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The Need

  • Every day, 6 Michigan students are expelled from school and many more are suspended.
  • According to the Civil Rights Data Collection, black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students, while students with disabilities are twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension as their non-disabled peers.
  • Of teens ages 16-19, 4% of teens statewide are not in school. (Kid’s Count)
  •  Michigan suspends 3-4% of its elementary students and 10-12% of its secondary students (Huffington Post, 2017)
  • Studies have found that excessive absences in the early grades are correlated with future risk-taking behaviors, such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, and involvement with the criminal justice system (John W. Gardner Center, 2010; Gottfried, 2010; Sundius & Farneth, 2008b; Smink & Reimer, 2005).
  • Economists estimate that dropouts cost our nation $1.5 trillion over the next decade — and individual dropouts will earn $10,000 less per year than high school graduates (Alliance for Excellent Education and U.S. Department of Labor).

Why Invest in SAC’s Approach

  • The Student Advocacy Center is a unique organization with a proud 40-year history of helping vulnerable students stay in school or get back into school. There is no other organization like us in the state of Michigan.
  • We are focused on education, the most important investment in our future. There is a return of $1.45-$3.55 for every dollar invested in producing a new graduate (New York Times, 2012).
  • We are focused on the most vulnerable students in our community, including students experiencing foster care, homelessness, mental illness, abuse and neglect, juvenile justice involvement, and harsh discipline. We use research-based indicators to determine who is eligible for our services.
  • We are focused on outcomes, tracking research-based indicators such as attendance, grades and disciplinary referrals. More importantly, we see results.
  • We deeply value and elevate student and family voice and meaningful student decision-making. Research indicates that true school reform will not happen without parents and students advocating for themselves.
  • Too often, students (and parents) are alone blamed for school problems. Solutions are designed to “fix” students. We recognize the complexity of dropout and the role systems, policies and procedures play in pushing out the students who need caring adults the most.