Education

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The College of Education at Eastern Michigan University is laying off the majority of its full-time lecturers because of falling enrollment. 

That's according to the Ann Arbor News:

The school has issued layoff notices to 10 of its 11 full-time lecturers, effective in August, according to members of lecturers union. (EMU officials say they issued notices to eight lecturers.) Lecturers, many of whom have held their jobs for several years, are upset by the changes and say the layoffs are unnecessary.

Jann Joseph, EMU's dean of education, says the opposite is true.

"We looked at the data. We looked at the enrollment patterns, and we were not convinced that we would have enough teaching loads and classes for all the people who were currently lecturers," she said. "We are just managing at a time of decline."

The MEAP is out, but which standardized test will Michigan's students be taking next year? It's out of the control of educators and students and in the hands of the Michigan Department of Education. At stake? Million-dollar contracts to nonprofits developing and administering the test. State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer has a closer look.

Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr

The Michigan State Board of Education hopes public school funding will be a top priority for voters when they head to the polls in November.

The board on Tuesday kicked off a series of discussions meant to publicly critique the way the state pays for public education. The talks will continue at its monthly meetings until November.

A set of bipartisan bills moving through the state legislature would reshape Michigan’s teacher evaluation system.

Democratic Rep. Adam Zemke from Ann Arbor sponsored Bill 5224. He spoke with All Things Considered host Jennifer White. 

Detroit skyline.
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Getting college students out of their classrooms, out of the "academic bubble" and into communities, giving eager students an opportunity to take what they're learning and put it into practice, and, at the same time, hopefully help their communities certainly seem like a win-win for all sides.

And that's why students from Wayne State University and the University of Michigan are permeating the city of Detroit in many ways, through many programs.

We wanted to see what's been learned by all sides in these partnerships.

Jerry Herron, founding dean of the Honors College at Wayne State and UM professor Larry Gant joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Adam Glanzman

University of Michigan students are holding an all-night event later this month to discuss race on campus.

The event, billed as a "Speak Out," is being organized by the United Coalition for Racial Justice, a student organization consisting of students and faculty members.

The event will build on momentum gained by the university's Black Student Union to make the campus more inclusive and diverse.

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It's called "Mission A2" – short for Michigan Itinerant Shelter System Interdependent  Out of Necessity. This Ann Arbor-based nonprofit is dedicated to building links between homeless and what it calls "homeful" Washtenaw County residents. One of its key activities has been running a series of rotating tent cities for the homeless.

But now, Mission A2 is taking things to a new level. They're partnering to buy land and build a permanent settlement called Homeward Bound, a place for Ann Arbor's homeless to begin the process of rebuilding confidence and their lives.

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There is a two-bill package making its way through the state Legislature that could impact students in every third-grade classroom in Michigan.

It would hold back third-graders who have poor reading skills. If a child fails a third-grade reading exam, he or she does not move along to fourth grade.

Backers say it can help get a struggling student back on track. Critics say flunking that struggling student is a punishment. State Superintendent Mike Flanagan panned the legislation, saying it should be up to local schools and parents.

Amber Arellano is the executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Saginaw school board members will meet again Tuesday to discuss how to deal with the district’s multi-million dollar deficit.

Saginaw school board members have met three times in the past week to hash out a deficit elimination plan.

The most recent proposal called for laying off employees and closing three schools, including Saginaw High School.

Parents and students have attacked the plan and the board for considering it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The rising cost of college textbooks is leading more students to opt out of purchasing them altogether.

A new report suggests many students are missing out on some educational opportunities by not buying textbooks.

Ethan Senack is a higher education associate with the Public Interest Research Group, which wrote the report.

He says the good news is that students are ready for alternatives to the traditional textbook model.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

This week, Governor Rick Snyder made good on his promise to boost preschool spending.

Today he got a chance to talk to some parents, teachers and school administrators in Grand Rapids about the proposal.

About a dozen four-year-olds sat in a circle around Gov. Snyder. He read them "Snowmen at Work," a children’s tale about what snowmen do for a living.

“Are they in school just like you?” Snyder asked the group. 

"Yeah!” they replied in unison.

“You have fun at school?"

"Yeah!”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Saginaw school board has put off a decision on the district’s financial future.   

A few hundred people attended a meeting last night on a controversial plan that includes closing one of the district’s high schools.

“My pressure’s going up just by the thought of Saginaw High closing,” said Saginaw city councilman Norman Braddock, which drew cheers from the audience.

Speaker after speaker berated school district officials for considering a plan that would merge two high schools, close two other schools and lay off many teachers and other school employees.  

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Update: The office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued the following statement to Michigan Radio," After a thorough review of Mr. Sanchez-Ronquillo's case. The agency has granted a one-year Stay of Removal." We are updating our earlier story now. 

Charlie is seven years old, a second-grader at an Ann Arbor elementary school. Over the last week, his picture has been all over facebook. It's also on flyers and email as his church and parents at his school try to organize around his family.

Read the updated story at State of Opportunity.

