Education

GOP / gophouse.org

A state lawmaker wants to ban school exams that require students’ personal information other than their name and student identification number.

Republican state Representative Tim Kelly’s bill would also ban collecting biometric data — like students’ heart rates and eye movements.

“There’s kind of some creepy aspects to some of the technology that’s being introduced today,” Kelly said. “And this is kind of an effort to ward against some of the things that may or may not be the best thing for students.”

University of Michigan

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and her husband, Dr. Kenneth Coleman, announced today they will give their employer one million dollars to help undergraduate and graduate students study and travel abroad.

Coleman says she spent three months studying throughout Europe as an undergraduate student, and her husband, Kenneth Coleman, traveled to Latin America as a graduate student.

She says her experience "changed my outlook about myself and what I wanted to do with my life. We want to help students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to experience what we did as students. It may be a semester abroad, international service projects, internships, or situations we've yet to imagine."

Coleman made the announcement at her “leadership breakfast,” at which she traditionally sums up the progress made by the University of Michigan, and the challenges it faces.

She’s the University's first female president and will retire next year.

Coleman has traveled to China, Ghana, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Brazil during the 11 years she has served as U of M president.

In November, she will lead a faculty group to India.

She says the next fundraising campaign for the university will seek to raise one billion dollars to fund scholarships and grants, to help students afford tuition at the state's largest public university.

Wikimedia Commons

What does the future hold for public universities?

A recent report from Moody's suggests the future is very uncertain for public universities: enrollment is flat, revenue is stagnant, and expenses grew nearly twice as fast as inflation.

Are public colleges on a "path to economic oblivion," as the Chronicle of Higher Education puts it? And how are Michigan's public colleges and universities faring?

Dan Hurley grew up and was educated in Michigan. Today he is with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he's the Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis. He joined us today from Washington.

Listen to the full interview above.

U-School

What if you could build a pre-school from the ground up?

What if you could take the things that seem to work well -- take out what doesn't -- and build-in new ideas after listening to your community?

That's exactly what my next guest is doing.

Ryan Brown wants to re-imagine what early childhood education looks like and feels like.

He's doing it with the "U School," which is opening next June in Ann Arbor.

And what's happening in these weeks before the U-School opens is worth looking at.

Brown is the co-founder, executive director, and a classroom teacher at the U-School, and he joined us today.

Listen to the interview above.

Sarah Huelett

Think back to when you were a kid, and how much time you spent playing outside. Maybe you wandered the neighborhood until the streetlights came on. Or built tree forts. Or explored a nearby field, or creek, or woods.

Now, think about the kids on your block – or in your house – and how much time you see them exploring the neighborhood. Without their cell phones.

Some advocates of unstructured outdoor play say far too few kids are doing that these days. They have a name for it: “nature deficit disorder,” and point to a growing body of research that links too much indoor time with problems including obesity, attention deficit disorder, and depression.

State of Opportunity checked in on one Grand Rapids school where kids don't just play outside, they learn from and in the natural environment. Read the rest of the story or listen in at State of Opportunity.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A record number of Michigan schools are struggling to stay in the black.

So far, the headlines have focused on the fiscal problems of some of the state’s more populated counties.

A new state law allows state officials to dissolve and consolidate small schools with big problems.

Teresa Mathew / The Michigan Daily

It was a gift — with a capital "G."

Real estate developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross made big headlines last month with an eye-popping $200-million gift to the University of Michigan.

The donation is earmarked for the university's athletic department and the business school that already bears the name of Stephen Ross from an earlier gift of $113 million.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Tomorrow is count day for Michigan's public schools.

The more students a school has in attendance on count day, the more money they get from the state.

It's a make or break day for Detroit Public Schools.

After months of sales pitches, finding out how many students enrolled

The district has spent months trying to recruit kids away from charter schools and private academies.

user BES Photos / Flickr

The start of the new school year has brought unpleasant and unwelcome surprises for the parents of Michigan children with special needs.

That's because the federal sequester has hit special education, in the words of our next guest, "like a ton of bricks."

A new round of special ed cuts were forced by a 5% reduction in federal funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and now parents and special education students are seeing what that means.

With some 6.5 million disabled children from ages 3 to 21 getting services funded by the IDEA, this is something being felt across the country.

Marcie Lipsitt is the co-chair of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education. As the mother of a son with special needs, she has been a state and national advocate for disabled children. She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state House has voted to reinstate funding for the Common Core state school standards.

More than 40 other states have chosen to adopt the standards, which set yearly expectations for what students should learn at every grade level in math and language arts.

But earlier this year, Michigan lawmakers temporarily barred the state from spending money to implement Common Core. A legislative panel was formed to study the issue over the summer, and its chair, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp.) crafted a resolution based on more than 17 hours of public testimony.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

You might have heard about the Common Core education standards and maybe a bit about the fuss over these new standards. We wanted to get a little more information about what’s going on.

