocate
Kanika LittletonParent
Jessica LizardiParent
Calvin LukerParent
Brenda MannAdvocate
Justin MannaParent
Susan MarquardtAttorney
Jacqueline Martin-SebellParent
Beverly McBrienAdvocate
Jessica MurphyAdvocate
Judith NewAdvocate
Kathleen OsborneAdvocate
Margo PierceAdvocate
Amanda RhinesParent
Meredith SchindlerAdvocate
Guy SuterParent
Jason WineAttorney
Kat WolfeParent

[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

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