DETROIT – A non-profit group of Detroit school students, parents and educators have sent a special request to Washington, D.C.
They want U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to come to Detroit to see the reality Detroit school students face. They’re hopeful it will lend perspective and spark change.
The letter was sent by the youth group 482Forward.
“Our education reality is one of broken desks and substitute, uncertified teachers,” the letter reads in part. “A reality of graffitied, shutdown schools and mold infestations. We live with the existence of metal detectors, school police and the lack of social workers and mental health counselors.”
“We feel like here in Detroit is one of the places where we’re not only being ignored by our own state government, but we’re also being ignored by the federal government, everybody,” said student Brianna Donald.
Students like Laila Nasher believe there’s common ground with Cardona, ground they say they didn’t have with former Education Secretary and Michigan native Betsy DeVos.
“We see someone in office who comes from a similar background. He comes from a background of poverty, he comes from an immigrant background, which is something that I can relate to " Nasher said. “English wasn’t his first language and he’s also someone who went to public schools, he’s someone who was a teacher.”
The group also wants Cardona to start a student led advisory committee to give underfunded or rundown districts a voice at a national level.
“It starts with the students. When the students get a better education, then they go off and they get better jobs, they make the economic system better,” said student Kristian Matthews. “It all starts with education in school. What we need is more money put into schools and education.”
You can read the letter in full or find out more information on 482Forward on its official website here.