WUOMFM

Education

Protestors stand outside Roseville Community Schools building urging the removal of Vice President Alfredo Francesconi
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The vice president of the Roseville Community Schools Board of Education is facing public criticism over racist, Islamaphobic, and transphobic posts on his Facebook page. 

A group of around 20 protestors gathered outside the district's administration building before a school board meeting on Monday night. The protestors moved inside during the meeting and urged the school board to remove Alfredo Francesconi from his position. 

"Black people don't necessarily need choice, they need power," Perry told us. "The reason why black communities' schools are not doing well is because black communities are not doing well."
Flickr user Bart Everson/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Proponents of publicly funded, privately run charter schools hail them as the way to keep public schools and public school teachers "on their toes" by creating competition. 

Here in Michigan we have roughly 145,000 students in more than 300 charter schools, according to Education Trust Midwest.

And a report that group released earlier this year showed that charter school enrollment in the 2014-2015 school year consisted of disproportionately minority and low-income students. 

Betsy DeVos.
BetsyDeVos.com

President-elect Donald Trump has selected longtime school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Department of Education. (Presidential cabinet picks are subject to Senate confirmation. See who Trump has picked for his cabinet so far with WaPo's cabinet tracker.)

Trump’s stance on education policy has, thus far, been difficult to discern. His pick of DeVos indicates how his administration likely sees education policy going forward.

Protesters chalked anti-hate messages outside Royal Oak Middle School, after reported incidents of race-based bullying there.
Alexis Gentile / via Facebook

Some school leaders and parents are wrestling with how to respond to hateful incidents in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

There have been a number of such incidents reported in schools across Michigan since election day.

One happened at Royal Oak Middle School the day after the election, when a  group of students chanted “build the wall” in the cafeteria — an apparent reference to Trump’s pledge to build a wall across the Mexican border.

Alicia Ramon is the mother of the seventh-grade girl who took a video of that incident, which has since gone viral.

A Royal Oak middle schooler who admits to placing a noose is a school bathroom will not be in class Monday.

Royal Oak’s school superintendent released a statement Sunday saying the unidentified student admitted to placing a noose inside the middle school bathroom on Friday.

Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin says the district “will not tolerate intimidation, threats, harassment or bullying.” 

The STEMinista Project is active in Southeast Michigan right now, but Matthews told us it's getting a lot of national attention and she could easily see its reach expanding.
Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

It’s clear that Michigan’s economic future depends on turning out graduates who are strong in STEM skills - science, technology, engineering and math.

Attracting and keeping girls in STEM fields is the mission of The STEMinista Project, founded by Michigan Science Center chief executive officer and president, Dr. Tonya Matthews.

Flickr user jdog90 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit has itself a new school board chosen from a field of 63 candidates. Bridge Magazine reporter Chastity Pratt Dawsey joined Stateside to talk about the seven winners and what’s ahead for them.

From left to right: EAA chancellor Veronica Confirme, DPSCD interim superintendent Alycia Meriweather, DPSCD transition manager Steven Rhodes.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

What remains of the Education Achievement Authority will merge with Detroit’s public schools district, then dissolve next July.

That’s when the EAA, Governor Snyder’s fumbled attempt at a state-run “turnaround district” for the lowest-performing schools, will finally cease to exist.

Making that transition as smooth as possible will be the mission between now and July, according to Detroit Public Schools Community District transition manager Steven Rhodes.

A classroom in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In what used to be a perfect time for a lesson in how government works, the tone of the presidential campaign is creating uncomfortable conversations in many high school classrooms.

With the presidential election focused on the antics, accusations and scandals involving the candidates, some civics instructors say they've faced questions that typically would not be topics of conversation in their classrooms.

And the degrading talk about women and immigrants in the presidential race is making some students uneasy, says biology teacher Frank Burger of Flint Township.

DPSCD Superintendent Alycia Meriweather
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The new Detroit public school district has a new academic plan.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District got a fiscal overhaul after nearly going bankrupt last year.

Now, Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather says it will take a fresh approach to teaching and learning, too.

Showing improvement may not be enough for some Detroit schools as the state plans to close failing schools.
Matt Katzenberger / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The latest list of Michigan's worst-performing schools is due to be released any day now. Under state law, the School Reform Office can close schools that have been mired in the lowest five percent for three straight years. But what of schools that say they've begun to turn things around? Or schools in challenged neighborhoods, whose students started very far behind? What happens to those students if the state shuts down their school?

Erin Einhorn looked at one example of this dilemma in a report for Chalkbeat Detroit. It's a charter school in Detroit called the Michigan Technical Academy and they are asking the state to give them more time.

Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

When racist fliers were found in two buildings on the University of Michigan campus earlier this fall, university officials were quick to respond.

First, President Mark Schlissel called a “community conversation” at which students, faculty, staff, and other community members could express their thoughts and feelings. The following week, the University launched its five-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.

The timing of that launch, however, was largely coincidental: the plan had been under development for more than a year. It quickly received criticism from black student activists for failing to do enough to address specific acts of racism on campus.

