1:58 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

College dorms opening at campuses around Michigan

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Get out the laundry carts: students are returning to college dorms.

More than 7,000 freshmen at Michigan State University begin moving in Sunday while other students check in Monday. Classes start Wednesday in East Lansing.

In Marquette, classes start Monday at Northern Michigan University. Wayne State University in Detroit is welcoming freshmen on Saturday, with sophomore, juniors and seniors following on Sunday.

5:50 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Teacher turnover is harming students, what can be done to keep them in the profession?

Research has found that nearly 50% of new teachers leave within five years.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

An interview with Randi Stanulis, an associate professor of education at Michigan State University.

It's late August, and parents are taking their kids on back-to-school shopping trips. There are conversations and speculation about teacher assignments, and in some cases, questions about whether teachers will be returning in the fall.

When teachers leave a school, it hits students hard. A researcher from the University of Michigan and his colleagues studied data over an each year period and found teacher turnover harms student learning, especially in math and English.

A study by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future estimates that teachers dropping out of the profession cost the nation around $7 billion a year.

Trying to keep teachers in the classroom and in the profession is Randi Stanulis’s mission. She is an associate professor of education at Michigan State University and she directs a teacher mentoring program that some say could ultimately serve as a national model.

Randi Stanulis joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

6:02 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

State data shows turnaround at consistently low performing high school in Grand Rapids

Union High School students get ready to head back to school at park parties organized by the district.
Union Red Hawks facebook page GRPS

The Grand Rapids Public School District is making strides in turning around some of its lowest performing schools. That’s according to new data released by the state Tuesday.

Ron Gorman is the Executive Director of High Schools and Alternative Education at GRPS. He works with all of Grand Rapids high schools, many of which have problems meeting state standards.

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7:29 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Detroit Public Schools looks to boost enrollment with door-to-door initiative, "community schools"

DPS Emergency manager Jack Martin, right, talks with a Detroit resident.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager was out knocking on doors Friday.

Jack Martin canvassed the neighborhood near Thurgood Marshall elementary school—his own alma mater--in an ongoing effort to boost the district’s enrollment.

Martin says the only way to “sustain” the district—still burdened with a $76 million deficit after more than 5 years of emergency financial managers-- is to lure more Detroit students back to traditional public schools.

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3:41 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Flint schools to modify search policy


The Flint School District is changing its student search policy.

Flint students will still have to walk through metal detectors when school begins next month.

But the American Civil Liberties Union objected to the district's plan to allow students and their backpacks or purses to be searched without cause.

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12:19 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

No more 7th hour tuition fees for Ann Arbor high schools

Wikimedia Commons

The Ann Arbor Board of Education voted to remove the $100 tuition it planned to charge students wanting to take a seventh hour class at Huron and Pioneer High Schools this year.

Glenn Nelson is the treasurer of the Ann Arbor Board of Education and was the first to suggest the tuition-based seventh hour program.

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5:30 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

How should Michigan teachers be evaluated?

The Highland Park school district is almost out of cash. The state is working on a solution to keep kids in school.
user alkruse24 Flickr

An interview with Jake Neher.

There are several complicated questions surrounding teacher evaluations in Michigan. Should there be a state standard for evaluating teachers? What should that evaluation encompass? Should teacher pay be pegged to the evaluation, the pay for performance system?

The Michigan council for educator effectiveness spent nearly 2 years and $6 million on a pilot program in 13 districts, and they’ve now come out with a recommendation for a new statewide teacher evaluation tool.

Jake Neher is the Lansing reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:46 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Recommendations for state-wide teacher evaluations have been issued

user kconnors morgueFile

An interview with Jennifer Hammond and Robert Stephenson.

How should the job performance of Michigan teachers be evaluated? What should the standard be? Should there be a state-wide common standard used to evaluate teachers?

Those were some of the key questions tackled by the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness. The temporary body recently came out with its recommendations for a new statewide teacher evaluation tool.

The Council is recommending that by 2015-16, half of a teacher’s evaluation should be based on classroom practices and the other half on student growth as determined by scores on tests.

The panel also is recommending that a teacher be dismissed after two years of ineffective ratings.

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1:14 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Ann Arbor Public School brings back 154 teachers, 79 still laid off

A classroom.
User Motown31 Creative Commons

154 laid-off teachers in Ann Arbor have been asked to return in the fall.

Earlier in May, 233 Ann Arbor Public School teachers were given pink slips, after the district faced a $8.7 million budget deficit for the 2013-14 academic year.

Now, 154 of those 233 teachers have been recalled -- 109 were invited back on July 19 and 45 more on July 26. But as’s Danielle Arndt reported, the district isn’t saying just yet what’s happening with the other 79 who haven’t been recalled:

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5:09 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Report card: Detroit schools improving, still work to do

Detroit Redeemer High School

A coalition of education, philanthropic and civic groups has released its annual score card for Detroit's schools. 

Excellent Schools Detroit evaluated more than 200 K-12 schools in the city of Detroit. Giving them a letter grade, schools earning a C+ or better were recommended as excellent schools. Twenty-five percent, or 51 schools, received this grade.

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4:29 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

ACLU files lawsuit against Ann Arbor schools tuition plan

A parent expresses her concern over a fee for seventh hour at the Ann Arbor School Board meeting earlier this summer.
Credit Alana Holland, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Earlier this summer, some students at Ann Arbor high schools were told they would have to pay for their optional last class of the day.

Many students take music, art, drama, or additional academics during an optional seventh hour. Starting in the fall, the school district plans to charge students $100 for the seventh period class.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan is challenging that plan in court.

