Michigan League for Public Policy http://michiganradio.org en Report: Michigan's low-income 4th-graders need to improve their reading proficiency http://michiganradio.org/post/report-michigans-low-income-4th-graders-need-improve-their-reading-proficiency <p>A new report finds Michigan’s poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.</p><p></p><p>According to the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low-income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently. Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003.</p><p></p><p>Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the project director for Kids Count Michigan. She says fourth grade is a pivotal age, since that’s where children stop learning to read and start reading to learn.</p><p></p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:30:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 16201 at http://michiganradio.org Report: Michigan's low-income 4th-graders need to improve their reading proficiency Michiganders who get government food assistance will feel funding cut this week http://michiganradio.org/post/michiganders-who-get-government-food-assistance-will-feel-funding-cut-week <p>Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who rely on government programs to put food on their table will be getting less money to buy groceries starting November First.</p><p>Back in 2009, the federal government pumped billions of dollars into food assistance programs. The money came from the federal economic stimulus. But that ends November first. &nbsp;After that, Michiganders getting help buying food from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see their monthly benefits drop by about five to ten percent.</p> Sun, 27 Oct 2013 17:09:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 15001 at http://michiganradio.org Michiganders who get government food assistance will feel funding cut this week Declining unions and Michigan's paycheck blues http://michiganradio.org/post/declining-unions-and-michigans-paycheck-blues <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>There’s a bumper sticker&nbsp;I occasionally see that says: Unions: The People Who Brought You the Weekend. For most Americans, that is certainly true. Unions created not only the weekend, but the modern middle class, something we tend to forget these days.</p><p>Yes, unions became complacent and some became corrupt. Some did not do enough for women or minorities. But all in all, they did far more good for America and the American worker than harm.</p><p>Unions are, however, widely unpopular with a sizable section of the public these days, and an even larger percentage of politicians.</p><p>The Republican majority in the Michigan legislature seems to have essentially declared war on unions, especially public sector unions. Unions have been in a long membership decline, something that may accelerate as the effects of becoming a Right-to-Work state kick in.</p><p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 13:46:23 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 14206 at http://michiganradio.org Declining unions and Michigan's paycheck blues In this morning's news: High childhood poverty rate, home foreclosure changes, beach quality better http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-high-childhood-poverty-rate-home-foreclosure-changes-beach-quality-better <p><strong>Childhood poverty rate high in Michigan</strong></p><p>This year’s <a href="http://www.mlpp.org/kids-count">Kids Count report</a> from the Michigan League for Public Policy and the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Michigan ranks 31st nationwide for overall child well-being. Michigan League for Public Policy President Gilda Jacobs told Michigan Radio's Jake Neher that state lawmakers should restore Michigan’s tax credits for low-income families and ease restrictions on welfare cash assistance.</p><p><strong>Possible changes in home foreclosure rules</strong></p><p>Legislation in Lansing could change home foreclosure rules in Michigan. Currently, after a foreclosure, homeowners get six months after it gets sold at auction to regain the property. Under the <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/proposed-changes-michigan-s-home-foreclosure-laws-allow-unannounced-inspections">proposed changes</a>, a homeowner would lose that redemption period if the house is damaged. The idea is to stop homeowners going through foreclosure from damaging the home.<br><br>Neeta Delaney, director of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force, told Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith she worries the provision would only make the foreclosure process more contentious.</p><p><strong>Michigan beachgoers lost 755 days of water access</strong></p><p>The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's annual <a href="http://www.deq.state.mi.us/beach/">beach quality report</a> says Michigan beachgoers lost 755 days of water access in 2012 because of pollution. The most common cause for beach closings was the presence of bacteria from human or animal feces. Altogether, 166 beaches were closed for a total of 755 days in 2012. That's down from 913 days&nbsp; in 2011.</p><p> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 11:05:20 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13203 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news: High childhood poverty rate, home foreclosure changes, beach quality better In this morning's news: Lansing debating surplus, hospital merger sacked, carmakers won't shutdown http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-lansing-debating-surplus-hospital-merger-sacked-carmakers-wont-shutdown <p><strong>Policymakers debate how to spend surplus </strong></p><p>The debate continues in Lansing over how the state should spend almost half a billion dollars in unexpected revenue this year. The Michigan League for Public Policy believes that because the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit is less than a third of what it was a couple years ago, legislators should restore the credit for the working poor.</p><p>"A spokesperson for state House Democrats says they support the idea of using some of the money to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit. However, Governor Rick Snyder says a similar tax credit from the federal government does enough to help working poor families in Michigan. He wants to use the extra cash to fix roads," Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports.</p><p><strong>Merger between Beaumont and Henry Ford sacked</strong></p><p>The planned merger between Beaumont and Henry Ford health systems, two of southeast Michigan’s largest health care providers, has been scrapped. The leaders of each hospital signed a letter of intent to merge last fall, but negotiations didn’t work out so well. On Tuesday, Henry Ford CEO Nancy Schlichting sent a letter to employees, indicating they’ll end talks and let the agreement expire.</p><p>“It became apparent that two very different perspectives have emerged for the new organization between Henry Ford and Beaumont,” Schlichting wrote. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/henry-ford-beaumont-health-care-systems-call-mega-merger">more</a>.</p><p><strong>Rising car sales cut plant shutdowns</strong></p><p>Summer vacation will be cut short for auto factory workers in Michigan this year, as carmakers try to keep up with heightened demand. Detroit automakers plan to reduce their annual shutdowns at dozens of North American plants that produce popular Ford and Chrysler models.</p><p>“This sends a strong signal that the industry is in a healthy place,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at market researcher LMC Automotive, told <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130522/AUTO01/305220011/Rising-car-sales-shrink-annual-summer-plant-shutdowns-Detroit-s-Big-Three?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE">The Detroit News</a>.</p><p> Wed, 22 May 2013 11:15:50 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 12675 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news: Lansing debating surplus, hospital merger sacked, carmakers won't shutdown