Conference Addresses Disparities in Urban Education and Provides Scholarships to Michigan Students

It’s been more than 50 years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision, and urban and minority children still face an uphill struggle in the race for school success.

Responding to this critical need, the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) will hold its annual urban conference devoted to helping urban school districts close the achievement gap. The Urban Project: Using Data to Close the Achievement Gap, will help under-resourced school districts learn what it takes to achieve the academic performance required by state and national educational standards and mandates.

On Feb. 26, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Lansing Community College West Campus, Michigan’s urban school districts will learn what it takes to help their students succeed academically in a K-12 system where state and federal laws set new and higher standards and expectations. MASB’s “Urban Project” features state leaders in urban education who will discuss the role of school board members and administrators in collecting, analyzing and developing action plans for data-informed decision making.

Another feature of the conference is the presentation of two scholarships to urban high school students. The scholarships, in partnership with ARAMARK Education and the Michigan Black Caucus on Education, are the result of a commitment to aiding urban districts’ continued efforts in education and service, and the belief that educating students in the urban centers can help eliminate social, political and economic disadvantages that plague our communities and nation.

The 2009 scholarship winners are Ian R. Grant II from North Farmington High School in Farmington and Karli E. Mayer from Carrollton High School in Saginaw. Each student will receive a scholarship of $1,000 to use for his or her pursuit of higher education, and present their winning essays, reflecting the theme of what does the election of America’s first African-American president mean to public education?

The Michigan Association of School Boards provides quality educational leadership services for all Michigan boards of education, and advocates for student achievement and public education.