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Encourage Your Families to Participate in Census 2020

Jeff Cobb

By Jeff Cobb, MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Sept. 2, 2020

The 2020 Census is nearing its final collection stage as efforts continue to ensure all residents are counted. Unfortunately, the state has one less month to complete the count than previously planned. This change was made by the Trump administration to help ensure the data is collected and analyzed by the end of the calendar year. The new timeline is being challenged in federal court; however, the state is moving forward, assuming collection efforts will end by Sept. 30, 2020.

COVID-19 has disrupted the normal process and now the shortened timeline has made it even more difficult to have full and accurate participation. Making sure all residents are counted is critical to ensuring our state and school districts receive the resources needed. Despite some setbacks, Michigan is in range to hit its goal of 82% of residents being counted. Our state currently ranks fifth in the nation with more than 70% of residents having completed the form.

Census workers are in the field following up with those who have not yet participated. In addition to paid staff, there are several volunteer efforts underway targeting areas that are traditionally undercounted. Some cities and rural areas are not yet above 50% participation. To find out how your community is fairing, view this spreadsheet, which has updated participation numbers broken down by community.

As a reminder of why an accurate Census count is important to your district—it impacts the federal funds communities receive each year for programs and services that are critical for schools, students and young children, such as:

  • Special education, Head Start, afterschool programs and classroom technology.
  • Food assistance, including free and reduced-price school lunches.
  • Maternal and child health programs.

There are still ways for you and your district to help. The first is by including articles and links on the importance of filling out the survey on your district website, as well as in your emails, newsletters and social media communications. Statistics in Schools has a number of resources available on its website, including webinars, handouts and other materials.

Additionally, for districts that are offering in-person instruction, you could provide sanitized laptop stations for teachers and/or parents to use for filling out the form. Some districts are using their food distribution efforts to inform parents on the importance of completing the Census. For those wishing to get personally involved, there are phone banking opportunities still available.

If you have any questions, please contact MASB Government Relations staff at masbgov@masb.org or 517.327.5900.

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