Education

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

There is a high school in Macomb County that has grabbed the attention of educators across the country.

Three years ago, Clintondale High School became the very first in the country to be a "flipped school."

Kids watch teachers' lectures at home as much as they want or need, and class time is when teachers are there to help with what we would otherwise call "homework."

One education expert says maybe online is controversial, but the flipped classroom is a new strategy nearly everyone agrees on. It can be a very good thing for students and teachers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report out this morning warns that many young Michigan children may not be developing the cognitive skills they’ll need as adults.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation says only about one in three children 8 years old and younger have developed the necessary learning and problem solving skills they’ll need as adults.

Poverty is one obstacle.

About half of Michigan’s one million children 8 years and younger live in households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.

“Sadly, too many children, especially those in high-poverty neighborhoods, lack access to opportunities to ensure their healthy development,’’ said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, director of the Kids Count in Michigan project at the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The Michigan League for Public Policy says the report shows the need for more support for programs to help low income parents and early education.

The governor’s office issued a statement noting an expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program for disadvantaged 4-year-olds.

“It’s one of the best investments we can make. Research shows early childhood programs are a key to future success in school and life,” the statement read in part, “We want to see every child reading by third grade.”

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A state House panel could vote this week on a bill that would require schools to hold back 3rd graders who do not pass a state reading test.

Supporters of House Bill 5111 cite what’s known as “social promotion” – or allowing students to move to the next grade regardless of whether they have learned all the necessary material. They say students learn to read from grades one-through-three. After that, they’re reading to learn.  

kconnors / Morgue File

Legislation that would assign letter grades to schools based on student performance could move forward this week in Lansing.

The Michigan Department of Education recently released its new school accountability system, which uses color-codes to rate schools. But many state lawmakers say that system is too confusing for most parents and educators.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is reporting a 14 percent increase in enrollment for students in grades 9-12. Overall enrollment is still down by two percent, but that's a smaller decrease than previous years.

According to numbers collected by the district on count day, nine of DPS's 19  high schools saw an increase in students.

DPS launched an enrollment campaign over the summer in an effort to meet projections included in the district's budget. Despite enrollment increases in some high schools, DPS still didn't meet those goals.

Mercedes Mejia

This week, Zak Rosen with State of Opportunity reported on the school-to-prison pipeline. It's known to be pattern seen across the country of students being pushed out of school and into the criminal justice system.

In Rosen's report we learned about Youth Voice, a student lead community organizing group that’s working to break the school-to-prison pipeline and revise Zero Tolerance policies. Today we talk with Chanel Kitchen, a member of Youth Voice.

To learn more about Youth Voice you can visit their Facebook page here

Listen to the full interview with Chanel Kitchen, just click on the link above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University study suggests a Catholic school education might not be better than a public schools education.

Todd Elder is an MSU economist. He says it's true that test scores for Catholic school students are better than for public school students. But Elder says that gap is wider in Kindergarten than it is in the eighth grade.

Last month, the Michigan House Democrats School Reform Task Force unveiled a new proposal that would require the State Department of Education to determine the actual cost of educating a public school student in Michigan.

That got us wondering: do we really not know how much it costs to educate a student in our state? And if so, why not?

Michael Addonizio is a professor of education at Wayne State University, and he joined us in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Ever wanted to learn Ojibwe? Well, there’s an app for that.

The Ojibwe, also known as Anishinaabe people, make up one of the largest groups of Native Americans in the United States, with many living here in Michigan.

Darrick Baxter, president of Ogoki Learning Systems, helped design this free app that could go a long way towards keeping the Ojibwe language alive. 

Here's a video showing how the app works:

Listen to full interview above. 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Over at our State of Opportunity website, we've been on Gap Watch: achievement gaps, literacy gaps, technology gaps, gender gaps, etc.

Our latest documentary continues the trend.

It's called The Education Gap.

I hung out in two very different 5th grade classrooms over the course of a month and a half.

Detroit taxpayers foot big bill for closed schools

Oct 27, 2013
Flickr user/Dave-a-roni (Dark Spot Photography)

Detroit property owners face a quarter century of payments for construction and renovation of school buildings that no longer operate.

