Education

FAFSA

The start of 2015 opened up an opportunity for college-bound students in Michigan and across the nation who need help paying for tuition.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, determines how much financial aid schools can award based on a family's financial situation.

SDRandCo/morguefile.com.

More locally grown fruits and vegetables could soon be coming to a school district near you, thanks to a pilot program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Linda Jo Doctor, program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, works with farm-to-school programs in Detroit. She says this opportunity will help build on what she calls a win-win scenario.

"The kids get access to healthier foods, and it creates economic opportunities for our local farmers in building their connections with schools as a new market for them," Doctor says.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan State University study says that a growing number of America's community colleges are adding an international focus to their programs.

  The study by Michigan State's International Business Center says that community colleges plan to have 24 percent of their programs "fully internationalized" by 2024. That's up from 8 percent today.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Gov. Rick Snyder is still interested in passing legislation to increase state intervention in schools with financial troubles.

The plan was one of Snyder’s education goals in 2014. It would increase reporting requirements for schools that risk going into budget deficit. It would also make it easier for the state to assign an emergency manager if districts don’t follow through on promises to get their books in order.

A set of companion bills would have also opened up more money in state grants and loans for eligible schools.

The Detroit Public Schools has laid out new plans to erase its red ink.

The district’s revised deficit elimination plan still awaits state approval. But if approved, it would result in a small surplus by 2023, says district spokesman Steve Wasko.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More Michigan school districts are dealing with a deficit. 

The numbers comes from a quarterly report filed by the State Superintendent’s office with the state legislature.

Fifty five school districts are now required to file deficit elimination plans with the state. That’s up from 48 last year. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Last month the ACLU’s lawsuit on behalf of eight Highland Park students was thrown out by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision.

The suit says the schools didn’t provide students with even basic literacy or math skills, and that therefore the state and the district should be held responsible for that failure.

But the court of appeals tossed the suit, basically because of three points.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint teachers union has agreed to layoffs and a seven year wage freeze to avoid a deep pay cut. 

The Flint Board of Education approved a plan last night that includes cutting around 70 jobs through layoffs and consolidation.  

moare / Morguefile

Federal law guarantees that children with disabilities have equal access to education. But what that actually looks like for Michigan kids very much depends upon where you live.

An investigation by Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project and Bridge Magazine has turned up disparities in the way schools choose which students should be in special education and the actual level of those services. Sarah Alvarez with State of Opportunity joined us, along with Bridge Magazine writer Ron French.

*Listen to Alvarez and French above

School Bus
Nicolae Gerasim / Flickr

The American Academy of Pediatrics says teens need to sleep later. The Academy is challenging America’s schools to not start high school classes until at least 8:30 a.m.

user MoBikeFed / flickr

Criminal incidents are on the decline in the Detroit Public Schools, according to new data from school officials.

“Serious incidents” such as assault and weapons possession dropped from 456 in the first three months of last school year, to 343 during the same time frame this year—a nearly 25% decline.

“It’s a larger ongoing trend,” said DPS police chief Stacy Brackens. “We’ve had a downward trend since 2010.”

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Is everybody at Grand Valley State University just ridiculously friendly and cheery? Is this a thing?

Even in the student club for women who have an extremely high risk of breast cancer, meetings are less Lifetime-movies-about-sadness-and-sisterhood and more like Legally Blonde: a dozen women laughing self-consciously through dance aerobics in leggings and breast-cancer pink tank tops.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

The Education Achievement Authority has a permanent new leader. Some six months after being appointed interim chancellor, Veronica Conforme has been named to that permanent position. What has she seen in these first months, and what are her goals for the district?

*Listen to our conversation with Conforme below

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING    (AP) - The president of Michigan State University is getting a raise - whether she likes it or not.

  Trustees raised Lou Anna Simon's salary by 44 percent Friday to $750,000 and awarded her a $100,000 bonus. Simon has declined raises since 2007 and donated bonuses back to the university.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING   (AP) - About 200 people gathered outside Michigan State University's commencement ceremonies to protest a speech by columnist George Will over his commentary on sexual assault reporting at colleges.

