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2017 Upcoming Forums
Early Education for At Risk Children
Discussions regarding early childhood education in Michigan are heard far outside of the classroom these days. Legislative deliberations focus on access to early education for the most vulnerable, on funding early education that specifically supports at-risk families, and on raising the bar on quality education as new research directs training for those working with Michigan’s youngest citizens. The stakes are high as decades of research find that investment in childhood development improves young people’s life outcomes and family well-being while saving tax dollars in the long run.
The forum will provide insight into what communities and policy makers should consider as they develop policies supporting early education, particularly for at-risk children. What are the key considerations for providing the best odds for children to succeed in Michigan’s stressed communities?
Putting the American Dream within Reach
How can we improve socio-economic mobility in Michigan? Socio-economic mobility refers to the capacity of a person to move upward in social class and economic viability. Michigan is reassessing strategies for building socio-economic mobility among those living in communities most in need. We know that social skills, academic success, and employment opportunities are key to moving a person forward. However, strategizing access to and acceleration of related opportunities for those most in need, and especially for those most challenged by a childhood in poverty, is much needed.
This forum will consider policy and program strategies that improve on the socio-economic mobility of individuals and families who are striving for economic security.
Curbing Vaccination Waivers
Vaccinations prevent the spread of disease and death. Michigan is one of 18 states allowing parents to withhold childhood vaccinations due to non-medical reasons including both religious and philosophical beliefs. In an effort to decrease waivers, a law was passed requiring parents seeking a vaccination waiver to attend an educational program at their local health department about the risks of non-vaccinated children. Under Michigan law, school officials may prevent unvaccinated children from attending school for up to 21 days given a report of a spreadable illness. While the new law has significantly decreased the number of waivers, and subsequently the number of unvaccinated children, there is an ongoing debate of the new law’s requirements and the question of balance between individual liberties and public health.
The forum will open discussion with informed panelists who have monitored the ongoing debate of vaccinations and the new law.