Education

Education
1:22 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Sorting out Michigan's proposed education overhaul

James F Clay flickr

In recent days there has been much made of a proposed overhaul to Michigan’s education system.

The overhaul consists of three parts:

  • two bills currently working their way through the state House and Senate,
  • and one draft of a bill that has yet to be introduced.

The bills are part of a package devised in part by Governor Rick Snyder’s education advisor Richard McLellan in an attempt to achieve the Governor’s goal of providing an “Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace” learning model.

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Education
4:49 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Stateside: International students continue to attend Michigan universities

Michigan State University receives a high number of international applicants each fall
larrysphatpage flickr

Peter Briggs of MSU's Office of International Students and Scholars and Jing Cui, an undergrad student at MSU talk with Cynthia Canty.

An increasing amount of Chinese students are enrolling in American universities.

Because more Chinese students are now graduating from high school than ever before, there exists the demand for collegiate opportunities.

“It’s a strong reflection of the Chinese middle class. There is also a liberalization of U.S. visas to allow Chinese students to come here,” said Peter Briggs.

Briggs directs Michigan State University’s Office of International Students and Scholars.

Sharing her story was study abroad was Jing Cui. An undergrad student at MSU, Jing Cui considered America upon attending a Chinese university for a year.

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Education
8:31 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Commentary: Michigan’s education future

Essay

There’s a lot more than usual going on in this lame duck session of the legislature. The governor is pushing for personal property tax relief for businesses, and for completing the task of converting Blue Cross Blue Shield from a state-regulated charity to a nonprofit mutual insurance company.

There also may be a drive to get some form of legislation to replace the rejected emergency manager law.

But there is a vast amount of buzz going on about something that won’t be taken up in this session, but which could provoke the mother of all battles in the legislature next year.

And that’s a proposal that has the potential of radically altering how Michigan elementary and high school education is funded, and how millions of Michigan kids receive their education.

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Education
9:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Michigan legislators seeking to create 'Wild West' of unregulated schools?

Capitol in Lansing
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

State Board of Education President John Austin published a commentary in MLive yesterday.

He's raises big concerns over a series of education overhaul bills working their way through Michigan's lame duck legislative session.

Austin writes these bills have the potential to upend Michigan's public school system.

These would allow a host of new schools and learning venues to be created. Working together, these proposals would replace a coherent education reform strategy—that has enjoyed bipartisan support, with a “Wild West” of unfettered, unregulated new school creation, decoupled from the goal of improving learning and student outcomes.

If implemented, it could erode or destroy completely our current public schools and education system in favor of a chaotic, often for-profit-provided education marketplace.

This legislation creates an unlimited and largely unregulated marketplace of new online schools, for-profit-run schools, schools run by businesses, universities, community organizations, and municipal governments. It would allow new authorizers to create schools in any location, for any reason, with little oversight.

If the bills aim to create a robust school choice marketplace, Austin writes, then the bills should explicitly say this.

He says debate should then occur as to whether all families in Michigan would truly have access to all the options.

The bills he's questioning are HB 6004, SB 1358, and a "yet to be introduced financing bill."

Education
3:55 pm
Sun November 18, 2012

Board being named for Ypsilanti-Willow Run schools

A school board will be appointed Monday for the merging Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts.

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Education
2:03 pm
Sun November 18, 2012

Rewriting Michigan's funding plan for education

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A proposal that Gov. Rick Snyder commissioned to overhaul Michigan's education system would let students take their public funding to any district that will accept them, enroll in state-funded online learning courses and get $2,500 in scholarship money for each semester they graduate early from high school.

The Detroit Free Press says a group that Michigan's Republican governor asked to propose revisions to the state's K-12 school finance system will release a draft of its bill Monday.

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That's What They Say
8:04 am
Sun November 18, 2012

Hello, pronoun...are you singular?

Listen to full interview above.

“People tell me that the pronoun ‘they’ cannot be singular. But here’s the thing - it already is,” says Anne Curzan. She’s a professor of English at the University of Michigan who specializes in linguistics.