 

Today, we hear the president of the University of Michigan respond to racist fliers found on campus. And, we learn how one of the state's lowest-performing schools is improving, and asking the state for more time.

Courtesy of Lauren Ward

Earlier this month, racist flyers were found in two buildings on the University of Michigan campus.

One of the flyers called on "Euro-Americans" to "Be White" and "stop living in fear." Another flyer provided racist reasons why white women should not date black men.

University President Mark Schlissel called a "Community Conversation" meeting to let people express their thoughts and feelings. And he unveiled a university-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan.

Some black student activists are skeptical.

Muskegon Heights High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The financial emergency in Muskegon Heights schools is over. That’s according to Governor Rick Snyder and the emergency manager who’s leaving the district.

Ann Storberg works for Michigan’s treasury department and will serve on a Muskegon Heights schools’ Receivership Transition Advisory Board.

She says Highland Park schools is now the only entity under emergency management.

Holman told us some of the top jobs in Michigan are for CNC operators and welders, but employers are having a hard time filling those positions.
flickr user David Urbonas / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

The message we’ve been hearing in Michigan is pretty consistent: employers are having a hard time filling jobs that pay well – jobs that rely on skills in science, math, technology, arts and engineering.

Chris Holman is leading a push to make mid-Michigan’s capital region a national leader in STEAM education and fields.

Holman is CEO of the Michigan Business Network and the Chair of T3: Teach. Talent. Thrive.

T3 released a report last week regarding the “State of STEAM” in mid-Michigan right now.

It has been a crazy few days for Ryan Griffin, the guy behind the Read-to-a-Barber program we wrote about on the NPR Ed blog last week. He says the phone at The Fuller Cut in Ypsilanti, Mich., has been ringing nonstop since the story ran.

Money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan will spend nearly $100 million to support non-public school students, according to a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The report says the state will spend over $40 million more this year on non-public school students than it did just four years ago.

Click here to read the full report. 

Craig Thiel, a senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council, says the money is largely going to the "shared time" program.

After becoming Lansing's first African-American teacher, Dr. Olivia Letts later became the school district's first African-American principal.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

This week, the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame welcomes its latest group of honorees.

One of the five contemporary honorees who will be inducted on Wednesday night is Dr. Olivia Letts. She was the first African-American teacher hired by the Lansing School District. She started that job in 1951 and from there, Letts spent her life as an advocate for education, community service and civil rights.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a federal class action lawsuit to force fixes to Flint’s problem-plagued school district.

Flint’s public schools struggled even before the city’s lead-tainted tap water threatened to negatively affect the development of its students.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan may soon be making changes to student testing. 

The state's Department of Education is considering adding  a standardized test that would go beyond what's included on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (or M-STEP), which was implemented during the 2014-2015 school year. 

sign saying a high quality school
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The new Detroit Public Schools Community district fell just shy of its budgeted enrollment goal for the year.

The district counted 45,265-45,365 students at the state count day last week. That’s about .5% shy of what the district had budgeted for. 

But coming off a tumultuous year that saw the district almost go bankrupt, district leaders see the numbers as a victory of sorts.

john king talking at library
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint public school district is getting money from the federal government to help address critical needs arising from the city’s water crisis.

U.S. Secretary of Education John King, Jr. was in Flint today to discuss the $480,000 grant.

university of michigan campus
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan wants to improve diversity and inclusion on its campus.

The university announced today it will spend $85 million over the next five years in an effort to do so.

Scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students are a large part of the university's plan. 

Simon Blackley/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

A child's first day of school can be both an exciting and stressful time for a parent, especially for those who are starting out in a new country. The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) has created a program to help immigrants adapt to their new community and prepare their children for school.

Teachers unions and others rallied for more public school funding before classes this morning in Detroit, Kalamazoo and Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Teachers unions held early morning rallies today at schools across Michigan.

Teachers and others took part in so-called ‘walk-in’ events in Detroit, Kalamazoo and Flint. Similar rallies took place in more than 70 cities nationwide. 

Before sunrise, a steady line of buses dropped students off at Flint’s Northwestern High School. As students stepped off buses, they were greeted by people carrying signs calling for more public money for traditional public schools.

grand rapids school administrators at podium
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Leaders of Grand Rapids Public Schools say they’ve gained 160 students this school year, finally reversing a downward trend that’s lasted more than a decade.

The district has lost more than 3,000 students in 10 years. This is the first time since the fall of 2003 that the district gained students over the previous year.

Today we discuss how Count Day, the day when each student in school translates into state dollars for the district, became so important to Michigan schools. And we hear why it's so hard to bike between Windsor and Detroit.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

 

Today is Count Day here in Michigan. That's when every student sitting at his or her desk translates into state dollars for that district.

Across the state, schools are using a variety of tactics to ensure maximum attendance, including robocalls to parents, picture days and prizes for kids who turn up to school.

Michigan Supreme Court
Michigan Supreme Court / court.mi.gov

Private and parochial schools in Michigan will be allowed apply for grants that reimburse them for some state-ordered health and safety programs.

That’s despite a provision in the state constitution that forbids direct or indirect taxpayer support for private or religious schools.

Pages