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Education

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Woodley Wonder Works / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last year, a survey of more than 11,000 Michigan teachers revealed that a lot of teachers are unhappy with some aspects of their job. Michigan's two biggest teachers’ unions conducted the survey.

Stateside talked to two schoolteachers in California who used to live and teach in Michigan. We asked them to reflect on some of the challenges they faced when they were educators in this state.

Jeff Bohl, principal of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, joined Stateside to respond to some of their comments, and to give us more insight as to why so many teachers are frustrated.

University of Michigan

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel says the school is in good shape for the next century.

Speaking Monday at the Detroit Economic Club to celebrate U-M’s bicentennial, Schlissel addressed topics ranging from its research budget and financial aid, to sexual harassment policies and a pending on-campus speaking request from well-known white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

What's happening with the state's poorest performing schools?

The upcoming holiday break kind of marks the half-way point in the school year.

That's especially important for the 37 Michigan schools fighting for their lives.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new early childhood education center in Flint is intended to help children exposed to the worst of the city’s lead-tainted water.

“These nook areas are going to be further developed to be interactive,” Educare Flint Director Denise Smith said as she led a tour of the new $15 million facility.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Michigan lawmakers this week may discuss changes to a law that prevents school districts from having a say on what happens to former school buildings.

A charter school operator wants to turn a former Detroit public school building into a new school. But there’s a problem: a deed restriction on the property says they can’t. 

The district no longer owns the school, but the deed restriction gave it control over the future use of the building. 

April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

In May of 2016, residents of Albion voted to have their school district annexed by neighboring Marshall.

This week, Michigan Radio examined the impact the annexation has had on students, families, and the community in the three-part series, UN/DIVIDED.

In case you missed it, check out a summary of the series here:

Courtesy of Sheryl Mitchell

On the first day of school, more than 100 men lined up outside of Harrington Elementary in Albion, Michigan.

They were all dressed to the nines. Most had on dress shirts and ties, some were wearing three-piece suits, and a few veterans were dressed up in their military garb.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A coalition of Detroit leaders is calling for major improvements in the city’s schools.

Today, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren outlined six goals, including decreasing absenteeism, improving third grade reading scores, and fully funding special education.

In Albion, school choice led to school closures

Dec 5, 2017
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

In May of last year, residents of Albion stepped into the voting booth. 

On their ballots, they saw this question:

"Shall Albion Public Schools be annexed to Marshall Public Schools to be effective July 1, 2016?"

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
User alkruse24 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan lawmakers are closer to exempting police officers from rules governing how unruly students can be handled in school.

State law requires public schools adopt policies on using seclusion and restraint and special training for school staff. 

However, State Representative Daniela Garcia says school resource officers, who are local police officers, should be exempt from those rules.

Wanda Kemp and her son, Zy’Airh, a third grader at Harrington Elementary School.
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

The past few years have brought change after change for students in Albion, Michigan.

Today on Stateside, the Lansing State Journal's executive editor explains the front-page editorial that calls on Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University, to resign over her handling of sexual assault and harassment problems. And, the former vice chairman of General Motors explains what he believes self-driving cars will mean for Detroit's future. Also today, we give you the first installment of our series UN/DIVIDED, a look Marshall's takeover of Albion schools and what it's meant for families.

Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

A new analysis has found that Michigan's schools are extremely segregated.

Jennifer Chambers and Christine MacDonald with the Detroit News report that the Associated Press analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics enrollment data from the 2014-2015 school year.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major state newspaper is calling for the president of Michigan State University to resign or be fired.

cover of the book
The New Press


Think back to grade school. Remember that one kid who was always disrupting the class? The one who talked out of turn, cracked jokes, and was always getting sent to the principal’s office. In other words, the class troublemaker.

Well, it's exactly those kind of kids who are the subjects of the new book Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School. Author Carla Shalaby, a research specialist at the University of Michigan School of Education, spoke with Stateside about the book.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers grilled Detroit’s school superintendent for not moving faster to implement new policies to grading school performance and merit pay for teachers.

Dr. Nikolai Vitti told the House Education Reform Committee he’s had other priorities, as he tries to fix the problem-plagued district.  

During one exchange, Vitti responded to Saginaw lawmaker Tim Kelly, who pressed Vitti on why Detroit has not moved faster on accountability standards.

