Jack Kevorkian's papers donated to U-M library

Oct 14, 2015
The University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library

The papers of the controversial Dr. Jack Kevorkian are now open to the public at the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library.

The collection was donated by Ava Janus, niece of the widely known assisted suicide advocate, and it includes recordings of his consultations with patients seeking to end their lives.

"Kevorkian is probably the best-recognized face of the right-to-die movement," said Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry.

There are still so many questions.

On Wednesday, Leonard Seawood released a statement about his resignation as superintendent of Benton Harbor Area Schools.

State's new e-textbooks get harsh words from critics

Oct 13, 2015
Apple with books
Creative Commons

The first set of online textbooks released under Michigan's Open Book Project is drawing criticism from some educators and experts.

The social studies e-textbooks were commissioned under a grant from the Michigan Department of Education.

F. Delventhal / flickr creative commons

Professors at Eastern Michigan University want a bigger say and more openness in the selection of the university's next president.

In an October 7 letter, the EMU Faculty Senate urged the EMU Board of Regents to amend the search process to give the faculty a primary role and to hold open public forums for the final candidates. 

In the classroom.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Michigan education officials are moving ahead with plans to improve teacher evaluations statewide.

That’s as the state House nears a possible vote this week to overhaul the way districts assess teachers and administrators.

State Superintendent Brian Whiston says his department can’t wait around while lawmakers debate the bill.

Courtesy of MC4ME

The Next Idea

There is a lot of pressure in schools these days.

From the early grades through high school, students take tests and then more tests and shuffle from one extracurricular activity to the next, all while many are also trying to navigate instability at home.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are new concerns about lead in the water in Flint schools.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tested the water in 13 Flint schools. 

MDEQ director Dan Wyant says tests at four schools came in above the federal action level for lead (15 parts per billion).

Brittany Bartkowiak / Michigan Radio

We spent our evening in Kalamazoo October 6, 2015 talking college affordability and access with our State of Opportunity team and a panel of special guests.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan’s President made his first appearance at the Detroit Economic Club Tuesday.

Mark Schlissel addressed the promise of “big data,” the importance of increasing student diversity, and his efforts to tamp down the school’s sometimes “exuberant party culture.”

Schlissel said university data shows that much—though not all—of that party culture stems from Greek life on campus.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons

The public comment period is winding down for proposed new state science and social studies standards. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) will hold three public meetings on the standards this week.

MDE has already held several other meetings across the state on the standards.

Karen Stintz - Flickr Creative Commons -

Fifth-grade students at Muskegon Middle School will begin receiving drug- and gang-resistance training in November.

The Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T) program aims to deter students from participating in destructive behaviors before they start.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school officials expect they will fall 300 students below their target on this week’s count day.

The district had budgeted for 5,700 students. But Superintendent Bilal Tawwab expects the number will be closer to 5,400.

He says that may force the district to make more hard choices.

Henrico Prins / flickr

A charter high school in west Michigan now has two airplanes for students to use to learn to fly.

A contribution from the Delta Air Lines Foundation allowed the school to buy a Cessna 172.

“My first flight was actually in the new plane. 

user alkruse24 / Flickr

This story was updated with additional information at 2:42 pm on 10/1/15

State and local officials may be close to a deal to create a new K-14 school system in Highland Park.

A number of community colleges are interested in bankrolling much of the revamped system, according to people involved in the talks.

The Association of American Universities today announced the appointment of Mary Sue Coleman, former president of the University of Michigan, as its new president, effective June 1, 2016.

Coleman will succeed Hunter R. Rawlings III, who has served as president since June 2011. Rawlings informed the AAU board of directors in May that he would retire from AAU next May.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder says plans to overhaul Detroit’s education system should get moving in Lansing soon.

It’s not clear exactly what will be in those bills.

But in the past, Snyder has floated a bankruptcy-style plan for the debt-ridden Detroit Public Schools.

Cristian Bernal /

Students at Hastings High School have submitted a petition with 304 signatures asking to be allowed to display the Confederate battle flag on school grounds.

A small group of students initiated display of the flag, which they did not understand to be widely perceived as a symbol of racial hatred. 

Phil Dowsing Creative / Flickr

The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that alleges the state and the struggling Highland Park school district are failing in their legal obligation to adequately educate students.

The so-called “right-to-read” lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A bipartisan bill meant to strengthen reading skills by the third grade has cleared a state House committee.

New language in House Bill 4822 encourages schools to adopt summer reading camps for students who fall behind.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Our state used to boast a pretty strong education system, but just about any measurement given these days suggests that’s no longer true.

Case in point: the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nation’s report card, finds Michigan is in the bottom third of all states in fourth grade reading, fourth grade math and eighth grade math.

Representation of a chart that shows how Michigan is one of only six states with negative improvement for early literacy since 2003.
See full charts here -

The state's new schools superintendent Brian Whiston started a series of discussions seeking ideas to make Michigan a “Top 10” education state within 10 years.

Just about every measurement shows that all groups of Michigan students – black, white, poor, rich – are losing ground academically compared to their peers in other states.

Wikimedia Commons

  Nearly 1 in 4 college women experience some form of sexual assault, according to a new survey from the Association of American Universities.

The survey polled 150,000 students at 27 schools, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

And what’s interesting is that this survey indicates that sexual assault on campus may be even more prevalent than other, widely-cited studies suggest – for instance, the White House’s “Not Alone” campaign says 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college.

University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

A new poll shows disagreement among parents about what exactly constitutes cyberbullying.

The University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health asked hundreds of parents of children between 13 and 17 years old about cyberbullying.   

The poll found agreement that children bullying other children online is wrong. But agreement was more elusive on what exactly qualifies as cyberbullying and what’s the best response.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan school district is ending a program that put grandparents in the classroom.

  Grandparents for years got a small payment for volunteering to help Saginaw teachers and students. Elease Watson tells WNEM-TV  that sometimes a simple hug can change a kid's day.

  But Superintendent Nate McClain says the district can't use certain grants to pay for the program. He says the money is reserved for instruction.

Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools is in even bigger financial trouble than previously thought, according to a state report filed this week.

In its June 2015 quarterly report on school district deficits, the Michigan Department of Education pegged DPS’s annual budget deficit at $166,359,414.

Jake Neher / MPRN

There’s a deep divide at the state Capitol over plans to rescue Detroit Public Schools.

The governor hopes to sell lawmakers on a plan to restructure DPS and have the state pay off its massive debt. He says state-appointed emergency managers drove up that debt.

Jeremy Brooks / flickr

If some Democrats in Lansing get their way, all high school sex education classes would teach that “yes means yes” when it comes to sex.

The legislation says anything short of a conscious “yes” does not count as consent to sex.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan has agreed to erase the findings of a sexual assault investigation against Drew Sterrett, a former student. In exchange, Sterrett will drop a lawsuit he filed against the university.

Sterrett’s case has made him kind of a poster boy for critics who feel universities are overcorrecting on college rape, with a lawsuit that details all kinds of alleged flaws in the school’s investigation process – like failing to include evidence from a roommate who was present while the sexual incident occurred.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Aspiring college students will be able to apply for federal financial aid three months earlier than now and submit a previous year's tax return, changes aimed at helping more people pay for school, the White House said.

Under the current system, students planning to start school in the fall of 2017 must wait until January of that year to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The new system will let them complete the form as early as October 2016, the month that marks the traditional start to the college application season.


A bill to improve third graders’ reading skills in Michigan is winning support from Democrats and some school groups.

The bipartisan bill differs quite a bit from controversial legislation that died last year. That bill would have forced schools to prevent kids who fail a state reading test from advancing to the fourth grade.