The Detroit Free Press says that 110 buildings covered by $2.1 billion in bond issues in 1994 and 2009 are either empty or demolished.

MDoE

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's new color-coded school accountability system is already up for an overhaul just two months after its debut.

Some lawmakers say schools should get A-F grades just like students do, so parents and others can easily understand performance.

user clear_image@sbcglobal.net / Flickr

This week, Wayne State University announced plans that change what it means to be an "in-state" student at WSU.

Beginning in January, residents from Ontario or any of the other Great Lake states — Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — will now be eligible for in-state tuition prices at the Detroit-based university.

Or, at least, close to in-state tuition prices.

Under the new scheme, accepted undergraduate students from either the Canadian province or the neighboring states will now be offered the same lower tuition rate offered to Michigan residents — with an additional 10% tax added onto the reduced sticker price.

In short, these students may now save more than $11,000 a semester.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Every time we see still another story about school violence, we ask the same question: why wasn’t anyone able to stop it?

With still more school violence in the news this week, three Michigan school districts are splitting a $2 million grant to spot and treat mental illness in students.

Saginaw, Houghton Lake and Detroit’s Education Achievement Authority are getting this aid specifically because they're struggling with student mental health or safety issues, according to state and local data.

Morguefile

A new report said Michigan eighth graders perform in the middle of the pack in math, and better in science, compared with students in other countries. 

Bob Geier is associate director of the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University.  He says students in Michigan and most other states lag behind the top-performing countries.

Flickr

He wants them to have more options when it comes to meeting the algebra II graduation requirement.

“I’m not in favor of changing the requirement for algebra II,” Snyder said at a workforce training conference. “I’m in favor of making it as tangible as possible for people.”

The governor says learning the principles of algebra II is often easier as part of a program in robotics or vocational training.

TheToad / Flickr

The state Legislature is a step closer to reinstating funding for a new set of school standards.  Earlier this year, lawmakers barred Michigan education officials from spending money to implement the Common Core State Standards.

Today, the state Senate passed a resolution that would continue the funding under certain conditions.

“School districts all around the state have implemented Common Core or have been in the implementation stages … of implementing something that was agreed to and supported by the Board of Education, I think, in 2010,” said state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe). “So it’s been around for three years.”

Among other things, the resolution says the standards cannot dictate curriculum to local schools.

“That’s something, I believe, needs to be addressed in the longer-term in a more forceful action by the Legislature, along with the governor, to ensure that Michigan is in charge of its own destiny,” said state Sen. John Moolenaar (R-Midland), one of the opponents of Common Core.

The resolution would allow state education officials to continue support for local schools that are already implementing Common Core.

The state House could give the measure final approval as early as next week. Superintendent Mike Flanagan has already told education officials to resume work on Common Core.

user Laura4Smith / Flickr

For State of Opportunity, reporter Zak Rosen explored how childhood trauma can lead to health problems later in life. 

In his story, he asks you to imagine this:

"Try to imagine this.  It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Beautiful day. 

You’re hiking alone in the forest.  And then you hear some rustling leaves behind you. 

Your heart begins to pound.  You turn around to see a huge, snarling bear, staring directly at you. 

In this moment, your body is releasing a ton of hormones that will help you either fight the bear or run away. 

This is the body’s natural fight or flight response at work.

“If this happens once in a very long time, then that makes a lot of sense.  It’s life saving and it’s this big activation in your system,” says Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician and the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco.  

But what if that bear is an abusive parent?"

Listen to the story here

wmich.edu

To parents who are seeking the best education for their children, it's a whole new world out there and it can be a confusing one. No longer is it an automatic choice to send your child to the public school in your neighborhood.

Today, there are charter schools. There are online classes. And, the subject of our discussion today: online K-12 charter schools.

Gary Miron is a professor of education at Western Michigan University. He recently co-authored a major piece, along with Jessica L. Urschel, for the National Education Policy Center. Its title: Understanding and Improving Full-time Virtual Schools---A Study of Student Characteristics, School Finance, and School Performance in Schools Operated by K12 Inc.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

When you send your child off to school every day, you entrust the safety of your child to those who run that school.

