Education

via Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager has laid out a plan he says should get the district on a “sustainable path” by the end of his 18-month term.

Darnell Earley’s restructuring plan has some short-term specifics, such as convening a summit of Detroit’s “education service providers” to discuss putting a moratorium on creating new schools before fall 2015; identifying further potential school and “substandard facility” closures; and establishing a task force to deal with the district’s high population of special education students.

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder is getting some tough questions about the May ballot proposal to boost road funding at his education and economic summit this week in Detroit.

The plan would raise the state’s sales tax from 6% to 7% and boost road funding by about a $1 billion a year.

A new contractor will run Ann Arbor school buses next year.
Leslie Science and Nature Center / Flickr

Update 2:48 p.m.

The school buses are running again this afternoon in Ann Arbor. A spokesperson for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, the agency responsible for operating the district's bus system, has drivers for this afternoon.

Michigan Radio's Virginia Gordon spoke with WISD spokesperson Emma Jackson.

Wikipedia / National Archives & Records Administration

Most of us can remember an influential teacher, or a significant moment we had with a former teacher.

Whether they were words of advice or words that put you in your place, these teachable moments can ring in your ears from school days gone by. 

via Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

Wayne State University plans to issue its first-ever posthumous honorary degree to slain Detroit civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo.

Liuzzo was murdered by Ku Klux Klan members near Selma, Alabama in 1965. The 39-year-old mother of five was a Wayne State nursing student when she died.

“I think that Mrs. Liuzzo could not be a better spokesperson or symbol for Wayne State,” says Kim Trent, who sits on Wayne State’s Board of Governors. “She was a non-traditional student, someone who was really trying to use her life to change America.”

One of Gov. Snyder’s top education advisors made a rare public appearance at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s yearly Detroit Policy Conference Thursday.

Paul Pastorek has been working behind the scenes in Lansing for months.

According to the Governor’s office, he’s an “at-will consultant" helping design a major overhaul for Detroit’s struggling, fragmented education system.

Ian Contreras / Creative Commons

This school year, the federal government outlawed the sale of certain snack foods in schools. The idea behind the new guidelines was to improve kids’ health.

But it’s hurt many student organizations that use bake sales to raise money for clubs, athletics and field trips.

Snacks sold to students during the school day can’t have too much fat, sugar or salt. No more than 200 calories in total.

Gov. Rick Snyder
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

A state board has approved selling bonds to come up with $50 million to help community colleges ramp up their career and technical training.

Eighteen community colleges qualified for the money to buy equipment and technology. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Winter's icy grip on Michigan has some in the Legislature arguing once again that the state should allow schools more days for weather-related closures before they must add extra days to the end of the school year.

Schools can be closed for up to six days before they must make up time to receive full funding from the state. But Michigan's 852 school districts missed an average of 9.5 school days in the 2013-2014 school year. And this winter is shaping up to be harsh as well.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Saginaw High School students cheered last night.

They didn’t win the big game.   District leaders decided not to close their school.

Saginaw’s two high schools are well under capacity and struggling academically. 

Interim School Superintendent Kelly Peatross wanted the Saginaw School Board to agree to consolidate the two schools (Saginaw and Arthur Hill) into one. 

Chatfield School

UPDATE: A pro-charter group says the methodology used in the Education Trust-Midwest report is deeply flawed.  A link to The Center for Education Reform's critique is included at the bottom of this article.

When Michigan's charter school experiment began 21 years ago, the hope was charters would be better than traditional public schools.

"The majority of them are actually not delivering on that promise," claims Amber Arellano of Education Trust-Midwest, a Kellogg Foundation-funded non-profit that says it is non-partisan, and "agnostic" on the question of who operates schools.

Changes underway at EAA

Feb 18, 2015

The Education Achievement Authority, the controversial state-run system for some of the lowest-performing schools, is making some changes.

EAA chancellor Veronica Conforme announced the “restructuring” at a board meeting this week.

www.brookings.edu

Paying for college – it’s a challenge for many households.

Seventy percent of the college grads this year took out student loans, and the average college grad this year is paying back student loans of around $33,000.

While these numbers may seem daunting, advancements in technological and business models may help lower cost of college over time.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Only one in three Michiganders feels Michigan's statewide school system deserves an A or a B grade. That's according to new polling from Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants.

Rep. Adam Zemke is the Democratic vice chair of the House Education Committee and he represents Ann Arbor.