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved the state of Michigan’s plan to meet new federal education standards.

Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 to replace the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.  The new law gives states more authority in overseeing public schools.  

Michigan originally submitted its proposal in April. The state’s most recent revisions to the plan were filed two weeks ago. 

Michigan’s plan includes less student testing, focuses on student academic growth and gives schools more flexibility.

Courtesy of Matinga Ragatz

The long-held image of a teacher standing in front of a classroom holding a piece of chalk or a dry-erase marker has to die, so says teacher Matinga Ragatz​. 

Ragatz was Michigan Teacher of the Year in 2011 and earlier this year, she was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. Now, as a consultant, she's working to help teachers innovate and rethink their roles in the classroom.

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
User alkruse24 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When it comes to paying for special education, Michigan comes up short. By about $700 million. That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.      

Calley previously instructed a subcommittee on the Special Education Reform Task Force to explore the funding needs for special education. 

Today on Stateside, we discuss the sexual harassment claims about long-time Detroit Democratic Congressman John Conyers. Among other things, the Congressman is alleged to have used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint made by a female staffer. And, a professor argues Eastern Michigan University's deal to boost online classes dilutes the value of degrees.

USER F DELVENTHAL / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Colleges and universities are seeking ways to reach more students, and bring in more money.

One way to do that is to hire an outside company to market and support online programs. That company recruits students for online degrees branded with the name of that university.

2017 Traverse City Children's Book Festival
Jim Barnes / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan is one of the 15 states plus the District of Columbia to have a Third-Grade Reading Retention Law.

Starting in 2020, a third-grader who doesn't meet a certain reading proficiency level will have to repeat that grade.

In response, schools are preparing for a potential surge in English Language Learner (ELL) students who may be held back because of the law.

Today on Stateside, the president of Kalamazoo College explains why it's baffling to him that Congress would try to impose a "tax on knowledge." And, we learn how a third-grade reading law could hold back 70 percent of English language learners.

D Borz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Congress is now considering two different tax reform bills, with pressure from the president to get a final version on his desk before year's end.

Universities and colleges are worried that both the House and Senate tax plans could threaten higher education. Of special concern: a proposed 1.4-percent excise tax on wealthy private college endowments.

Courtesy of Tim Herd

Recently the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a report that found Michigan’s African-American kids are struggling in school.

There’s a nationwide disparity between the education kids of color and white kids receive. If kids of color end up at a predominantly white college, it’s not clear they will get the resources and support they need.

Ann Arbor's Skyline High School. Ann Arbor Public Schools has been on the state's "significant disproportionality" list for over-suspending black students for five years, but says it's taken aggressive steps to correct that disparity.
Wikimedia Commons

Twelve Michigan school districts made the state’s 2017 list of schools that disproportionately suspend students of color.

The Michigan Department of Education puts out an annual “significant disproportionality list” in three areas: student discipline, students with identified disabilities, and educational environment.

Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

When a child who has grown up speaking Spanish comes to school, that student is going to be sitting in English-only classrooms, being mainstreamed into the English language and culture.

How does this English-all-the-time approach affect those students?

Michigan to launch a new online school evaluation tool

Nov 16, 2017
Lead Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

In early January, the public will have a new online resource to vet and compare public schools.  

The so-called "school transparency dashboard" will have information about every school in Michigan. That includes things like graduation rates, test results, student/teacher ratios, advanced coursework, post-secondary school enrollment, and disciplinary data. 

According to Chris Janzer of the Michigan Department of Education, parents are a key audience.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Eastern Michigan University's faculty unions are running ads to try to stop an online degree initiative.

The university has a contract with Academic Partnerships, a for-profit company, to recruit students for online degrees. AP gets 50% of the tuition for the students it enrolls in EMU online degree courses.

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Some of the state’s major education entities can’t come to a consensus about recent gun legislation.

The bills would, among other things, let people who get a special license carry a concealed weapon into schools.

Brian Whiston is the state superintendent. He says the Department of Education is okay with the bills, but says they need to get rid of the requirement that all schools allow concealed carry.

“In some communities it’s kind of natural," he said. "In some communities it’s not. By allowing the local districts to opt in and out is something we would support.”

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