Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

All this week we’re talking about teacher training.

But there’s one thing that’s almost impossible to teach students in college: how to manage a classroom.


As part of our “Learning to Teach” series this week, we’ve been talking about teacher effectiveness.

Paramount to that effectiveness are teacher evaluations.

“There’s nothing more powerful to move the needle in student learning gains than great teaching,” said John Austin, president of the State Board of Education.

Austin says evaluations must be improved on all levels of a teacher’s career. That includes supporting new teachers in their learning, professional development, and creating rewarding teacher career paths, so that teachers advancing in their careers don’t solely end up  in administration and out of the classrooms.

We asked all 148 Michigan lawmakers the following questions:

"Do you have K-12 school-aged children?"

"If so, what type of school do they attend?"

"What type of K-12 school did you attend?"

See our infographic below.

The chambers inside Michigan's Capitol.
user CedarBendDrive, ae1106, and Lester Graham / Flickr/Michigan Radio

Jeff Salisbury asked us this question as part of our M I Curious news experiment. It's where you ask a question, questions are put to a vote, and we investigate the question with the most votes. 

EMU president will step down this summer

Mar 31, 2015
Susan Martin, EMU president.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin announced today she'll step down as president in July.

Martin will take a one-year sabbatical before returning to EMU as a tenured professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance in the College of Business.

(courtesy of KQED)

In our informal survey, 61% of teachers indicated that better pay is the best way to retain teachers. As part of our "Learning to Teach" week at Michigan Radio, Joshua Cowen, an associate professor at the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, discusses teacher pay in the state.

flickr user Ben W

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren released its recommendations for fixing the fractured system of educating Detroit's kids.

The 36-member panel of community leaders spent three months studying the many problems in Detroit's schools.

For our education series Michigan Radio turned its attention to teacher preparation and retention in Michigan. We talked to teachers and administrators about what it takes to become an excellent educator and how we keep teachers in our K-12 classrooms. 

The entire station was involved across our news, politics, and culture programs. Stories aired on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. On our website we has special features looking at one of the most talked-about, but misunderstood professions today. On Stateside with Cynthia Canty, we featured interviews with teachers and education researchers to find out more about the challenges to teacher retention.

Here's everything we covered. Listen to the teachers, administrators, parents, consultants, and student teachers working to improve Michigan's education system. 

Susan Martin, EMU president.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

David Jesse at the Detroit Free Press reports that Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin will resign at the end of the school year.

More from the Freep:

Kristen Van Ollefen leads 5th graders to her music class at TEP.
Dan Bobkoff / Courtesy of WBEZ in Chicago

This week, Michigan Radio is presenting Learning to Teach, a series of reports on the state of teaching in Michigan.

Teachers in Michigan average around $61,000 a year in salary, with starting salaries in the $36,000 range.

Would paying our teachers more lead to better teachers and more effective learning environments for Michigan kids?

A charter middle school in the Washington Heights area of New York City is testing this theory. It’s a school that serves mainly low-income Latino students.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit School Children
Rebecca Kruth

A coalition of business and community leaders yesterday released their recommendations for improving Detroit’s struggling school district.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren said control over Detroit Public Schools needs to go back in the hands the school board and out from under emergency management.

Auburn Elementary

In many undergraduate education programs, students spend a lot of time in the university classroom to prepare them for their student teaching in the final year. 

Until that placement, theory sometimes has little chance to meet up with practice.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school officials heard from the public last night for the first time on a plan to close more city schools

People who packed the meeting came to have their questions answered and their voices heard. They at least had their questions answered. But school officials only took written questions. 

The public hearing did not include actual public comment.

user Wonderlane / Flickr

There's wide agreement among education experts that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor in how students do in school.

Kimberly Springer / Michigan Radio

All this week on Stateside with Cynthia Canty, we'll be hearing from some of the teachers who responded to our survey about retaining teachers in Michigan. 

This infographic summarizes what a lot of them had to say about what keeps them in their classrooms. But, some educators told us why they eventually left Michigan to teach elsewhere or left the profession altogether. 