Most speakers already use “they” as a singular pronoun in speech.

“In writing, we are told to use ‘he’ or ‘she,’ or change the whole sentence,” Curzan says.

English teachers have been telling us for years that “they” is not a singular pronoun. But, Curzan offers a few examples of indefinite pronouns that speakers make singular.

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Education
5:48 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Will minority enrollment increase after federal court ruling?

A 2006 BAMN rally in Lansing against Proposal 2. The proposal was passed by Michigan voters that November.
BAMN

On Thursday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Michigan’s 2006 constitutional ban on affirmative action unconstitutional.

Some argue that the ruling will have a major impact on minority enrollment at the state’s public universities.

Monica Smith, a lawyer opposed to the affirmative action ban, began attending Wayne State Law School a year before it took effect, MLive reports.

The following year, the number of incoming black students was cut in half, Smith says.

She thinks this recent court ruling should transform the admissions process:

"This means a lot to me," said Smith. "This means that my brother, my cousins, other people in Detroit, the Latino and black students can go to Wayne State Law School and Medical School."

"I graduated from the University of Michigan. I graduated from Wayne State Law School. My brother graduated from Michigan State University. All because of affirmative action," she said. "I am 100 percent a product of affirmative action. Not because I'm not 100 percent qualified to be there. But because all three of those universities couldn't discriminate against me or my brother or other similarly situated people."

Despite yesterday’s victory, Smith and other opponents of the ban will have to wait before they see any significant changes.

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Education
2:57 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Charter school enrollment rising

kakisky MorgueFile

The number of Michigan students who attend charter schools is rising. 

There are 277 charter schools in Michigan, and that number could grow.

Dan Quisenberry is president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

He says five Michigan cities now rank in the top 20 for the percentage of students enrolled in charter schools.

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Education
3:17 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Flint Schools superintendent to retire; board says deficit may be bigger than predicted

Flint School District Superintendent Linda Thompson.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The superintendent of Flint Public Schools is stepping down. 

Linda Thompson took the helm of the troubled Flint school district in 2008.

The district was hemorrhaging red ink, had a shrinking school population  and poor academic performance.

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Education
1:12 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Report: Job market "sluggish" for new Michigan college graduates

Michigan State University students on the East Lansing campus
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan college graduates are entering a sluggish job market.

Michigan State University’s annual Recruiting Trends report finds employers are not confident about the nation’s economic direction in 2013.    Many are worried about problems with Europe’s economy.   There’s also concern about the nation's deeply divided political leadership.   That's all putting a damper on employers’ hiring plans.

Phil Gardner is the director of MSU’s College Employment Research Institute.

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Education
5:56 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Detroit teachers' union sues over evaluations, layoffs

The Detroit Federation of Teachers is suing the city's public school system on behalf of more than 400 teachers the union says were laid off improperly.

Detroit Public Schools used a new evaluation system this year, following changes to Michigan's teacher tenure law that allow districts to call back laid-off teachers without using seniority as the first factor.

The union says the system the district came up with is not fair or transparent. And Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson says on top of that, the school system didn't even follow its own rules when it came time to decide who would be called back to work.

Johnson says the lawsuit seeks any remedy available under the law.

"That would include reinstatement, it could include punitive damages, because there are some teachers who have had their lives literally turned upside down."

The school district did not comment directly on the lawsuit. But in a statement, it says the evaluation system ensured the most highly effective teachers would be placed in every classroom.

Education
4:27 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

MSU creating Global Center for Food Systems Innovation

Michigan State University is creating a Global Center for Food Systems Innovation thanks to a 25 million dollar award.

The award comes from US AID, the federal agency overseeing foreign assistance to developing countries.

MSU will fund research targeting improved agriculture production and cost effective, sustainable solutions for developing areas of the world. 