So, when a new report from the group Save the Children revealed that Michigan is among four states that do not require K-12 schools to have emergency plans for multiple hazards, we wanted to learn more.

Even more, the study found more than half the states and D.C. don’t require schools or day care centers to meet minimum standards to protect children during major emergencies.

Are Michigan schoolchildren adequately protected? What more can and should be done to keep them as safe as possible?

Listen to the full interview above. 

user alkruse24 / Flickr

There is one thing that seems pretty clear about those of you who are Stateside listeners. Education matters to you! Whenever we talk about education, about our children, you are “all ears.”

Tomorrow at this time, you will not want to miss a powerful documentary produced by Jennifer Guerra for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project. It’s called “The Education Gap.”

Jen Guerra joined us today to give us a preview.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/MIchigan Radio

Michigan’s largest teachers’ union is being accused of trying to intimidate teachers who wanted to leave the union.

Earlier this month, the Michigan Education Association announced 99% of its members decided to stay in the union, despite Michigan’s new Right-To-Work law.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

This fall, Bridge Magazine is taking a close look at the challenges Michigan faces as we try to improve our education system.

The starting point for all of this is where Michigan students stand as compared to students across America, and then how students in the U.S. compare to other nations.

American students rank 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in Math, which puts us behind students in countries such as Poland and Slovenia.

As for Michigan, we're somewhere in the middle of the U.S. 'pack.' Education week ranked Michigan's K-12 education system 24th. And the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam found Michigan kids are 39th in 4th-grade math and 30th in 8th Grade reading.

This begs the question: how well are students in Michigan prepared for the good education that is needed to enter the middle class?

Bridge Magazine Senior Writer Ron French is seeking the answer in his series of special reports for Bridge Magazine. He joined us today to tell us more.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Researchers at Michigan State University say video-based teaching could help teens with autism learn social skills so they can live more independently.

Earlier studies have shown that many people with autism pay closer attention when they're getting information from innovative technology.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan says its financial position is looking pretty good, with a three-quarter-billion-dollar increase in its net worth in the latest year.

The university's financial report released last week shows that the Ann Arbor school's net holdings stand at $11.5 billion. That's up $730 million from a year earlier.

The report says the school's investments have done well in a decade that includes the nation's worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Affirmations, an LGBT community center in Ferndale, has launched an alternative high school program with the Michigan Educational Partnership.

The program is geared toward students who have dropped out or are having a hard time in school, often due to harassment or bullying that is common for LGBT students.

user BES Photos / Flickr

If you were a teacher, what would you do if a second grader won’t quiet down during story time? What if a third grader wants to go home sick, but she’s not actually sick?  What if one of your students hits one of his classmates?  How would you handle that?

Zak Rosen is spending the year at the Boggs School in Detroit. In this piece for State of Opportunity, he explores how the school uses discipline in constructive and meaningful ways.

The former emergency manager of two Michigan school districts is moving onto help Pontiac schools.

Donald Weatherspoon was the emergency manager of the Highland Park and Muskegon Heights schools.

Now, he’s a consent agreement consultant for the Pontiac schools. The Pontiac school board chose to enter a consent agreement after a state review found the district was in "fiscal stress."

Sarah Kerson / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan are developing a formal partnership. Union officials say this is not a merger, but rather a collaboration between the two  organizations.

The MEA and AFT-Michigan represent about 185,000 education employees in the state combined.

AFT-Michigan President David Hecker says the partnership will allow the unions to strategize together on their common goals.

user frank juarez / Flickr

Lawmakers in the state Senate hope to move forward this week on a plan to fund the implementation of new school standards.

Republican leaders in the Senate had hoped to introduce a resolution last week to fund the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. But Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) says it was a good idea to wait because there were so many concerns that had to be addressed.

“I want people to have a good look at it and hear from some other experts before we do anything,” said Richardville. “It’s always on our radar screen because it’s an important issue. We’re not going to let that one drag out forever.

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