detroit public schools

Politics & Government
8:31 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Lessenberry talks education funding, ballot proposals, Detroit bankrupty and Detroit Public Schools

Matthileo Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss the top political headlines of the week. This week's topic include:

  • Proposals to boost school funding.
  • Drama over Michigan's restrictions on how ballot campaigns can collect signatures.
  • How a bankruptcy plan for Detroit might come as early as next week.
  • How Detroit Public Schools have lost a collective 160 days from power outages.

Listen to the full interview below

Education
12:44 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

The long road ahead for Detroit education reform

Bennet Elementary in Southwest Detroit has a welcoming community culture that leads to high attendance.
Brian Widdis

Benchmark: Schools

Ana Rosa Cabrera joined several moms in a classroom at Bennett Elementary for a Zumba session one morning earlier this month. The moms stretched and danced as their instructor, a Spanish-speaking ball of energy dressed in fluorescent greens, directed them in merengue-like maneuvers from a DVD playing on a TV screen.

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Politics & Government
12:07 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Lessenberry talks minimum wage, issue ads and Detroit Public Schools

Michigan's charitable tax credit allows taxpayers to essentially double their contributions to certain nonprofits
user Penywise morguefile

Week in Michigan politics interview

This Week in Michigan Politics Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss Mark Schauer’s proposal to raise the minimum wage, the political drama over issue ads, and the state of Detroit Public Schools.

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Opinion
8:29 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Michigan's public schools need leaders with vision and guts

Lessenberry commentary for 11/20/13

There was a little bit of good news about Detroit’s public schools this week, perhaps the first good news in a long time. The Michigan Department of Education is formally taking the school district off so-called “high-risk” list. This means, essentially, that the state will no longer have to approve virtually everything the system does. It also means the system won’t have to put purchases over $25,000 out for bid.

But I think too much is being made of this. Yes, it is a good thing. We should think of this, however, more as if Detroit Public Schools were a patient in the hospital. Their condition has just been upgraded, but only from extremely critical to critical.

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Education
10:58 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Detroit Public Schools leave federal oversight, gain 'incremental independence'

Jack Martin

After five years, the Detroit Public Schools has been removed from “high-risk status.”

The Michigan Department of Education gave Detroit federal high-risk status in 2008, after a federal audit revealed some serious financial discrepancies amounting to about $53 million.

But the state says the district has put enough safeguards in place now to relax its monitoring.

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Education
11:55 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Detroit schools issue 'child safety ID cards' to some students

A child is fingerprinted for an ID card at Detroit's Chrysler Elementary School.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools will start issuing “child safety ID cards” in some elementary schools.

The ID card will contain a child’s picture, fingerprint, and other identifying information. Participation is voluntary.

District officials say the cards could help find and identify missing children more quickly.

The district will give one card to parents, and keep the information on file. They say the district will only share the card’s information with law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

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Education
11:51 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Your plans for next week? Listen to our series on education in Detroit

Anti-busing demonstration in Detroit in 1976.
From the John and Leni Sinclair papers UM Bentley Historical Library

Next week, Sarah Alvarez from our State of Opportunity team will explore the long shadow of a busing and integration case 40 years ago, and the way the outcome fundamentally altered the notion of a neighborhood school for students in Detroit and many communities throughout the metro area.

Listen to an interview with Sarah Alvarez and our All Things Considered host, Jennifer White.

Check out this post by Kimberly Springer that shows how some Detroit parents were notified that their kids were going to be bused to another school.

The series “Abandoning the neighborhood school” will focus on these topics:

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Education
7:34 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Detroit Public Schools enrollment up 14% in high schools

DPS high schools reported a 14 percent increase over last year. Overall enrollment is down by two percent.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is reporting a 14 percent increase in enrollment for students in grades 9-12. Overall enrollment is still down by two percent, but that's a smaller decrease than previous years.

According to numbers collected by the district on count day, nine of DPS's 19  high schools saw an increase in students.

DPS launched an enrollment campaign over the summer in an effort to meet projections included in the district's budget. Despite enrollment increases in some high schools, DPS still didn't meet those goals.