 

Read or listen to the entire story at State of Opportunity.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Saginaw school board is expected to vote tonight on a deficit elimination plan.

The plan calls for major changes to the district, which is facing a multimillion dollar deficit.

The state education department is threatening to withhold the district’s February state aid payment unless a new deficit elimination plan is submitted by Monday.

Flint Community Schools

There is no doubt that teachers in the Flint Community Schools will be paid through the end of the school year.

That's according to Interim Superintendent Larry Watkins.

Watkins said the state approved the Flint school district's deficit elimination plan today.

The district will get a $2.3 million advance on its state aid payments, and Watkins said the state authorized the district to borrow $3.6 million.

The long road ahead for Detroit education reform

Feb 3, 2014
Brian Widdis

Benchmark: Schools

Ana Rosa Cabrera joined several moms in a classroom at Bennett Elementary for a Zumba session one morning earlier this month. The moms stretched and danced as their instructor, a Spanish-speaking ball of energy dressed in fluorescent greens, directed them in merengue-like maneuvers from a DVD playing on a TV screen.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Open enrollment events are scheduled this week at nine Education Achievement Authority schools in Detroit.

Enrollment is going on for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade with welcome programs set to begin at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Phoenix, Burns and Nolan schools.

Parents can tour the school buildings and classrooms, and meet staff.

Events at the district's six high schools will begin at noon on Thursday.

Michigan’s top education official is panning legislation that would automatically hold back third graders who fail a state reading test.

“You don’t automatically retain kids. That’s just insane,” said state Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This is up to teachers and parents together.”

Flanagan was speaking on the Michigan Public Television program “Off the Record.”

Alberto G. / Creative Commons

The MEAP test has been used to evaluate kids and schools in Michigan for over four and a half decades.

The test is meant to make sure public schools are teaching kids the basics. But MEAP scores affect where parents decide to send their kids, neighborhood housing prices, city tax revenue, and city services.

Basically, the economics of a city rests on how well 8 and 9-year-olds perform on this single test.

State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer spent six weeks inside Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids, a school with consistently low MEAP scores. Dwyer followed a third-grade class as they prepared to take the test. He interviewed students, teachers, and parents, trying to figure out how much these numbers matter. What he found was, the test scores do not even begin to tell the story.

To hear the documentary now and learn more, visit the State of Opportunity website. 

Melissa / anotherlunch.com

For a new State of Opportunity documentary, Dustin Dwyer spent six weeks at Congress Elementary School in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids. Does that conjure images of a fully grown man crammed into a very tiny desk, watching the traffic to the pencil sharpener?

Dustin Dwyer and Kimberly Springer from our State of Opportunity team share "five teasers" about the upcoming documentary on high-stakes testing. The documentary will air (and be online) this Thursday.

Here's one thing that Dwyer will explore in the documentary: How the "bad" label can harm a school in an otherwise wealthy district.

KidsCount

A new report finds the state's poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.

According to the the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low-income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently.

Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the project director for Kids Count Michigan and she joined us today.

Virginia Gordan

More than a dozen Michigan and Washtenaw County government officials listened attentively yesterday while students and recent graduates spoke about their experiences in Washtenaw County high schools.

The event, called YouthSpeak, was one of a series of youth public forums organized around the state by youth service organizations.

Some students said school policies do not take into account the poverty, homelessness, and family issues many students face. They said this has a negative impact on their education.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report finds Michigan’s poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.

According to the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low-income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently. Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the project director for Kids Count Michigan. She says fourth grade is a pivotal age, since that’s where children stop learning to read and start reading to learn.

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The DTE Energy Foundation plans to donate $1 million to the Michigan Science Center in Detroit.

According to their press release, the donation will span a period of five years, specifically funding the science center's STEM educational program (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Today in Tech & Opportunity, State of Opportunity asks educators and parents: what is your school doing to encourage students from all backgrounds to pursue educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This morning, Dr. Mark Schlissel was named the 14th president of the University of Michigan. Dr. Schlissel most recently served as provost of Brown University.

The university Board of Regents appointed Schlissel unanimously.

According to the university’s press release, Schlissel will succeed Mary Sue Coleman on July 1, 2014.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This morning, Dr. Mark Schlissel was named the 14th president of the University of Michigan. Dr. Schlissel most recently served as provost of Brown University.

Schlissel graduated from Princeton University in 1979. He later received his MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. 

The next president of the University of Michigan may be announced later this morning. The Board of Regents has scheduled a special meeting at 10 a. m. to vote on the U of M's next president.

Current U of M President Mary Sue Coleman announced last year her plans to retire in July.

Coleman has led the university for 12 years.

The next president will be the 14th president at the University of Michigan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing school district will continue to operate its own buses next year.

The school board decided Thursday not to go with a private bus company.

Supporters say privatizing the bus service would save the Lansing school district $5 million over the next five years, primarily because the district would not have to replace much of its aging bus fleet.

But school board president Peter Spadafore says now is not the time to privatize the bus service serving thousands of capital city school children.

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