Education

Education
2:08 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Proposed changes to special education in Michigan worry parents

Alterations to special education rules could drastically change school life for special ed students.
user frank juarez Flickr

Stateside interview with Marcie Lipsitt, founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education.

Proposed changes to special education rules in Michigan are causing alarm and concern for some parents.

You can read about the proposed changes here.

Marcie Lipsitt is the founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education, a grassroots organization that advocates for special education students. 

The proposed rule revisions would be "catastrophic," according to Lipsitt.

*You can listen to her thoughts above.

Education
2:32 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

Report: More low-income students getting a higher ed head start

Credit Wikipedia

More Michigan kids are making college dreams come true while still in high school. That's according to a new report that finds the number of low-income Michigan pupils taking Advanced Placement coursework has increased eight-fold over the past ten years.

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Education
9:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Third-grader raises money for hot school lunches for low-income kids

Cayden Taipalus, a third-grade student from Howell, Michigan.
Credit Amber Peters

A  third-grader from Howell is making a big difference.

Eight-year-old Cayden Taipalus was upset when he saw a child refused a hot  lunch at his elementary school cafeteria because his lunch account was in arrears.

Instead, the child was served a sandwich with fruit and milk, the alternative provided free by Howell school policy when a student's overdue lunch balance reaches $5.

Amber Peters is Cayden's mother. She said he came home asking how he could help.

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Education
6:31 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

USDA looking into research animal deaths at University of Michigan

Veterinary medical officer checking health of guinea pig
NIH

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Animal Welfare Act, says it is "looking into" four incidents at the University of Michigan involving research animals.

The agency says that's not the same as a formal investigation.

The USDA is acting on a complaint by an animal rights group, SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation NOW) which demands the maximum fine against the University for the deaths of several research animals, including the death of a baboon.

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Education
6:10 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Year-round schooling incentives get House OK

The Highland Park school district is almost out of cash. The state is working on a solution to keep kids in school.
user alkruse24 Flickr

Lawmakers in the state House have approved a $2 million pilot program to encourage schools to go year-round.

Schools in mostly low-income areas could get money from the state to add air-conditioning and other things allowing them to operate in the summer. The measure was introduced by Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, and Gov. Rick Snyder called on lawmaker to pass it in his budget address last month.

Supporters say students lose too much of what they learn after long summer breaks.

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Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

With so many charter schools in Detroit, how do we know the smarter choice?

Cup with pencils
user jdurham morguefile

It's no secret that Detroit schools have been failing their students for a long time.

In 2009 Detroit's public schools racked up the worst scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, and the scores haven't really improved since then.

Charter schools were launched to offer Detroit parents a choice. But my next guest believes the unregulated environment for charter schools has wound up hurting the kids who most need help and a sound education.

Robin Lake is director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Seattle.  She recently visited Detroit and came away with some unsettling views of the condition of Detroit's charter schools.

Stateside
4:11 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Michigan among many states to shift burden of college expense to students

Education Trust-Midwest

In 2000, all but three of the 50 states contributed more per student than each student paid for their college education. That came to a screeching halt in Michigan, starting with deep cuts to higher education funding by the Granholm administration and picking up steam as the economy worsened.

Today, Michigan is among the many states to shift the burden of paying for that college education onto students.

We now rank 40th in per-student higher education spending. Michigan's per-student spending works out to just over $4,600 per student, compared to the nearly $9,900 per-student cost to enrollees.

MLive's Brian Smith wrote about this, and joined us today.

Education
11:38 am
Tue March 4, 2014

$4.5 million fund is being formed to benefit Head Start programs in Detroit

Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

The Detroit Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund announced Tuesday will award grants in part to support improved services and better outcomes for young children and families.

The announcement was made by the Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, funders working to support early childhood education. The group includes the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Skillman Foundation and others.

The fund will be managed by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The fund was created in response to a federal competition for $48 million in Head Start funding in Detroit. The Office of Head Start recently announced Detroit organizations with winning proposals that are in negotiations to get federal funding.

Education
4:23 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Fewer Michigan school districts running a deficit, but struggles continue

Sharon Drummond Flickr

There are fewer Michigan school districts running into the red this year, and even more are projected to work their way out of budget deficits by the end of the school year.

Politicians in Lansing say they're encouraged by the trend, but peel away the top layer and it's not all good news. MLive Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting joined us to explain why.

*Listen to the interview above.

Education
5:38 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

School districts' budget picture appears to be brightening

State schools chief Mike Flanagan says schools need to be more proactive about looming financial problems.
MichigansChildren YouTube

The list of Michigan school districts that have budget deficits is shrinking, and more districts are digging out of debt. That was the report today from the state Department of Education to lawmakers.

There are 46 districts on the deficit list today, compared to 50 at the end of last year.

“I’m encouraged that we’re trending in the right direction as far as the number of schools heading into deficit and the number of schools heading out of deficit,” said State Sen. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, who chairs the Senate K-12 budget subcommittee.      

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Stateside
4:54 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Is college always the best choice for high school grads?

College graduates.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This is the time of year when many high school juniors are taking their ACTs and scheduling campus tours. And high school seniors are looking in the mailbox for college acceptance letters and – hopefully –financial aid packages.