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Newsmaker Interview
4:41 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Community forum set for parents and students near Saginaw

Saginaw Intermediate School District

The Buena Vista School District, located in the eastern area of greater Saginaw was dissolved on July 30th after struggling with insolvency. Its students will move to one of three surrounding school districts this fall.

Dr. Richard Syrek is superintendent of  Saginaw Intermediate School District, the group in charge of the redistricting process. He says right now the biggest task is making the transition as smooth as possible.

“That means the registration. That means the busing. That means what school they will go to. And the other issue that is very important to the parents is having a means to go into the new school and meet the principle, see the building and the rooms, so there is some idea of what the new building looks like.”

On Tuesday, August 13th Saginaw Intermediate School District will hold a community forum from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Buena Vista High School. Parents and students are invited to meet with representatives from Saginaw, Bridgeport-Spaulding and Frankenmuth school districts.

3:28 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Catherine Ferguson Academy to open as independent charter

CFA principal Asenath Andrews addresses a crowd of supporters when the school was saved from closure in 2011.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Catherine Ferguson Academy, a Detroit school for pregnant teens and their children, will open under a new charter this fall.

CFA was run by Detroit Public Schools until 2011. Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy and Wayne RESA  took over the school when it was at risk of being shut down. Blanche Kelso operates mostly strict-discipline schools for students who have been expelled. 

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7:29 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Pontiac schools edge closer to getting an emergency manager

Pontiac Middle School. Pontiac School District

A state review team has determined the Pontiac school district is saddled with so much debt it’s in a financial crisis.

Now it’s up to Governor Rick Snyder to decide whether he agrees with that determination.

The state-appointed board found the school district’s debt has continued to grow over the past five years and it’s now almost $38 million dollars in the red with no credible plan to dig out. The district has missed paying some critical bills, including employee health insurance premiums.

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12:57 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Ann Arbor school board members face recall election

The 2013 Ann Arbor Board of Education, with former superintendent Patricia Green. Green retired this April.
Ann Arbor Public Schools

Six Ann Arbor Board of Education members are defending themselves Thursday afternoon, after recall language was brought against them earlier this month.

The recall was put into motion by the Ann Arbor Public Schools Parents for Change, led by Jody Huhn, who had been pushing the district to look locally for the district’s superintendent.

From’s Danielle Arndt:


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7:00 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Lake County's "promise" to make college affordable for low-income families

Lake County offers up to $20,000 for four years of college to all high school graduates in the district
user: Tax Credits flickr

College is expensive. For some families, it’s prohibitively expensive. Several school districts are trying to follow the Kalamazoo Promise model by offering students money to help cover tuition costs. Jennifer Guerra with our State of Opportunity project introduces us to one such "promise" in rural northern Michigan's Lake County.

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4:48 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Districts surrounding dissolved Inkster, Buena Vista, prepare for influx of students

New school district boundaries, to absorb Inkster
Wayne RESA

Updated, 9:40 p.m.  The Board of the Saginaw Intermediate School District has voted to dissolve Buena Vista Public Schools, and redraw nearby district boundaries to absorb its students.  Students will be accepted by the Frankenmuth, Saginaw and Bridgeport-Spaulding districts. 

Inkster Public Schools no longer exists - and Buena Vista School District will soon join its fate.

A state law aimed at swiftly addressing the two districts' financial problems required their immediate dissolution.

Wayne County RESA Superintendent Chris Wygant says he disagrees with the state legislature's decision to draft the law in such a way that it included Inkster.  He says an emergency manager appointment would have sufficed.

"But now we're trying to shift our thinking from all that adult stuff into what's really best for these children."

Wygant's agency dissolved the Inkster district last week, and redrew the boundaries of surrounding districts in order to absorb its roughly 1700 students, who will attend either Westwood, Wayne-Westland,  Romulus or Taylor school districts.

The Saginaw Intermediate School District will vote to eliminate the Buena Vista School District on Tuesday. 

"Transportation is a major issue, as we try to equalize as best we can," says Saginaw ISD Superintendent Richard Syrek. 

He says two of the biggest districts that will likely absorb many of Buena Vista's students are a long bus ride away.

6:03 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Detroit teacher faces controversial termination by the EAA

Brooke Harris was fired from her teaching position by the EAA
Credit Support for teacher Brooke Harris Facebook Page

One year ago, Brooke Harris made headlines when she was fired from her teaching job in Flint for helping students create a fundraiser for the family of Trayvon Martin.

Now, Harris is in trouble with another employer.

Earlier this month, she was fired from her teaching position at Detroit's Mumford High School. That's one of the schools under the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). It's a new state-run district that oversees the lowest-performing schools in Detroit.

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4:24 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Another Michigan school district will be dissolved this week

Students and parents of the Buena Vista school district embrace during a school board meeting earlier this year
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Buena Vista schools will become the second district to be permanently dissolved under a new state law this week.

After Buena Vista shut down without warning in May, state legislators decided they needed an additional tool to deal with fiscal emergencies besides the emergency manager law.

The new law requires financially troubled districts to prove they have enough money to make it through an entire school year. If not, they can be dissolved. That happened to Inkster's school district last week.

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1:55 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Albion & Marshall high school students will be building relationships this weekend

Albion High School closed at the end of the last school year, due to budget cuts
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

About 250 Albion and Marshall high school students will spend the weekend getting to know one another.

The students are attending a weekend long ‘symposium’ at Albion college.

More than a hundred Albion students will be attending Marshall High School this fall.

Albion school officials decided to close their high school in a budget cutting move.

Jerri-Lynn Williams-Harper is Albion’s school superintendent. She says this weekend will help build relationships between the two student bodies.

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