education

The bottom line, Phil Power told me recently, is that our future is all about the schools.

Power isn’t exactly a wild and crazy left-wing radical. He ran for the U.S. Senate once as a moderate Democrat nearly 40 years ago, but lost the primary to a fellow named Carl Levin.


Governor Rick Snyder did something sensible Wednesday – he asked the Michigan Supreme Court for an opinion as to whether it is legal under the Michigan Constitution for the state to use taxpayer dollars to provide aid to private schools.

In a sense, this is actually putting the cart before the horse, in that Snyder signed an education budget last month that includes a two and a half million dollar appropriation for private schools. At the time, he was urged to use his line-item veto to prevent that from happening, but he declined, saying he believed this was legal.

prison cells
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

There are 2.2 million people now incarcerated in American prisons. 

Each year, hundreds of thousands of those inmates are released.

One of the most important ways of keeping them from re-offending and winding up back in prison is education. 

Children
Credit Flickr user Herald Post/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Who are Michigan's homeless students? And how does being homeless affect their education?

These are crucial questions for the state, as education plays an important role in homeless students' ability to escape the chains of poverty and homelessness.

Joshua Cowen is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. He recently published a study examining these important questions. His study reveals exactly who Michigan's homeless students are and where they come from. It also reveals how homelessness affects a students performance in schools.

Of the 662 Michigan schools that qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision, 167 would no longer be eligible under HR 5003, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Tim Lauer / Creative Commons

For many children living in poverty, hunger is an everyday reality, and going to school hungry can have a big impact on a kid’s ability to learn.

That’s one of the reasons why the federal government offers free lunches to low-income students.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

Sue Schooner has never taken a social work class, nor has she ever had children. But that didn’t stop her from creating and leading Girls Group, an organization that empowers young women to complete high school and be the first college graduate in their families.

The creation of Girls Group led to a change of heart for Schnooner.

5th-grade teacher to open for Eddie Money

May 25, 2016
Courtesy of Crashing Cairo

Rock stars like Gene Simmons and Sting used to be teachers, not long before having sold-out concerts across the world. For Crashing Cairo, this serves as a good omen as they prepare to open for Eddie Money at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Friday.

The Michigan pop-rock group's lead singer, Robert Wax, is a fifth-grade teacher at Norwood Elementary in Royal Oak. Drummer David West is a software engineer who also advises future engineers.

Richard T. Cole, who most people know as Rick, is a remarkable man who’s had several careers, sometimes simultaneously. I was first aware of him when he was press secretary and chief of staff to Governor Jim Blanchard in the 1980s.

Later, he was a senior executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield, and worked with Mike Duggan back when the man who became Detroit’s mayor was overhauling the Detroit Medical Center.


The governor and the legislature are currently fighting over how to rescue the Detroit public schools from financial collapse. There’s a general recognition that this has to be done, if only because the consequences of not doing so would cost the state even more.

The state constitution requires Michigan to provide an education for all children.

Flickr user thinkpublic/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

 

Modern, high-tech innovation has benefited the world enormously. It has improved health and safety, and helped us communicate and travel across borders. But lots of people cannot afford these technologies – many of which are of limited usefulness for economically disadvantaged citizens who live outside of metropolitan areas. Indeed, these citizens were never the main market for these technologies in the first place.

David Williss / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

State lawmakers are working on a bill that would require schools in Michigan to teach students about genocide, including the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust. Corey Harbaugh is making it his personal mission to ensure that teachers in Michigan have resources and models about Holocaust education and to help them teach it as well.

Detroit teachers protesting downtown on May 2, 2016.
Sarah Jardine

Nearly all Detroit schools closed today due to a massive sick-out conducted by the city's teachers.

Earlier this year, there were a series of sick-outs aimed at bringing attention to both the poor physical and financial state of Detroit Public Schools.

Today's protest is different from previous events because the teacher's union, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, is encouraging teachers to take part. 

Child on computer
Lars Plougmann / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the search for a better way to educate our children, many have turned to technology. Virtual schools or blended schools that combine virtual and traditional face-to-face teaching are a national trend. However, according to a study from The National Education Policy Center, these virtual schools – most of which are run by private, for-profit companies, are doing a poor job of educating our kids.

cursive handwriting
theilr / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You may have seen the internet meme floating around social media. It says, “Someday us old folks will use cursive writing as a secret code.”

Proposed budget would cut free SAT, M-STEP tests

Apr 14, 2016
Jane M Sawyer / morgue file

A budget proposal now in the state house would cut funding for free SAT testing.

The proposed $10 million cut comes from the House Appropriations Committee. If passed, schools would no longer provide each student with a college admissions test – students would have to pay to take the test elsewhere.

Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, chairs the School Aid Subcommittee, and said while eliminating the SAT got the most attention, his real goal is to start a discussion about replacing the M-STEP standardized testing – which the bill also removes. 

Michigan school boards are struggling to fill seats.
wikimedia user motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


Michigan's Schools of Choice program is now 20 years old.

In some parts of the state, the competition for students can be intense. Public school districts put up yard signs, families are sometimes offered gifts to sign up for a school out of district, and the number of publicly funded, privately run charter schools has increased.

Students from the Detroit Food Academy.
Jen Rusciano / Detroit Food Academy

It started with mangos on a stick.

In the spring of 2011, kids at a high school in southwest Detroit were challenged to use their entrepreneurial spirit to come up with a creative way to get their classmates to eat some fruits and vegetables.

After more than 300 mangos were sold, the groundwork for the Detroit Food Academy (DFA) was laid.

nearly one in every five DPS students  qualifies for some special education services
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

A survey conducted by a Michigan school-improvement advocacy group shows people in the state want to see education become a higher priority. 

Lit Kurtz

The Next Idea

 

Homelessness is a complex problem with no one easy solution. In Michigan, the needs are enormous. People experiencing homelessness see our state as more like a Third World country than like one of the richest areas in the world.

 

Information freeze thaws after injunction on election law

Feb 13, 2016
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An information freeze for local and school officials is thawing after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on a new Michigan election law that critics called a gag order.

The injunction came as a relief to many local and school officials fearful of legal repercussions for distributing information about upcoming ballot proposals. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation into law this year.

Apple with books
Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new report out today from Education Trust-Midwest says some charter school authorizers in Michigan aren't doing their jobs very well.

The report says some of the entities that open and oversee charter schools have made marginal improvements overall, but performance remains low when compared to leading education states.

Courtesy of Jeanine DeLay

The Michigan High School Ethics Bowl competition is hosted each year by A2Ethics in partnership with the University of Michigan Philosophy Outreach Program.

“It is a judged tournament and includes a philosophical discussion and conversation,” said Jeanine DeLay, president of A2Ethics.

Michigan is one of 17 states and one Canadian province with Ethics Bowls and the program is in its third year.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Third- and fourth-graders at Savage Elementary School in Belleville did really well on the math section of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress – M-STEP – last year.

So well, in fact, school district administrators were a little confused.

The M-STEP is designed to be harder than earlier state tests, and students took it for the first time last school year.

Flickr/roel1943 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

Business, political and media elites are increasingly advising kids not to pursue four-year degrees. The conventional wisdom is that unless you get a four-year degree in a STEM field, you are likely to end up underemployed and unable to pay off crushing student loans. Far better, according to this logic, to get a two-year degree or occupational certificate in a skilled trade.

flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Several schools around the state closed Monday in response to threats made on social media over the weekend.

Four schools closed for the day, and one school has heightened security as a result.

University Prep Academy, University Prep Science and Math, Lake Orion High School, and Lincoln High School all closed Monday as a result of threats. Cass Technical High School in Detroit received a threat, but remained open as officials investigate.

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

For weeks, Detroit teachers have been using rolling sickouts to help focus attention on the crushing challenges they face in the classroom, from dilapidated, dirty conditions to huge class sizes.

Today the sickout tactic ballooned to new heights: 88 out of the 100 Detroit public schools had to close. 

The Next Idea

When most people think of university researchers, they think of scientists. They imagine people wearing white coats and plastic goggles, conducting experiments in a lab or making observations in the field, often working with a team of colleagues and students. Eventually, the results of that research might go into producing new computer technologies, performing life-saving medical treatments, or passing informed environmental policy.

NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

New legislation would require students in Michigan to be equipped with save life-saving skills before they graduate high school.

Senate Bill 647, introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, would require schools to add 30 minutes of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training to their curricula for students between 7th and 12th grades.

The legislation is based on the American Heart Association guidelines.

Gabrielle Emanuel / Michigan Radio

On a quiet street in Detroit, light pours in the back windows of the Kirksey home. It falls on a wall of textbooks, puzzles and multi-cultural children's books.

Brandon, who is 7 years old, is sprawled out on the wood floor examining a laminated world map.

“Michigan,” Brandon says, pointing enthusiastically to his home state. His 3-year-old brother, Zachary, tries to echo him. Their mother, Camille Kirksey, coaches Zachary on the correct pronunciation.

This might seem like a classic weekend scene, but it’s a weekday scene. That’s because this isn’t just a family home, it’s also a tiny school. A school for one. For Brandon.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A special report looking at the progress, struggles, and failures in Detroit during the city’s first year out of bankruptcy:

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