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education

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In Michigan, taxes have been cut for businesses as legislators have reduced money going to municipalities.

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The Next Idea

Recently, I read a story in the LA Times entitled, “'A sea of despair': White Americans without college degrees are dying younger.” It was about a Princeton study on mortality rates. Apparently, all ethnic groups are living longer with the exception of white Americans. The researchers suggest that decades of underemployment have had a damaging effect on the group’s financial and personal decisions, making them an easy target for profiteers and ideologues. The message: You need a college education if you don’t want to die young.

teacher with two students
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More and more teachers are posting their resignation letters online and on social media.

A Google search for "teacher resignation letters" returns over 2.1 million results. 

Some of those letters have gone viral by echoing the frustrations that many teachers have with the state of public education. 

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When I was a child, there was this widespread quaint notion that children ought to attend the public schools where they lived. Except for a few kids that went to Catholic schools, and one who won a scholarship to Cranbrook, everybody did.

Courtesy of Brett Kopf

The Next Idea

Why is it that you can summon an Uber with one click on your smart phone, but if your child is struggling in school, you might not find out for weeks?

test with bubble answers
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The Michigan House has passed bills that would give high school students more class options to complete graduation requirements.

The legislation eliminates some math, science, health and English courses so students can take classes that would better prepare them for careers of their choosing.

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DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Public school advocates are suing to block the state of Michigan from helping private schools with the cost of complying with state requirements such as immunization reporting and safety drills.

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Michigan's average teacher salary has dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to data recently released by the state. Public school teachers are hit the hardest.

David Crim is with the Michigan Education Association. He says salary cuts drive young people away from pursuing education as a career.

"We're losing some of the best and brightest young teachers because they can't afford to pay off student loans while paying the cost of housing, food, and other essentials," Crim said.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Michigan needs to “invest with urgency” in some “high-yield” education strategies, or risk falling even further behind other states.

That’s the gist of a new report from Gov. Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission, which lays out a “blueprint” for that effort.

Those recommendations run the gamut. Among the most prominent or controversial:

kids going to a school bus
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The Trump Administration's move to change immigration and travel policies for seven predominantly Muslim countries prompted Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift to contact the parents in her district.

Mapping the options for kids in failing Detroit schools

Jan 25, 2017
map of Detroit with possible closures marked
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

There are 25 schools in Detroit waiting to hear whether they’ll be closing their doors at the end of the school year.

So, where would all those students end up if those schools did close?

Click on the map to see the nearby options for each possible closure and how they stack up academically.

Courtesy of Aaron Robertson

President Bill Clinton, astronomer Edwin Hubble, singer and actor Kris Kristofferson, ABC journalist and former White House spokesman George Stephanopoulos, Senator Cory Booker and former Senator and basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Bradley.

That's just a shortlist of people who've won the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships. 

Now, you can add Aaron Robertson to that list. 

Robertson was born in Detroit and currently calls Redford Township home. The Princeton undergrad is one of just 32 Americans awarded a 2017 Rhodes scholarship, and he joined Stateside to talk about it.

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On Friday, Michiganders learned that state officials are preparing to shut down as many as 38 under-performing schools in Michigan. Twenty-five of those schools are in Detroit.

What, if anything, could keep the School Reform Office from closing the schools? And how should we, as a state, deal with schools that are turning out unprepared students?

Courtesy of Tashaune Harden

 

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is a long-time Republican donor. DeVos is an advocate of charter schools, school voucher programs, and tax credits for businesses that give private scholarships.

Her likely appointment excites many in Michigan’s charter schools.

But not everyone.

 

Dementia rates are going down. That’s even though dementia risk factors like diabetes are rising. What’s behind the decline in dementia? Dr. Ken Langa, associate director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan, says higher levels of education and better treatment of diseases that lead to dementia could have a lot to do with it.

 

Write Michigan authors take part in a book signing
Kent District Library

The Write Michigan short story contest is the only fiction contest exclusive to Michigan writers.

It's a joint effort of the Kent District Library and Schuler Books in Grand Rapids. The contest is embarking on its fifth year and submissions are up by 200% from last year.

Heidi Nagel from the Kent District Library joined Stateside to talk about the contest.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
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A new state law bans the use of restraint or isolation to discipline students.

  

The law was recommended by a task force looking at reforms in special education. Students with physical or developmental disabilities are more likely to face the use of restraint or seclusion.

  

Advocates for special education students say harsh disciplinary measures have been used by teachers and administrators who did not know how to handle students with disabilities. Calley says the new law shows times are changing.

