About the Project

The Detroit Data and Democracy Project provides timely policy briefs, public testimony, and authoritative perspective on education issues for regional education reporters, community leaders, and community-based organizations.  The Project is rooted in the assumption that just-in-time data and policy analysis on pressing educational and social issues can enrich public discourse about the educational sphere.  We offer as a public service rich and timely analysis in crisp, clear, and accessible language.  The succinct and visually engaging nature of many of our materials facilitates on-the-fly utilization by reporters, community leaders, and organizations eager to expand and challenge perspectives on regional educational issues that impact our communities.

The Data and Democracy Project was founded in 2011 as a way of making information and analysis more widely available to the regional public on pressing educational issues. The Project is guided by the belief that public universities, as public institutions, have a fundamental responsibility to assist in enriching public debate around the issues that most affect the life of our communities.


Thomas C. Pedroni, Ph.D, is an associate professor of curriculum studies and the director of the Leonard Kaplan Education Collaborative for Critical Urban Studies at Wayne State University.  His research, advocacy, and teaching centers on the fostering of more robust, informed, and participatory dialogue on education and schooling in the public sphere, and on the preparation of teachers to effectively join local communities in renewing schools as centers of democratic life and community revitalization.

Karen Twomey, M.Ed, has a Masters in School Administration and Leadership from Michigan State University, and holds teaching certifications in Chinese, History and Social Studies. As an instructor of Chinese language education in the Bloomfield Hills Public Schools International Baccalaureate program, she continues her engagement in education best practices regionally and globally. Her classroom utilizes restorative practices and she regularly facilitates discussions on topics of social justice to the school community. Karen is an established education advocate with a focus on building collaborations and promoting democracy in public education. She has been a member of the Ferndale Board of Education since 2009 and earned a Distinguished Achievement award through the MASB (Michigan Association of School Boards) for her extensive training and advocacy at both the state and national level.