  The Lansing State Journal reports that Will didn't mention the protests during his speech to undergraduates Saturday on the East Lansing campus.

Skillman Foundation

Locally-generated solutions should drive any effort to fix Detroit schools.

That’s the message coming from the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, a group that formed just this week.

It’s an unusually broad group that includes community, business, union, and education leaders working in the city.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Columnist George Will may get a cool reception when he delivers a commencement speech in East Lansing this weekend. 

A crowd of about three dozen Michigan State University students voiced their displeasure with the choice of Will to talk to graduates on Saturday.

Jake Neher / MPRN

What is the Education Achievement Authority?

Opened in the fall of 2012, the idea was to create a bold new kind of school district that was run by the state and less restricted by administrative red tape, in order to do some radical turn-around work in some of Michigan’s worst schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

School officials are worried about the Legislature’s latest plan to help financially troubled school districts.

The state House Financial Liability Reform committee is expected to take up seven bills on Thursday that would create an early warning system to identify financially troubled schools. The bills would require enhanced deficit elimination plans and increase the cap on emergency loans to school districts.

A long board.
user DieselDemon / Flickr

When I took wood shop in high school, the project was a step stool. I know. Not very exciting.

To get high school students more excited about woodworking and to get them more active, an industrial arts teacher and a gym teacher got together and came up with a new kind of class. Kids can make their own longboard skateboard, surfboard, snowboard, or skis.

The class at Forest Hills Eastern High School in Grand Rapids is called Gone Boarding.

user krossbow / Flickr

It's not every EMU Regents meeting that ends with students and community members staging "die-ins" and screaming "Black lives matter! The EAA is killing me!" as the college president leans over them, asking them to calm down and get up off the floor. 

But that's what happened Friday. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Therapy dogs are helping Michigan State University students take a break this week while they study for their final exams. 

The dogs are available to students at two of the libraries on campus where some students practically live during finals week.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Several Michigan colleges and universities took part in a White House conference on math and science education this past week. 

The college initiative summit focused on better preparing students to succeed in college.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

“Black lives matter! The EAA is killing me!”

Dozens of chanting protestors overwhelmed the Eastern Michigan University regents meeting with Friday afternoon, with a handful of people lying down on the carpet in front of the regents table.

Sharon Drummond / flickr

Two reports out this week show Michigan as a stark outlier when it comes to charter schools.

One, from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, shows that 55% of Detroit public school students are now enrolled in charters—up from 51% just a year ago.

That’s the second-highest percentage of any city after New Orleans. 

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

DETROIT- Two Michigan school districts have each received nearly $100,000 in federal grants to bring locally grown food to school cafeterias.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the grants to Detroit Public Schools and the Waterford School District on Tuesday. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING - Auditors say the state was moderately effective in monitoring Michigan school districts to ensure they have effective special education programs.

  A state audit released last week says the Office of Special Education didn't flag students' noncompliance with annual goals and didn't ensure there were appropriate caseloads at four of seven audited school districts and charter schools.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More students from Wisconsin might go to college in Sault Ste. Marie next year when out-of-state tuition is dropped.

Inquires at Lake Superior State from Wisconsin students are up more than 20 percent this fall.

LSSU is the only university in Michigan to go to one tuition rate.

President Tom Pleger hopes the change will boost enrollment in some of the school’s more prominent programs like fishery science and geology.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Theresa Ely, a former custodian at Dearborn Heights school district No. 7, is suing her old employer for allegedly covering up asbestos exposure to some staff and students.

According to her lawsuit filed November 25th, Ely and another custodian were instructed in the summer of 2011 to speed up their work by cleaning asbestos-contaminated floor tiles in the schools with abrasive sandpaper, rather than removing the old floor wax with water as originally instructed.

drtel / Creative Commons

Plans for a new school in West Michigan for students in kindergarten through college are moving forward. The school will focus on science, math, technology, arts and engineering.

There was some controversy when news of the school first came out this spring.

Jerry Zandstra represents the non-profit group that’s buying the massive pyramid-shaped building from furniture-maker Steelcase.

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