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Education

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?

“Let’s go make this legal.  Let’s go sign this bill,” Gov. Rick Snyder told a crowd of dignitaries gathered at Kettering University in Flint last week.

The governor was in Flint to sign an expansion of Michigan’s ‘Promise Zone’ law.   The legislation expands the number of Michigan communities that can provide special ‘promise zone’ college scholarship programs from 10 to 15.

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

There are new guidelines for boosting early childhood development efforts in Detroit, and they come with a $50 million investment.

“Hope Starts Here: Detroit’s Community Framework for Brighter Futures” emerged from a year’s worth of planning efforts.

It has a variety of suggested strategies, some more concrete than others. But one thing is concrete: it comes with a $50 million pledge from the Michigan-based Kresge and Kellogg Foundations.

Antonio Espree
Mercedes Mejia

Some 11,500 new students just began classes this fall at Arizona State University.

For one of those students, it's something he once never dreamed would happen.

That's because Antonio Espree is one of Michigan's 363 juvenile lifers. Thirty years ago, when he was 16, Espree was arrested for killing a man. When he was 17, he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

But thanks to a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings that declared mandatory life-without-parole sentences for teens under 18 unconstitutional, Antonio Espree was released this past spring, and he is now a student at Arizona State.

All photos courtesy of the LTBB Odawa Repatriation, Archives, and Records

You have probably heard the phrase “school of choice” used when describing public education options in Michigan, but what about a “school of no choice?” That was the case for many native Michiganders for over a century.

PICTURES OF MONEY / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in a long legal battle between the state and a large group of public school employee unions.

Courtesy of Jeanane Charara / Michigan Science Center

The Next Idea

If you're a certain age, you probably remember watching educational films in science class on a noisy projector.

Ken Lund / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Almost three-fourths of the University of Michigan community is satisfied that the campus climate allows them to thrive and to feel like they belong. But not all groups see it that way.

That's according to surveys, released this week by the U of M, of 8,500 students, faculty and staff at the Ann Arbor campus.  

The surveys show that women and under-represented minorities are less satisfied with their experiences on campus than traditionally majority groups. That's also true of people with disabilities, members of the LGBT communities, and first generation students.

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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.

Charlotte Mandziuk
Nicole Mandziuk

Charlotte Mandziuk is spreading kindness on the playground. She's a fifth-grader at Maltby Intermediate School in Brighton, and by taking careful note of hurtful things that can happen during recess, she came up with a way to include everyone in the recess activities.

The result: Recess K.L.U.B., which stands for Kindness and Leadership Uniting Buddies.

Empty classroom
Brad Wilson / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

What happens to a school's biggest so-called troublemakers when they get lengthy suspensions or are kicked out altogether? Where can they go?

One place is Lighthouse Academy in Kent County. It's mission statement: "Creating hope through academic success in spite of life's storms."

Brighton expands school therapy dog program

Oct 27, 2017
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Brighton’s school district is the first in Michigan to buy its own therapy dogs for classrooms. The investment pays big dividends in student behavior and achievement. The district has plans to buy even more dogs.

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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.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Enrollment in Detroit Public Schools Community District is up for the first time in 15 years. The recent fall count is 50,100 students, up ten percent from last year's 45,500. 

According to Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, this year saw the lowest departure of students to charter schools in four years, with fewer students leaving for surrounding districts and more returning. 

Vitti said enrollment is one of the most important indicators of the health of a school district.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Thursday morning, the state House Education Reform Committee takes up a bill that would channel tax money raised by county school districts to charter schools.

Is ketchup a vegetable again? Today on Stateside, the "Rebel Lunch Lady" discusses politics and health of school lunches. And, we learn about the bill that would give charter schools a cut of millage revenue.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

“There ought to be a law.” It’s easier said than done.

The truth is that making policy is an incredibly complex process. For each bill there are multiple stakeholders, and they all demand different things from the outcome.

Teachers can illustrate that complexity for their students through role-playing simulations around policymaking, but even simulations can be too much for one instructor to organize.