There are many in Michigan who believe that heading to college is the key to a successful life for these kids. There's plenty of evidence that young adults with that four-year degree will do better in terms of employment and wages than their peers with some college, or a two-year degree, or only a high school diploma.

But there is another side to the discussion – the one that raises the question: Is college truly the right choice for all high school grads? Are we overlooking the opportunities offered by skilled trades and other careers that do not require a degree?

Glenda Price is the former president of Marygrove College in Detroit and is now the president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. And Lou Glazer is the president of Michigan Future, Inc. They both joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
5:32 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Feds say U of M, MSU sexual assaults under investigation

Former UM football player, Brendan Gibbons, was accused of rape in 2009. Media reports claim the school is now being investigated for how it handled the case.
user Cbl62 Wikimedia Commons

If school administrators know, or should know, about a sexual assault involving students, they have to act fast – and they have to "address" the "effects" of the assault. 

That's according to federal law, under Title IX.

But neither the University of Michigan, nor Michigan State University, handled sexual assaults the right way, according to complaints sent to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

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Education
4:42 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Steelcase plans to donate huge, pyramid-shaped building for new STEM education hub

drtel Creative Commons

Grand Rapids-based furniture maker Steelcase plans to donate its iconic pyramid-shaped building to a nonprofit group.

Steelcase spent more than $100 million to build the more than 600,000 square-foot building in 1989. It’s been for sale for a lot less, around $20 million, for a couple of years. But it hasn't sold.

Steelcase spokeswoman Laura VanSlyke says the company talked to a few potential buyers, but the size and unique shape “does make it difficult for certain companies to take it over.”

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10:35 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Proposed law seeks better training and effective evaluations for Michigan teachers

Lead in text: 
What's the point of evaluating teachers and then not providing constructive feedback for improvements? That's the challenge legislators are tackling with changes to Michigan's teacher evaluation law. State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer sat in on a teacher development session in Grand Rapids to find out which new techniques are being used to coach educators more effectively.
What's the point of evaluating teachers and then not providing constructive feedback for improvements?
Education
5:28 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New law tightens public school safety drill requirements

Fire Drill
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law today legislation that will require Michigan public schools to tighten fire, tornado and lockdown safety drills.

State Rep. Joseph Graves, R-Argentine Township, sponsored the legislation in response to media reports of widespread disregard by schools of safety drill requirements.

The new law requires schools to file by Sept. 15  a schedule of drills for the whole year with their county emergency manager. Schools must also post on their websites notice of a completed safety drill within five days.

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Education
1:00 am
Mon February 24, 2014

State throws out test scores for an entire elementary school in southwest Michigan

Biologycorner Creative Commons

Scores from this year’s standardized test at one southwest Michigan elementary school won’t count at all.

According to Michigan's Department of Education, individual administrative errors on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test happen every year. But this kind of mistake, affecting hundreds of student tests, is rare.

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Education
1:42 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Flint schools require staff to pick up checks

Flint school employees were required to pick up their check in person Friday as the struggling district confirms that it's paying people who actually work.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - There is no direct deposit this week for teachers and other employees in the Flint school district.

They were required to pick up their check in person Friday as the struggling district confirms that it's paying people who actually work. Spokesman Brian Smith tells The Flint Journal it's too early to know if any problems were uncovered.

He says there might be legitimate reasons for someone who didn't pick up a check.

Education
11:34 am
Sat February 22, 2014

5 Michigan community colleges to let auto students transfer

Community college students face barriers to finishing their education due to employment and life changes forcing them to move to other parts of Michigan.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Five Michigan community colleges are partnering on a pilot program to let students in automotive technology programs transfer among the schools without losing credits or having to repeat course work.

Delta College, Grand Rapids Community College, Lansing Community College, Montcalm Community and Mott Community Colleges have signed the agreement. It was announced Friday by Nigel Francis, the state's senior automotive adviser.

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Education
2:49 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

The University of Michigan wants more black students

Three of the students at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday.
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan has a race problem.

“Open it up! Or we’ll shut it down!” chanted half a dozen black students at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday.

Their frustrations are getting national attention. 

The Black Student union has led protests on campus and online.

Their #BBUM Twitter campaign (Being Black at U of M) has gone viral. 

They’re fed up, they say, by a school that boasts about a diverse community, yet where just roughly 5% of some 28,000 undergraduate students are black.

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Stateside
5:15 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

How will Michigan help failing schools without the EAA?

User Motown31 Creative Commons

The state of Michigan is ending its exclusive contract with the Education Achievement Authority to oversee the worst-performing schools in the state.

State School Superintendent Mike Flangan sent a letter to the EAA saying the state will pull out of its exclusivity agreement with the Authority one year from now.

Martin Ackley is with the Michigan Department of Education. He says the state still intends to use the EAA to help turn around struggling schools.

“Now, this is in no way a statement or an indication of a lack of confidence in the EAA or its academic strategies. This is just an action that needed to be taken in order to provide flexibility and to provide options other than the EAA in which to place these most struggling schools.”

So, what are the other options that the State might use to help failing schools? And what's ahead for the controversial EAA?

Jake Neher, who covers Lansing for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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