Empty desks in a classroom.
Matt Katzenberger / Flickr

Most people in a Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll would give Michigan a "C" when it comes to the state's education system.

Six-hundred likely voters in Michigan were polled from February 2 through February 5, 2015. Thirty-five percent gave Michigan's school system an A or a B - 49% gave Michigan a C, D, or an F (16% were unsure or didn't offer an answer).

Carlos Perez / Flickr

Parents are split on the idea of later school start times for teenagers.

A new survey from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan says about half of parents support the idea. Forty percent expect a later start time would allow their kids to get more sleep, and 22 percent think their kids would do better academically.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) - A state labor commission has ruled in favor of school employees in suburban Detroit who argued that a 10-year contract in the Taylor district was an illegal move to force them to pay union dues.

In a 2-1 decision Friday, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission ordered the Taylor district and the union to take no adverse action against teachers or other employees who decline to support the union. 

A private school in Traverse City will now only admit students who are vaccinated.

The Children's House takes infants all the way through seventh graders.

Administrators became worried about the babies earlier this year, when they realized 30% of their students had vaccination waivers.

Today on Stateside:

·        In the U.S., it’s estimated that some 22 veterans commit suicide every day. U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, is co-sponsoring legislation to try and improve mental health care for veterans. Peters joined us to discuss the issue.

·        Charles Eisendrath, the director of the national journalism program Knight-Wallace Fellows at the University of Michigan talks about the controversy surrounding NBC News Anchor Brian Williams.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Opponents of charter schools are failing to make effective arguments for their position against them, while proponents are creating a stronger consensus for them finds a study conducted by Michigan State University professors Sarah Reckhow and Matt Grossman, along with University of Rochester PhD student Benjamin Evans.

www.melodyarabo.com

Last spring’s Michigan Teacher of the Year, Melody Arabo, joined us today to talk about her first book, A Diary of a Real Bully.

Arabo’s book stems from her third grade classroom at Keith Elementary School in Walled Lake. There, she witnessed bullying and was shocked to find out which kids unveiled themselves as the bullies.

hmm360/morguefile

Every year, thousands of the state's best and brightest collect diplomas from Michigan colleges and universities and then leave for Chicago, New York and other cities. However, two lawmakers think tax credits could help keep the brain drain at bay.

Shoveling in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State Rep. Phil Potvin is from Cadillac, where there's been a lot of snow this year. 

But he says there are a lot of school districts that could use some more wiggle room when it comes to snow days.

His bill would increase the number from six to nine.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Saginaw school district could soon be out of debt. And it can thank the defunct Buena Vista School District. 

The school board voted tonight to accept a $5 million offer for the old Buena Vista High School from an educational services company.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Monster trucks may be an incentive for thousands of Detroit Public School students to get to class next Wednesday. 

Every one of the district’s 47,000 Students will receive two tickets to an upcoming monster truck show at Ford Field.

DPS spokesman Steve Wasko says the ticket giveaway is a sign of support in the community for Detroit schools.

Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren / via Facebook

Over the past two decades, nearly everything about going to school in Detroit has changed.

School choice has meant an explosion of charters in and around the city. Now, more Detroit kids attend charters than traditional public schools.

As for Detroit Public Schools, the district has been under some kind of state control for 12 out of the past 15 years.

Despite these changes, most people feel like the schools situation in the city has gotten worse, not better.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Raw tests scores can't give you a full picture of student academic achievement. There are many other factors that figure into how students learn. That's why Bridge Magazine has created a ranking that takes into account not only grade-level test results, but also students' household incomes.

For the magazine's Academic State Champs this year, 73 of Michigan's 507 school districts have earned top marks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many school districts around Michigan own buildings they are not using. 

A state lawmaker wants to make sure those buildings don’t fall to the wrecking ball if another educational institution wants to buy them. 

Last week, the Saginaw Board of Education voted not to accept a multi-million dollar offer from a local charter school for a building the district was trying to sell. The board then voted to use state funds to tear the building down.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Opposition to merging Saginaw’s two public high schools appears to be turning to resignation.

A year ago, dozens of people angrily criticized closing either Saginaw or Arthur Hill high school. A public hearing last night was more muted.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Saginaw school officials face big decisions about some of the district’s buildings this week. Wednesday, the Saginaw School Board may vote to sell the old Buena Vista high school to an out of state education company.   The sale would net about five million dollars.

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