Kalamazoo's commitment to education topic of panel at WMU

Contact: Deanne Puca
Headshot: James D. Robb.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The evolution of the Kalamazoo region's commitment to educational equity is the focus of a panel discussion Monday, April 2, on the campus of Western Michigan University.

Headshot: Cyekeia Lee.

Lee (Photo credit: Encore Magazine/Brian Powers)

"Educational Equity: From the 'Kalamazoo Case' to the Kalamazoo Promise and Beyond," is the topic of the event at 6 p.m. in 204 Bernhard Center. The free, public event is part of the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's lecture series. It is co-sponsored by the WMU Cooley Law School and the College of Education and Human Development.

Co-moderators Dr. Kathy Purnell, WMU instructor of political science, and Dr. Ashley Atkins, assistant professor of philosophy, will facilitate the panelists' discussion of Kalamazoo's educational past all the way to its present. Discussion on the past will include the "Kalamazoo Case" authored by Thomas M. Cooley in 1874 in his role as Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. This case stood for the principle that communities can opt to use their tax dollars for investments in secondary education. Talk on the present will include the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship program and its commitment to postsecondary education.

Headshot: Michael Evans.


The panel will also discuss potential future paths, contemplating what it may mean to embrace a "right to literacy" and an expanded commitment to pre-kindergarten youth to ensure educational equity and access. Panelists will share their thoughts on what a commitment to educational equity means and engage in dialogue on how to map a common future to expand equity and access. Panelists will include:

  • James D. Robb, general counsel and associate dean of external affairs, WMU Cooley Law School
  • Cyekeia Lee, director of community collaboration, Kalamazoo Promise
  • Michael Evans, executive director, Kalamazoo Literacy Council
  • Sandra Standish, executive director, KC Ready 4s
Headshot, Sandra Standish.


Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, visit wmich.edu/ethics/events/lectures.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.