The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder rolled out his plan today to overhaul education in Detroit and get Detroit Public Schools out of the deep, deep hole it’s in now.

DPS is reportedly the worst-performing urban school district in the country, with years of falling enrollment and $2 billion in crippling debt.

What is Governor Snyder's plan for Detroit schools?

Apr 23, 2015
flickr user Motown31 /

We’re starting to hear early reports about Governor Snyder’s plan for restructuring public education in Detroit. The school landscape there is very fractured right now, with a combination of traditional public schools, charters, and the Education Achievement Authority.

Mika Chang (left) with her sisters Bea, Kallia, Shannon and her nephew, Vincent.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

When we talk about immigrant communities in Detroit, the Hmong don’t usually come up in that conversation. The ethnic group from Southeast Asia began settling in Northeast Detroit’s Osborn neighborhood in the years after the Vietnam War. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly 800,000 Michigan students are scheduled to take a new standardized test this month. But some parents may opt their kids out of the test.

The new Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, is replacing the old MEAP test.  Third through 8th grade students will take the M-STEP exam beginning next week.  Roughly 80% of the students will take the test online. 

But some groups oppose the new test and its ties to Common Core standards.  They are encouraging parents to pull their children from the testing.

We will pay for our lack of respect for teachers

Apr 2, 2015
Courtesy of TeachingWorks

The Next Idea

Teaching matters. We know that it can make the difference between a child learning to read by third grade, being confident in math, and developing the mindset necessary for success. Yet skillful teaching is not commonplace, and it’s hurting our society. Three reasons stand out:

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

All this week we’re talking about teacher training.

But there’s one thing that’s almost impossible to teach students in college: how to manage a classroom.

The chambers inside Michigan's Capitol.
user CedarBendDrive, ae1106, and Lester Graham / Flickr/Michigan Radio

Jeff Salisbury asked us this question as part of our M I Curious news experiment. It's where you ask a question, questions are put to a vote, and we investigate the question with the most votes. 

flickr user Ben W

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren released its recommendations for fixing the fractured system of educating Detroit's kids.

The 36-member panel of community leaders spent three months studying the many problems in Detroit's schools.

Auburn Elementary

In many undergraduate education programs, students spend a lot of time in the university classroom to prepare them for their student teaching in the final year. 

Until that placement, theory sometimes has little chance to meet up with practice.

We already know what it takes to train great teachers

Mar 30, 2015
Flickr/BES Photo

The Next Idea

Just a couple of years ago, a colleague of mine – a woman who has taught for over 25 years – broke down in front of me after school one day and cried her eyes out.

She felt like she was failing her students, not because of her inability as a teacher, but because “the system” has increasingly made it impossible for her to meet their needs. 

user Wonderlane / Flickr

There's wide agreement among education experts that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor in how students do in school.

Here's what you remember your teachers saying to you

Mar 30, 2015

The Teachable Moment Project collected remembrances from you of the teachers in your life.

By intentionally leaving “memorable words” open to your interpretation, we heard from you about teachers who inspired you, as well as teachers who derailed dreams.

Christina Lumpkin at home with her daughter, Maya and grandson, Jahari.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

Think about most of the news stories you read about kids in Detroit. What comes to mind?

Something about dysfunctional schools? Maybe a crime story?

When’s the last time you felt like a story transported you into the life of a family? Where you really got to know a child? Where you felt what it might be like to be a parent raising kids there?

Virtually everyone who doesn’t have a political reason to pretend otherwise would agree that the Detroit public schools are a dreadful failure.

More than three-quarters of its students have fled the district in the last 14 years. Test scores remain appallingly low, and a succession of emergency managers has failed to stabilize the finances. Most children in the district now go to charters, private schools or schools in the suburbs, a clear vote of no confidence by Detroit parents.


The Next Idea

For more than a century and a half, our education system has been designed around a model that prioritizes the standard delivery of instructional content and persistently focuses on what should be “covered."  This model may have served the needs of public education through the first half of the 20th century, but not today.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says Michigan needs to spend more money on adult education if it wants to meet the need for skilled workers.

As Michigan’s economy grows, there is a greater need for skilled laborers.

