Last year, our organizational partners held over 60 listening sessions in their communities, from Cheboygan to Detroit, Grand Rapids to Saginaw. We wanted to ensure that our platform reflected our communities’ needs and values, so we asked educators, students, parents, caretakers, and community members how they reimagine schools after COVID. What we learned that is schools – even before COVID – were making us sick.

From crumbling school buildings across the state to the overbearing emphasis on standardized tests, our schools have been making us sick.

From school budgets that prioritize policing over mental health to curriculum that doesn’t reflect students’ identities and cultures, our schools have been making us sick.

Ultimately, these educational issues and inequities have only been supercharged by COVID, and our listening sessions affirmed that we need healthy and healing schools, now.

Healing & Healing Schools Policy Platform


The following outlines the Michigan Education Justice Coalition’s full Healing & Healthy Schools policy platform, informed by our community listening sessions.

Our public schools must be fully and equitably fund our public schools:

      1. Increase public school funding by a minimum of $3.7 billion 
      2. Implement a weighted funding formula that equitably disperses funding based on need 
      3. Raise teacher salaries 
      4. Increase funding for special education and English Language Learner programs & resources

Our public schools must prioritize and invest in mental health:

      1. Increase funding for social workers, trauma counselors, and school psychologists, for students and staff 
      2. Mandated, on-going professional development in restorative & transformative justice in schools 
      3. Replacing exclusionary practices (suspension and expulsion) with restorative justice practices 
      4. Invest in programs that allow teachers to foster relationships with parents and families

Standardized testing needs to be eliminated and replaced with curriculum rooted in the principles of anti-racism, anti-oppression, and trauma-responsive practices:

      1. Public school curriculum needs to be culturally-sustaining, place-based, anti-racist, and project-based 
      2. Teachers must have autonomy and flexibility to adapt curriculum to fit local contexts 
      3. Mandated, on-going professional development on anti-racism, anti-oppression, and implicit biases for all school staff

Our public schools must create structures to bring in student voice and leadership:

      1. Create legislation to allow students to be democratically elected to serve on local school boards, with voting rights
      2. Create legislation to allow students to be democratically elected to serve on the Michigan State Board of Education, with voting rights

Public school budgets must reflect our values and needs:

    1. Create structures for participatory budgeting, ensuring that community, educators, and students have a voice in school budgets 
    2. Divest from systems that cause our school communities harm – such as standardized testing and school policing 
    3. Invest in systems that support the wellbeing and safety of our school communities – such as mental health services, smaller class sizes, and extracurriculars