Education

TaxCredits.net / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Department of Education has cut off  federal grants to the Michigan Jewish Institute in West Bloomfield.

In a February letter to the private college, the government says nearly 2,000 MJI students claimed to be studying abroad in Israel but weren't taking classes through the school.

The letter says those students received Pell Grants through MJI without "physically attending" classes, and none graduated.

Student press rights bill to go to MI senate for a vote

Mar 23, 2016
myrealnameispete / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bill to protect freedom of expression and of the press for Michigan student journalists at public schools and universities was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. 

The bill protects student journalists from censorship in school-sponsored media, including newspapers, broadcasts and yearbooks.

"I believe there is a lot of censorship," says the bill's sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge). "And students are openly told they can't write about what they want."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan with students at the Detroit Promise Zone scholarship announcement.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit is joining the list of Michigan communities offering “promise zone” college scholarships.

The program, enacted by state lawmakers years ago, but never implemented in Detroit until now, guarantees any Detroit high school graduate two years' tuition at five Metro Detroit community colleges.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As the clock ticks down toward possible payless paydays in the Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Federation of Teachers is trying turn up the pressure on state lawmakers.

DFT leaders are also trying to tamp down on a faction within the union that is pushing for more radical action to force Lansing’s hand.

The district needs state money in the short term to avoid running out of cash early next month. It also needs a longer-term rescue package to help shed crippling debt and reorganize as a new district.

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.

Last night, the Farmington School Board voted to close or consolidate three district schools, including Harrison High School, over the next four years.

Board members in the suburban Detroit district called that a tough decision, but a necessary one in light of declining enrollment – a common situation statewide.

For interim superintendent Alycia Meriweather, allowing DPS to shut down is "unimaginable"
Michigan State University

The Detroit Public Schools have a new interim superintendent appointed by state emergency manager Judge Stephen Rhodes.

Alycia Meriweather is now in charge of academics for DPS. Unlike a lot of previous top administrators, she’s actually from Detroit and a DPS graduate. She’s also a long-time Detroit teacher.

DPS has been closing  schools, ending programs, losing students and losing money, a downward trend that has continued under the string of state-appointed emergency managers.

For teachers in Detroit, Meriweather says it’s been an exercise in creativity.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder has proposed spending $500,000 for campus sexual assault prevention programs in his budget.

  The grant money would be split among universities if lawmakers give it the green light.

  But some advocates say it's not enough for all of the programs they'd like to run. And some students at Michigan State University are critical of administrators and a university policy requiring employees to report sexual misconduct even when the survivor says he or she doesn't want the incident reported.

Jake Neher / MPRN

The state’s largest school district will likely not be able to make payroll after April 8.

That’s what new Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes told state lawmakers at a hearing on Wednesday.

Rhodes says he can’t guarantee employees will get paid after April 8 because the district will likely run out of money during that payroll period.

He’s urging lawmakers to act quickly to pass a bailout.

“I’m deeply concerned about the district running out of money on April 8th. There is no Plan B,” Rhodes told reporters after the hearing.

State Board of Ed meets on LGBTQ policies

Mar 8, 2016
Bryan McDonald / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan school districts need to provide a welcoming environment for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students) and protect them from harassment, violence and discrimination. 

That's the goal of a set of practices and policies that the State Board of Education discussed today and is expected to vote on in May, after a period of public comment.

"It's about no child being left behind in terms of their life chances and education," said Board President John Austin. "And we want that to be true of LGBT youth all across Michigan."

Michigan State University

The person in charge of charting a new academic course for the Detroit Public Schools is a familiar face in the district.

Former federal judge Steven Rhodes, the district’s emergency manager, has named Alycia Meriweather as the new interim superintendent

Merriweather is a lifelong Detroiter and DPS graduate who “started with the Detroit Public Schools as a four-year-old with Head Start,” Meriweather said during a sometimes-emotional press conference Monday.

Recently I was led through an abandoned building in Detroit.

“The first time we came in here in 2013 it was still relatively intact. The power was off, but pretty much everything else was in decent shape. It wasn’t in great shape, but just a matter of months and this place was completely destroyed,” one of my guides told me.

So, who walked away from a perfectly good building, failed to secure it well enough to keep metal thieves out?

The Detroit Public School District.

Wayne State medical school issues warning to faculty

Mar 3, 2016
Courtesy photo

Top officials at Wayne State University School of Medicine are telling faculty that insufficient productivity will no longer be tolerated.

As Crain's Detroit reported, Jack D. Sobel, M.D, dean of the medical school, and David S. Hefner, the university's vice president for health affairs, sent a letter to medical school professors on Wednesday.

Flint Head Start will get $3.6 million boost

Mar 2, 2016
Barnaby Wasson / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a $3.6 million immediate expansion for Head Start and Early Head Start services in Flint.