Karen Holcomb-Merrill with the Michigan League for Public Policy says Michiganders with limited K-12 educations need help getting the basic skills they need to fill those jobs.

Robin Deits

The Next Idea

The success of Michigan’s future economy will rely on more of our children engaging with science and technology. Their personal futures will depend on it too.

Empty desks in a classroom.
Matt Katzenberger / Flickr

Most people in a Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll would give Michigan a "C" when it comes to the state's education system.

Six-hundred likely voters in Michigan were polled from February 2 through February 5, 2015. Thirty-five percent gave Michigan's school system an A or a B - 49% gave Michigan a C, D, or an F (16% were unsure or didn't offer an answer).

Flickr/Brian Flickinger

The Next Idea

Technological innovation alone doesn’t improve education. We often assume that the latest gadgets and software will change everything — that they will make things easier and better and solve larger problems. The truth is that technology is just one aspect in a larger web of cultural issues, and new breakthroughs by themselves will not have a broad effect on overall learning.

Michigan's Capitol.
Graham Davis / flickr

The state of Michigan is facing a revenue shortfall, and cuts will have to be made, but one state senator says education is not on the chopping block.

More from the Associated Press:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many school districts around Michigan own buildings they are not using. 

A state lawmaker wants to make sure those buildings don’t fall to the wrecking ball if another educational institution wants to buy them. 

Last week, the Saginaw Board of Education voted not to accept a multi-million dollar offer from a local charter school for a building the district was trying to sell. The board then voted to use state funds to tear the building down.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers are making third-graders' reading proficiency a significant focus this year.

  They have unspecified plans to improve kids' literacy long before they're 8 or 9 years old. But it remains unclear how far policymakers will go to deal with students who still aren't reading well enough by the end of third grade.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren is pushing hard to publish a set of recommendations for improving Detroit schools by the end of March.

The group is gathering feedback from community and key leaders over a 90-day period to find solutions for a district hit hard by a dwindling population, and a fractured school landscape.

Thetoad / Flickr -

State Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Twp.,  plans to introduce a bill next week requiring high school graduates to pass the same citizenship test immigrants take. Students would need to score 60% or higher on the test to receive their diplomas. Lucido says that he hopes the exam will encourage participation and increase voter turnout for elections. If passed, the law would be in effect for the 2016-17 school year.

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

The odds are stacked against the more than 20,000 young people who age out of foster care each year. Nearly half drop out of high school, and those who make it to college rarely graduate.

Maddy Day, the director of outreach and training at the Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University, and Chris Harris, director of the Seita Scholars Program at Western, joined us to discuss how their programs are helping young people get into and graduate from college.

Michigan recently increased the time spent on mandatory testing for eleventh graders, in some cases requiring eight partial days of testing. Educators across the country are concerned about the growing number of tests kids must take and how the time spent on them detracts from actual learning. But if you cut back on standardized tests, what can we do to gauge student learning and, in turn, teacher effectiveness?

Focus on STEM overshadows importance of music education

Jan 5, 2015

The Next Idea

When we talk about building an education system that prepares children for the creative thinking and collaboration skills necessary in today’s -- and tomorrow’s --  job market, there’s an amazing resource here in Michigan that, like most places, gets almost criminally overlooked: music educators.

moare / Morguefile

Federal law guarantees that children with disabilities have equal access to education. But what that actually looks like for Michigan kids very much depends upon where you live.

An investigation by Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project and Bridge Magazine has turned up disparities in the way schools choose which students should be in special education and the actual level of those services. Sarah Alvarez with State of Opportunity joined us, along with Bridge Magazine writer Ron French.

*Listen to Alvarez and French above

School Bus
Nicolae Gerasim / Flickr

The American Academy of Pediatrics says teens need to sleep later. The Academy is challenging America’s schools to not start high school classes until at least 8:30 a.m.

A long board.
user DieselDemon / Flickr

When I took wood shop in high school, the project was a step stool. I know. Not very exciting.

To get high school students more excited about woodworking and to get them more active, an industrial arts teacher and a gym teacher got together and came up with a new kind of class. Kids can make their own longboard skateboard, surfboard, snowboard, or skis.

The class at Forest Hills Eastern High School in Grand Rapids is called Gone Boarding.