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education

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll shows most Michigan parents have doubts about the education their children are getting.

Ed Sarpolus, with Target Insyght, says pollsters asked the opinions of 1,000 parents of children in traditional and charter public schools, private schools and home schools. 

He says only 12% say current teaching practices in Michigan are meeting the needs of their children.

“They’re not confident that the methods being taught now do help their children succeed. Not only in class but also in life,” says Sarpolus.

Sarah Kerson / Michigan Radio

Seventeen-year-old Madison Horton is a student at the International Academy of Macomb. She’s also endured multiple surgeries to remove skin cancers.  As a result, sunscreen is a big part of her life.

But Horton says she was surprised to learn other Michigan students are not allowed to apply sunscreen at school.

When she testified last week before the House Education Reform committee, Horton equated sunscreen with Epi-pens, which are allowed.

More than a dozen state senators have sponsored a bill that would eliminate Michigan's income tax by 2022.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Last week I talked about the fact that Michigan is headed for a serious budget crisis that threatens everything from education to foster care to public safety.  

We’ve been cutting state government spending on programs that give people a chance at a better life for years. We’ve been neglecting the vitally important public sector of our economy, which is why so many of our roads and bridges are falling apart.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Later this month, a new report detailing how much it costs to educate students in Michigan will be released.

Nearly a year ago, the governor’s 21st Century Education Commission reported Michigan needs to “invest with urgency” in some “high-yield” education strategies or risk falling behind.

MSU

Researchers at Michigan State University have come up with a way to help "distance learners" get more engaged in the classroom.

More and more students are sitting at home using a computer to connect with teachers and their classmates. But many feel disconnected.  

Christine Greenhow is an MSU associate professor of educational psychology and educational technology. She’s been experimenting with using robots to establish connections between students and instructors.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Krissy Venosdale / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

One of the best ways to help close the education gap for low-income kids is Head Start.

Up to 36,000 children around Michigan, and their families, rely on Head Start for free early childhood education, meals, and support services for parents, all of which are funded by the federal government.

But Chalkbeat Detroit reports  11 Head Start centers in Southwest Detroit are closing by the end of the year. That means some 420 children will have to be transferred to other centers, and 122 employees will be laid off. The affected centers are run by Southwest Solutions, a social service organization.

What happened? And are other Head Start centers in Michigan on shaky ground too?

Howard County Library System Follow / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

The key to a successful future for Michigan includes turning out graduates with skill sets needed to fill the jobs of the future. It also includes increasing access to postsecondary education for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students.

The upcoming Michigan Pre-College and Youth Outreach Conference will explore these challenges, and will focus on the urgency of college access.

Don Harder / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

​Some members of the Legislature want to eliminate the elected Michigan Board of Education. They say the Board of Education has become little more than a debating society. But, if it’s so irrelevant, one has to wonder why those legislators get so worked up about the education board’s actions.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and the former Republican majority leader in the state Senate, along with Vicki Barnett, the former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to discuss the Board of Education.

U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

How do we keep eager young teachers eager? And keep them in the profession?

The future of our children’s education rests on that answer. One big way to keep young teachers working is to prevent burnout.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has approved a plan to give local tax dollars to charter schools. It would require any millage for intermediate school districts to be distributed to both public schools and privately-owned charter schools. Four Republican Senators voted against this, as did all of the Democrats.

As part of its weekly political roundup, Stateside broke down the issue with Ken Sikkema, a senior policy fellow with Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican majority leader, and Vicki Barnett, a former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator.

Obay Dabaja, Allison Vernon and, Keisha Dukes
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Enrollment in teacher preparation programs is down in Michigan. Fewer people are choosing to become teachers. There have also been reports in the last few years that some of the state’s newest teachers aren’t sticking around.

Three new teachers sat down with Stateside’s Lester Graham to discuss the challenges, and rewards, of teaching in Michigan.

Courtesy of Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There are 100,000 unfilled jobs right now in Michigan.

Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, said this is due to a career awareness gap rather than a talent gap in the state.

Defer Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Park.
Appraiser / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Grosse Pointe Public Schools has some of the strictest residency rules in the state. The district has never participated in schools of choice, and aggressively pursues and expels students who are improperly enrolled from outside of the district.

Students' families must bring five original documents, in person, to the school office during business hours. Those documents include identification, proof of home ownership or rental, utility bills, and proof of car insurance. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Don’t let the opening days of another school year, or another Michigan win at the Big House, fool you: public education in this state is in steep decline.

Out of the 50 states, Michigan ranks 37th in eighth-grade math and 41st in fourth-grade reading, says the nonpartisan Public Sector Consultants. Strip out the state’s lowest-income students, and fourth-grade reading slips to 48th.

scot graden in front of michigan radio sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We wanted to hear from a school district that is working to find new and innovative ways to educate students.

For the past four years, the Saline Area Schools have been ramping up toward a program that worries more about producing students who can think, reason, and communicate than producing students who simply do well on standardized tests.

Association for Advancing Automation

 

The economy that today’s students will soon enter is rapidly changing. That’s the reality that fueled the creation of a recent report from Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan think tank. The report outlines major issues and suggestions for how to help graduates thrive in a new economy that requires adapting to changing technology throughout their careers.

Patrick Cooney, a policy associate at Michigan Future, Inc., joined Stateside to discuss the report’s contents.

Child reading
User Melanie / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We got the latest results from our statewide education tests earlier this week, and here are the highlights — without the jargon. Johnny mostly can’t read as well as he should, and neither can Susie, although she’s doing a little better. Both are doing a little better in math than last year, but not nearly as well as they should.

kids in classroom
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There’s remarkably broad agreement across the political spectrum about something: There is a deep crisis in education in Michigan - and nationally --at virtually all levels.

Tomorrow, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will release a new report on skyrocketing college tuition, something that makes higher education less and less affordable in an era when education beyond high school is more necessary.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos being shown factory equipment
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Traditional four-year universities aren't the only path to higher education and good jobs. That was the message today from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

DeVos met with Grand Rapids Community College students and faculty as a part of a nationwide tour to see different approaches to higher education. The visit was focused on apprenticeships and the need for skilled trades workers. 

stevendepolo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We reported last week that a Detroit area charter school used state money to pay its bondholders instead of its teachers.

Many employees at Michigan Technical Academy spread their paychecks out over the year, but late last month, the charter school's board had to divert those summer paychecks to creditors. 

tables in a classroom
Frank Juarez / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit's public school teachers have approved a three-year contract that includes a roughly 7 percent wage increase over the next two years.

The contract with the Detroit Public Schools Community District was approved by teachers on Thursday. It includes a 3 percent increase in year one and a 4.13 percent increase in year two. 

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

Michigan will no longer rank schools based on test scores. The state is working on a new accountability system as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the new federal education law that goes into effect this coming school year.

ESSA replaces the controversial No Child Left Behind education law, which evaluated schools solely on proficiency (i.e. test scores) and went into effect in 2002. 

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Court of Claims is not one of the highest-profile judicial bodies in the country, or even our state. It handles civil actions filed against the state and its various departments and agencies.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

The number of Michigan kids who attend virtual schools has exploded in the past eight years. But a new study suggests those students aren’t keeping pace with their peers.

In the 2009-2010 school year, there were just two virtual schools in Michigan that enrolled fewer than 1,000 students. Today, there are 66 online schools with enrollment just shy of 14,000 kids.

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