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Education
12:30 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

On count day, all eyes on Detroit Public Schools

The district wants to improve. But they need students, and state money, to really make a change.
User Motown31 Creative Commons

Tomorrow is count day for Michigan's public schools.

The more students a school has in attendance on count day, the more money they get from the state.

It's a make or break day for Detroit Public Schools.

After months of sales pitches, finding out how many students enrolled

The district has spent months trying to recruit kids away from charter schools and private academies.

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Education
2:48 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

New attendance policy in Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools is tightening up its district-wide attendance policy this school year.

The policy is centered around what the district calls a “3-6-9 approach

Superintendent of academics Karen Ridgeway says the idea is pretty simple.

“There’s a reason for absences. Our whole initiative around 3-6-9 is to find out what that reason is, and to deal with that reason.”

Ridgeway says interventions begin when a child has a third unexcused absence from school.

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Education
11:17 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Detroit steps up efforts to lift school attendance

user kconnors morgueFile

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit schools are stepping up efforts to improve attendance, including working with prosecutors on cases involving students with many unexcused absences.

The Detroit Public Schools district announced the policy Friday.

The district says that three times of arriving more than 15 minutes after the start of class will equal one unexcused absence. After three unexcused absences, a phone call will be made to the student's home and an attendance agent will be notified.

With the sixth unexcused absence, the student will be referred to an attendance agent and intervention may include home visits by the state Department of Human Services. More than nine per school year will bring a truancy referral to Wayne County prosecutors.

In Michigan, parents can face fines or jail time if children don't go to school.

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat August 31, 2013

The week in review: Detroit Public Schools, Washtenaw County ID cards, Detroit mayoral race

.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Week-in-review for 8/31/2013

 This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit Public Schools student quota, Washtenaw County’s identification card plan that includes undocumented immigrants, and the continuing campaigns of Detroit mayoral candidates Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan.

Detroit Public Schools trying to meet enrollment goal

The Detroit Public School district is depending on enrolling 5,000 more students for the 2013-2014 school year.  If the district doesn’t meet its goal, they will lose millions of dollars in funding from the per-pupil-allowance from the state.  Jack Lessenberry says that Detroit used to enroll almost 200,000 students thirteen years ago.  They now only enroll 46,000.  Lessenberry says “they’ve been going door-to-door trying various gimmicks, of course those are sort of dubious too, to get kids to come back.  But it’s all about how many bodies they have in seats on Count Day.”

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Education
8:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Time's running out to get 5,000 new kids to DPS

DPS built their whole budget on the bet they can lure 5,000 new kids to the district. Now, time is almost up.
User Motown31 Creative Commons

The clock’s running out for the Detroit Public School district.

School starts Tuesday, and DPS officials went into the summer with the hefty goal of recruiting 5,000 new students.

That's an awful lot of new kids, especially given that demographers predict just the opposite. They think DPS will lose students this year, like they have in the past.

It's an important goal for DPS, because even if they have the same number of students as last year, they’ll have to cut $38 million from the budget. 

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Stateside
6:05 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Do too many schools rely on gimmicks and sales pitches to attract new students?

user BES Photos Flickr

That's the question raised in a guest column in Bridge Magazine by my next guest.

Margaret Trimer Hartley is superintendent of the University Prep Science & Math Academy in Detroit . She's also the former head of communications for the Michigan Education Association. She was also an education reporter at the Detroit Free Press.

Hartley joined us today.

Listen to the audio above.

Politics & Government
8:58 am
Thu August 29, 2013

In this morning’s news: Medicaid delays, Detroit student recruitment, and Detroit mayoral campaign

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Governor Snyder pushes to expedite Medicaid expansion

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan passed the state Senate by a narrow vote earlier this week. But a vote to make those changes by January 1, 2014 failed.  This means that thousands of people will have to wait until spring to receive health coverage.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that Governor Rick Snyder hopes the Senate will revisit the issue as soon as Tuesday.

Deadline approaches for Detroit Public Schools recruitment

As the school year quickly approaches, Detroit Public Schools are running out of time to recruit new students.  Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that the district’s summer goal was to gain 5,000 new students. If DPS does not meet this goal it may lose millions, resulting in possible layoffs and program cuts.  The district is currently retaining 93% of their students.