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Education
3:48 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Stateside: Education Achievement Authority faces loss of Detroit Public Schools

The EAA will await the news concerning the Detroit Board of Education's contract
User Motown31 Creative Commons

Last night, the Detroit Board of Education voted to break their contract and pull out of the Education Achievement Authority.

The Board’s decision will greatly affect the EAA, whose initial goal was to provide educational care to struggling schools throughout Michigan.

Don Heller, Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University, insists the Detroit Schools’ exit will greatly disrupt the EAA.

“If the Detroit Public Schools pull out of the EAA it will be a major blow,” said Heller.

Michelle Richard, who specializes in Educational Policy at Public Sector Consultants, echoed Heller’s remarks.

“My biggest concern is in the short-term and in lending legitimacy to the EAA’s effort, this just causes more confusion. The legislature is currently looking at codifying the EAA and are looking at how they could continue to expand this effort state-wide,” said Richard.

Listen to the audio above or to our podcast to hear more about the state of the EAA.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Education
8:30 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Wayne State University to search for new president

Credit User: ellenm1 / flickr

The Wayne State University Board of Governors is expected to vote Monday to establish a search committee for a new president. The university needs to replace Allan Gilmour, who plans to retire when his two-year contract is up in June.

Gilmour is credited with making the school's admissions standards more rigorous, after criticism that it admitted students who couldn't succeed. But his successor will still have some work to do. According to the Web site college results dot org, fewer than a third of Wayne State students graduate within six years.

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Education
4:24 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Homeless Awareness Week

Credit cdc.gov / cdc.gov

Homeless Awareness Week in Michigan is November 10-18. The idea is to highlight the causes of homelessness and the issues that homeless people face. There are events planned in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Port Huron, and other towns.

In Livingston County a group of people will live in their cars for 24 hours and eat only what they can buy with about $5 in food stamps, in order to raise awareness.

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Education
12:43 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

The new model for struggling schools? With state backing, Ypsilanti and Willow Run merge

In choice between consolidation or state takeover, voters choose to merge districts
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Cash-strapped school districts, heads up: the state's hoping you'll take a page out of Ypsilanti's and Willow Run's book.

On Tuesday, voters approved what school reps (and even some students) say is a critical, if dramatic, step: consolidating districts.

It means big cuts and layoffs, but administrators desperately hope it'll also hit the reset button for two struggling communities. 

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Education
12:09 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Grand Rapids students and neighbors push back on new “transformation plan” for schools

2012 Creston grad Angelique Long, Senior Saryane Ward, and Freshman Toni Cortazar (left to right) speak out against closing Creston High School Thursday night.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

On Thursday night hundreds of parents and students got their first chance to respond to a "transformation plan" for the Grand Rapids Public School district. The plan unveiled Monday includes closing ten schools.

There was a lot of push back, even tears at times in the auditorium at Creston High School; the only high school slated to be shut down.

“Honestly, it feels like the board is giving up on us,” Creston High School freshman Toni Cortazar said.

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Education
5:59 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

ACLU's "right to read" lawsuit moving forward

The ACLU says the state knew about big problems, and didn't do enough to help
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

A Wayne County judge says the ACLU can move ahead with its lawsuit against Highland Park schools.

That suit claims children in Highland Park are being denied the "right to read," and that the state is ultimately responsible.  It's getting national attention for what could be wide repercussions. 

Lawyers for the ACLU say the state and the district knew about major problems, like less than 10 percent of Highland Park middle and elementary students testing at grade level in reading or math.  In reading alone, they're often four to eight grade levels behind.

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Education
8:40 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Grand Rapids schools unveils “transformation plan”- includes closing 10 schools

Supt. Teresa Weatherall Neal (right) discusses the transformation plan with the school board Monday night.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Public School district would close 10 schools under a new “transformation plan” unveiled Monday night.

Over the past decade GRPS has lost 7,000 students; dropping it to the fifth largest district in the state. Along with the loss of students, Grand Rapids Public Schools has cut more than $100 million and closed 25 schools. But almost half its buildings are still way below capacity and the graduation rate is only 47-percent. 

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