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 and additional contributors to the MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery 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, 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.
MiPAAC Membership and Sponsor Organizations
Michigan Alliance for Special Education
Pierce Advocacy & Consulting, LLC
|Denise Parent Diaz||Parent|