Detroit mayoral candidates continue campaign

Detroit mayoral candidates Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon are continuing their campaigns while primary election drama settles out.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek  reports  that both candidates “are trying to position themselves as champions of Detroit neighborhoods.” Duggan is rolling out a neighborhood plan to reduce blight, while Napoleon is accusing him of being tied to “downtown corporate interests.”

Business
10:31 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Who will buy Detroit Schools bonds?

Josh Gonze
Thornberg Investment Management

The opportunity to buy bonds from a troubled school district run by an emergency manager, in a city that's just filed for bankruptcy, may seem akin to the opportunity to get your hands on some great snake oil, or a big lot in a Florida swamp, cheap.

But one municipal bond portfolio manager thinks Detroit Public Schools' bond offering, expected tomorrow, could actually be a good deal.

"There's an extraordinary amount of interest in buying short maturity bonds with high yield," says Josh Gonze of Thornberg Investment Management based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Education
7:29 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Detroit Public Schools looks to boost enrollment with door-to-door initiative, "community schools"

DPS Emergency manager Jack Martin, right, talks with a Detroit resident.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager was out knocking on doors Friday.

Jack Martin canvassed the neighborhood near Thurgood Marshall elementary school—his own alma mater--in an ongoing effort to boost the district’s enrollment.

Martin says the only way to “sustain” the district—still burdened with a $76 million deficit after more than 5 years of emergency financial managers-- is to lure more Detroit students back to traditional public schools.

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Politics & Government
10:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

In this morning's news: Flint budget, Ann Arbor schools, Detroit schools

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

City of Flint to recover tax money

The city of Flint has found a new source of income in the effort to balance the budget. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports that around six thousand Flint residents paid their federal income taxes, but did not pay city income taxes. This may allow the Flint to collect around a million dollars in back taxes.

Michigan ACLU sues Ann Arbor Public Schools

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a suit against Ann Arbor Public Schools because of its intent to charge tuition for a seventh class.  With the current plan, Ann Arbor high school students must pay $100 for a seventh-period elective class.  Kary Moss of the ACLU says “it creates a two-tiered system of education. Not only for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, but many other students won't be able to afford the seventh hour."

Detroit Schools get annual report card

Excellent Schools Detroit has released its annual report card for the school system.  Out of more than two hundred schools, twenty-five percent scored a C+ or better.  Many of these higher-ranked schools are new and “fresh-start” schools, which has officials optimistic about the future of the district.

Education
3:28 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Catherine Ferguson Academy to open as independent charter

CFA principal Asenath Andrews addresses a crowd of supporters when the school was saved from closure in 2011.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Catherine Ferguson Academy, a Detroit school for pregnant teens and their children, will open under a new charter this fall.

CFA was run by Detroit Public Schools until 2011. Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy and Wayne RESA  took over the school when it was at risk of being shut down. Blanche Kelso operates mostly strict-discipline schools for students who have been expelled. 

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Politics & Government
8:30 am
Tue July 16, 2013

In this morning's news: New DPS EM, retiree health care in Pontiac, EPA funds Great Lakes projects

Morning News Roundup for Tuesday, July 16, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Detroit Public Schools get new emergency manager

Governor Rick Snyder has named Jack Martin as the new emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools. Martin replaces Roy Roberts, who is retiring after two years in the position. Martin is leaving his position as Detroit’s chief financial officer.  Roberts says DPS still has a long way to go, but conditions are noticeably better than when he started; the current budget deficit is more than $70 million.

Retiree health care coverage suspended in Pontiac

Pontiac’s emergency manager Louis Schimmel has proposed the Emergency Loan Board address an expected $6 million general fund shortfall in the current budget year. The board approved a plan to suspend health care coverage for retirees from the city of Pontiac and increase their monthly pension payments. The city's roughly 1,000 pensioners will get an extra $400 a month to buy their own health care, the Associated Press reports.

EPA now accepting Great Lakes grant applications

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has $9.5 million to distribute for Great Lakes projects and is looking for takers. The money comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an Obama administration program to clean up and protect the lakes from a variety of threats. A webinar explaining the application process will be held July 30.

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