We've heard so much about teachers as lawmakers and administrators go back and forth over educational reforms.

Isn't it about time we listened to what teachers have to tell us? 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Student enrollment at Muskegon Heights has been declining since the 2009-10 school year.

Five years ago, student enrollment at Muskegon Heights schools was double what it is now. But for the first time since 2009, student enrollment was stable this year. Technically, enrollment was up 5 students.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan is nearly out of money to lend school districts in case of financial emergencies.

The state treasury department had up to $50 million total to lend school districts facing financial emergencies. That amount was supposed to last through 2018. But that apparently it isn’t going to be enough.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The State of Michigan wants its next generation of teachers to know more.

But raising educational standards for teachers is proving to be a challenge.

The Teachable Moment Project collected remembrances from you of the teachers in your life.

By intentionally leaving “memorable words” open to your interpretation, we heard from you about teachers who inspired you, as well as teachers who derailed dreams.

All next week, Michigan Radio will air a special series of reports looking at teaching and how well Michigan’s colleges and universities are doing at turning out effective teachers.

There is wide agreement among education experts that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor in how students do in school. But how do we define what makes a good teacher? 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Michigan charter school authorizers are trying to come up with independent ways to evaluate themselves.

Authorizers help create charter schools and are supposed to hold them accountable. They’ve been under a lot of scrutiny lately.

Ford STEM Lab

The focus will be on how to increase diversity in tech jobs as a hundred Detroit middle schoolers gather this weekend for a two-day hackathon. It's put on by Ford STEAM Lab, which is part of the Ford Motor Company Fund in conjunction with partners like California-based #YesWeCode and the Level Playing Field Institute.

The hackathon will allow young people to work with technology professionals to pitch ideas for their own mobile app and build a prototype in 48 hours.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is $53 million behind in pension payments with no end in sight for the financial free-fall.

According to Chad Livengood of The Detroit News, the district is predicting a deficit of $166 million.

"The biggest driver to the DPS deficit is legacy costs and past debt," Livengood says.

Kalamazoo College will no longer require students to provide their ACT or SAT scores when they apply. 

Instead, admissions officials will look more closely at the classes applicants took in high school, and their GPA. 

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

UPDATE: We've added the actual policies that the board is considering below.

Ann Arbor's school board met last night to consider banning guns on campus.

It's been weighing the question since a gun-rights advocate named Joshua Wade wore a gun to a high school concert. In Michigan, it’s legal to openly carry a gun in schools so long as you have a concealed pistol license.  

Christina Lumpkin at home with her daughter, Maya and grandson, Jahari.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

Think about most of the news stories you read about kids in Detroit. What comes to mind?

Something about dysfunctional schools? Maybe a crime story?

When’s the last time you felt like a story transported you into the life of a family? Where you really got to know a child? Where you felt what it might be like to be a parent raising kids there?

MichigansChildren / YouTube

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says seven charter school authorizers in Michigan are no longer at risk of suspension. Charter school authorizers help create charter schools and are supposed to hold them accountable.

But last summer Flangan warned 11 charter authorizers they were at risk of being prevented from opening new schools until they did a better job holding their existing schools accountable.

flickr user Ben W

The Michigan state police picked more than 80 public, private and charter schools to share $4 million as part of the Competitive School Safety Grant Program.

Nancy Becker-Bennett, director of the MSP’s grants and community services division, said schools all over the state applied for the program.


Three members of Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Michigan are facing criminal charges after the fraternity vandalized a ski resort one January weekend in Gaylord, Michigan.

The State Board of Education (SBE) has selected a new state superintendent of schools. Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston will take over the Michigan Department of Education in July. That’s when current state Superintendent Mike Flanagan will retire.

Whiston says he’s had a lot of success in Dearborn – and hopes to achieve similar goals statewide.

“We’ve raised student achievement, raised graduation rates, our budget’s in line,” he said after a final interview with the SBE Wednesday.