Rosenbaum told us the state’s assertion that there’s no fundamental right to literacy is “nonsense.”
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On September 13, seven Detroit school children sued state officials.

The suit was filed in federal court in Detroit. It claims that literacy is a fundamental right, and that the state has denied that right by fundamentally excluding Detroit students from the state’s educational system.

Now attorneys for Governor Rick Snyder have fired back. They say there’s no fundamental right to literacy, and this suit is “an attempt to destroy the American tradition of democratic control of schools.”

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We’re 12 days out from Election Day.

Throughout the long months of campaign speeches, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes believes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have missed the mark in addressing an issue that is key to Michigan’s future.

In his column today, he wrote that the candidates and their surrogates are putting out a message that better fits the Carter era than the era of Apple and autonomous vehicles.

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.

Michigan Supreme Court
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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.

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When you hear about the Gates Foundation, the Mott Foundation, or any of the myriad other philanthropic organizations, how do you describe what they do?

Do they give money? Solve problems? Improve conditions?

Is there a downside to throwing money at problems or wielding influence with cash?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The summer tourism season is winding down, but there is concern in the industry that it may not be as profitable as it could have been.

Deanna Richeson is the CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association. She says Michigan’s summer tourism season was strong overall.

But she’s concerned that a growing number school districts are starting classes in August. 

“When we have our school children returning to school prior to Labor Day that will cut into those revenues enjoyed by the tourism industry,” says Richeson.

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Michigan’s School Reform Office has warned failing schools that they could be shut down by next June – more than 100 of them.

Erin Einhorn, editor at Chalkbeat Detroit, published an article breaking down the effects of closing schools with poor testing results, including more than 40 in Detroit.

Using recent state exam scores as their metric, the office will inform each school by the end of 2016 if their doors will close.

Michigan plans steps to close failing schools

Aug 16, 2016
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The Michigan school reform office plans to put chronically low-performing schools on notice that they might be closed by next June.

Natasha Baker is with the state school reform office and she says low performing schools that have improved should be looked at as an example and will stay open. 

"[Improving schools] make the necessary decisions to make sure that their schools can turn around quickly, and I think Michigan would be better off if we looked at those success stories," Baker says.

Baker says getting kids into better schools is the priority.

Detroit Horse Power

The Next Idea

I feel exceedingly fortunate to have grown up with horses as a big part of my childhood. I was brought up in suburban Westchester County, New York, about 20 minutes from prime horse country. I started regular riding lessons and showing when I was about 10. At age 14, I began competing in the Olympic sport of Three Day Eventing -- a horse triathlon that combines dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping. My thoroughbred, Rush, and I worked as a team -- training daily, building a partnership, testing our skills, persevering through disappointments and injuries. Horse people can describe at length the many valuable life lessons we learn from these amazing animals. Those skills and experiences hold the most weight for me as I look back on my international competitions and time spent working for top professionals.

Bryce Huffman

If you pay for something, it should be guaranteed that you'll actually receive it. That's the message Michigan teachers are delivering to Governor Rick Snyder.

Michigan's teachers’ unions are locked in a court battle with the state over a 3% payroll deduction. The money is supposed to fund retiree health care. But teachers say there's no guarantee they'll see those benefits.

American Federation of Teachers Michigan President David Hecker says the state's decision to fight the case is taking money from teachers who earned it. At issue is money withheld from 2010-2012. 

Thomas Phillips presenting his plan for the Aspire Tech Bus at the Hack the Central District Cultural Innovation Conference in Seattle last month.
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The Next Idea

Over and over again, we've heard that tech jobs in Michigan are going unfilled.

We've heard that there just aren't enough students graduating with the tech know-how employers want, and that students in Detroit just don't get many of the same opportunities as kids from other school districts.

Thomas Phillips thinks he's hit on a way to help solve these problems, and he's calling it the Aspire Tech Bus.

The bottom line, Phil Power told me recently, is that our future is all about the schools.

Power isn’t exactly a wild and crazy left-wing radical. He ran for the U.S. Senate once as a moderate Democrat nearly 40 years ago, but lost the primary to a fellow named Carl Levin.


Governor Rick Snyder did something sensible Wednesday – he asked the Michigan Supreme Court for an opinion as to whether it is legal under the Michigan Constitution for the state to use taxpayer dollars to provide aid to private schools.

In a sense, this is actually putting the cart before the horse, in that Snyder signed an education budget last month that includes a two and a half million dollar appropriation for private schools. At the time, he was urged to use his line-item veto to prevent that from happening, but he declined, saying he believed this was legal.

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