Kevin Spencer / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There’s a bipartisan effort at the state Capitol to ban special education teachers from secluding and restraining students.

Under the legislation, teachers could still restrain and seclude special needs students in emergency situations.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley chaired the state’s special education task force, which recommended the ban. He has called the practices “barbaric” and “inhumane.”

“When you replace that with the positive behavior interventions and supports, the ability for teachers to teach more effectively and students to learn more goes up,” said Calley.

Hallway in Huron High School in Ann Arbor.
user rosefirerising / Flickr

A new tuition-based program would mean an increase in Chinese students at Ann Arbor's high schools, as well as more money for the district.

The school board is weighing a proposed partnership between Ann Arbor Public Schools and Troy-based BCC International Education Group, Inc. The Chinese-American company has created similar programs in Saline and Dexter.

Michigan superintendent Brian Whiston
Michigan Department of Education

Across the state, many Michigan schools are struggling to keep pace with national averages. The U.S. as a whole is struggling to keep up with other advanced countries.

It’s a major challenge, and in response, Michigan Superintendent Brian Whiston has announced the Top 10 in 10 Years plan. He aims to make Michigan one of the top 10 states for education within the next decade.

Skillman Foundation

The next superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools should come from the district’s current ranks, according to a non-profit leader who turned the job down.

Tonya Allen leads the Skillman Foundation, which has been deeply involved in Detroit education reform efforts for years. She had been widely considered a front-runner for a leadership post

Allen said Friday that she was offered the job of DPS interim superintendent, but declined.

DPS emergency manager Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

It’s all but official: Steven Rhodes will take over as the next emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools, the fifth in not quite seven years.

Rhodes is the former federal judge who managed the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy case.

He met with DPS teachers and other employees at Detroit’s Cass Tech high school late Wednesday.

Mercedes Mejia

Rick Joseph is the Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2016. Joseph recently wrote a piece for Bridge Magazine that asks, “Who am I to judge Detroit teacher sickouts?”

As Michigan Teacher of the Year, Joseph tells us he considers his role “to be an ambassador for teachers, to be a servant leader, to be an advocate for education throughout the state.”

Detroit Federation of Teachers

The city of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools have signed a consent agreement.

It lays out timetables for fixing health and safety violations in some school buildings.

The agreement covers 26 schools right now. More schools could be added as city school inspections continue.

The agreement generally gives the district 30 days from the date of inspection to make repairs, sometimes less if there are health hazards.

Lauren Herrin

As controversy and uncertainty swirl around the future of the Detroit Public Schools, students say no one is asking for their input — and at least one group wants that to change.

Everyone from rural Michigan lawmakers to Detroit business leaders seems to have an opinion about the “DPS question.”

That’s because the district basically needs a state bailout and some type of “restructuring” to avoid bankruptcy.

But while officials haggle over bills in Lansing, DPS students say the conversation hasn’t included them.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

After a closed search regarded by some Eastern Michigan University faculty as "too secretive," the EMU Board of Regents elected the school's 23rd president at a special meeting Friday.

James M. Smith was selected out of 81 applicants after a national search process that began in April 2015.

The pool was narrowed down by a 10-person Search Advisory Committee, made up of regents, faculty representatives and administrators.

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.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit teachers and parents had a “day of action” Tuesday.

It centered around a number of “walk-in” events at neighborhood schools throughout the city.

Those brief rallies were meant to show public support for investing in schools and educators.

They’re designed to complement the recent wave of teacher sickout protests that have drawn attention to deteriorating buildings and other crisis within the Detroit Public Schools.

Diccionario / Flickr Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit has a new high school for bilingual students who speak Spanish and English.

Academy of the Americas has expanded from its main building in southwest Detroit.

Previously, all students attended classes in the same location. The new site will house students in grades 8-10.

The high school teaches a curriculum with a 50-50 ratio of both languages, which means students need to have a prior background in speaking Spanish.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Last week was the beginning of the end for the controversial Education Achievement Authority.

Republican state lawmakers announced the EAA would come to an end, in an effort to win Detroit lawmakers’ votes for bills to resolve the crisis in the Detroit Public Schools.  

Jake Neher / MPRN

The Eastern Michigan University board of regents has voted sever ties to the Education Achievement Authority.

EMU, along with the Detroit Public Schools, was part of the inter-local agreement that made the EAA possible.

The EAA was Gov. Snyder’s key education reform initiative. Launched in 2012, it was supposed to serve as a statewide school reform district.

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.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools barred independent health inspectors from investigating some school buildings Wednesday.

The American Federation of Teachers hired the industrial hygienists to look into alleged environmental hazards.

But, “The district banned all of our inspectors from any of the buildings,” said Bob Fetter, an attorney representing the Detroit Federation of Teachers in a lawsuit over, among other things, dangerous environmental conditions in DPS schools.

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