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There’s a bill going through the state legislature right now that would require traditional public schools to share money raised by regional enhancement millages with charters.

Senate Bill 0574 was passed by the Senate last week after it was introduced by Representative David Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, in September.

The bill has caused a lot of controversy and complicated the ongoing debate about charter schools in Michigan.

So what would the bill change, and how would it affect schools?

Today on Stateside, we sit down with three teachers to learn what it's really like to be a new educator in Michigan. The author of a new book explains why teams that lack diversity do worse when it comes to solving big business problems. Also today, we hear what's in the state's new "plain English" draft fixes to the "dumb and dangerous" lead rule.

Will Folsom / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Legislature is looking to create five new “Promise Zones.” Those are special cities and communities that provide free college tuition for high school graduates.

The bill was originally intended to make Flint a Promise Zone, but a committee decided to bring the state’s total of Promise Zones up from 10 to 15.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich is from Flint, which will likely apply for Promise Zone status. He said this would give the people of his city hope and a reason to stay after the water crisis.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has been through its first count day of the school year. It’s an important day, because the number of kids in attendance helps determine the amount of money the district receives from the state.

Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD’s new superintendent, joined Stateside to report how the day went in Detroit and to explain what the district is doing amidst teacher shortages and other challenges.

bathroom sign with man and woman symbol
AMBOO / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

People in Grass Lake, in Jackson County, are arguing about their school district’s decision to allow a transgender boy in elementary school to use the boys’ restroom.

The district has plans to build privacy stalls around urinals in school buildings.

Supporters and opponents of the policy, including people who don’t live in Grass Lake, have been showing up at school board meetings even when the issue isn’t on the agenda. 

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

Some lawmakers in Lansing are debating whether the State Board of Education is necessary.

The resolution discussed at Thursday’s House education committee would do away with the state board, the board-appointed state superintendent, and the State Board for Public Community and Junior Colleges.

Instead, the governor would appoint a director for Michigan’s Department of Education.

battlecreekcvb / flickr

Battle Creek Public Schools has balanced its budget for the first time in ten years.

Superintendent Kim Carter says the district sold two under-capacity school buildings, outsourced bussing, and sold its buses.  

Selling the schools also meant the district could reduce some administrative and support staff who worked in those buildings.  Carter says they avoided direct cuts to classes and teaching staff.

Morgan Brenner / Flickr

A bill in the state Legislature would change how schools teach sex education. The new curriculum would focus on “changing the culture” around sexual assault.

“Under the current system, my daughter will be taught where not to walk, what not to wear, where not to leave her drink, while my sons will never be taught not to be perpetrators,” said bill sponsor, state Senator Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing.

Protest banner in "funeral march" for public education
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Critics of U.S. Secretary of education Betsy DeVos held what they called a funeral march for public education today in Grand Rapids.

DeVos, a Grand Rapids native, has been criticized for supporting school choice, and most recently for rescinding Obama-era sexual assault guidelines for college campuses.

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

The Grand Rapids Public School District could lose more than a million dollars due to a drop in enrollment.

Michigan schools are funded based on the number of students – or per pupil funded. So, fewer students mean less money for the district.

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Today (10/4)  is Count Day. For school districts in Michigan, it’s crucially important to have as many enrolled kids sitting in their seats as possible. That’s because this is one of the two days during the school year when attendance determines how much state aid schools will get.

There’s much work to do in boosting attendance, not just on Count Day.  A recent report from Johns Hopkins University finds Michigan's chronic student absence rate of 18-percent is well above the national average of 13-percent.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University study finds pre-school teachers need better training in science and math.

Researchers studied 67 Head Start classrooms for children between three and five years old. They found pre-school teachers focused primarily on literacy.

The MSU researchers say 99% of preschool teachers engaged in literacy instruction three to four times a week. However, they found teachers spent less time on math (75%) and far less on science (42%). 

creative commons

Enrollment in Michigan K -12 schools will likely fall more than 9 percent by the year 2025, compared to the year 2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of  U.S. Department of Education.

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