We talked to Michael Brickman, the national policy director at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education policy think tank. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State lawmakers have been debating the Common Core State Standards for months. The nationwide school standards lay out specific things that students should know after each grade level. The goal is to set expectations for students no matter where they live in the United States.

But opponents say Common Core would strip local control of school curriculum and could compromise the security of students’ personal information through data collection.

Now, the state House Education Committee is set to take up House Concurrent Resolution 11 Thursday morning.

jdurham / mourgeFile

When was the last time you got a hand-written note in the mail?

When was the last time you wrote a note in cursive?

The recently approved Common Core standards don't include a requirement to teach children cursive. That’s prompted a question. Do we need cursive or is it merely an antiquated writing style that’s not all that useful anymore?

Gerry Conti is a neuroscientist and occupational therapist and an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Frankie Rau and Emily Riley can tell you all about their own school's educational philosophy, but don't know much about the common core. Their school has has little trouble implementing the standards thus far.
Sarah Alvarez

As early as today state lawmakers may revisit the Common Core State Standards. In the spring, Michigan’s Board of Education adopted the standards, but until now the legislature, concerned primarily, although not exclusively about local control, made it impossible for the state to spend any money implementing the Common Core.

Schools all over Michigan have already begun implementing the standards, and state funds for implementation are unlikely to help struggling districts buy the materials they need to align their curriculums and prepare students to be tested on the Common Core.

State of Opportunity has the full story of two rural schools implementing the Common Core and having different experiences with the new standards.

 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking closer to a federal government shutdown.

Spokespeople for several Michigan universities say they're waiting to see what kind of an effect a federal government shutdown may have on their institutions.

Michigan’s universities and colleges get hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government every year.

But it’s unclear how much, if any, of that money will actually be held up if the government does shut down.  

This spring the President of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman, announced she is leaving that post .

The U of M Board of Regents appointed a Presidential Search Advisory Committee this summer and this time it does not include a student.

Matt Nolan is an attorney and the director of Dow Corning’s Political Action Committee. He is the former Michigan Student Assembly president.  And he sat on the search advisory committee that chose Coleman to be President.

In fact, most searches for president of a major university includes a student representative.

The seven people on the Committee are faculty members, although some of them also hold administrative positions.  What are they going to be missing that a student might notice during a search like this?

Listen to the interview above to hear the answer.

Terra Molengraff / The Michigan Daily

Wayne State University will begin charging in-state tuition to undocumented students. The decision is part of a policy change that now ties tuition to students' high school diplomas, instead of their residency status.

Students who went to a Michigan high school for at least three years and graduated are now eligible for in-state tuition. Students who got their GED in Michigan are also eligible for in-state tuition.

Provost Margaret Winters says the change is good for all students.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

On average, students under the state’s first fully privatized public school district are learning at a faster rate than under the old system. That’s according to data released Monday night by the charter company running the Muskegon Heights district.

Muskegon Heights schools’ emergency manager set up the charter system in the summer of 2012, when the existing district couldn’t afford to open. Highland Park Public Schools is under a similar arrangement.

Wikimedia Commons

Wayne State University is giving up more than $500,000 in state aid, because this year's tuition hike exceeded a limit set by state lawmakers. 

Tuition at Wayne State went up 8.9% this fall. That's more than the 3.75% cap set by the legislature.

A Wayne State spokesman says the tuition hike was necessary to offset years of declining state aid to the university. Matt Lockwood says state funding to the university has decreased by 28% since 2002.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

ANN ARBOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan has agreed to sell 51 acres of vacant land to NSF International for $3.5 million.

The school's eight-member board of regents unanimously approved the sale during a meeting this past week.

The Ann Arbor News reports officials expect to close the sale by the end of October.

The site is in Washtenaw County's Ann Arbor Township. The university plans to retain mineral rights in the sale and to have first opportunity to buy the property if NSF decides to sell.

pontiac.k12.mi.us / Pontiac School District

Pontiac’s Board of Education approved a consent agreement with the state, in an attempt to avoid a financial manager appointment.

According to the Associated Press, there were four options on the table for the struggling school district, which runs a $38-million deficit:

1. The district could accept a consent agreement with the state.

2. An emergency manager could be appointed.

splorp / Flickr

Today we're asking you and our in-studio guests, "What would it take to give all kids in Michigan a quality education?"

Our conversation starts with a look at how educational opportunities vary throughout the state and find out how we got here.

We've fielded your advance questions and comments, but we'll also have plenty of room for your calls (phone 866-255-2762) and tweets (@StateofOpp). You can also post to the State of Opportunity Facebook page

Wikimedia Commons

The new fall semester at the University of Michigan is bringing significant change.

Earlier this summer, the U of M Board of Regents said “yes” to offering in-state tuition to undocumented students as long as they meet certain criteria. All military will be allowed to pay in-state tuition, active, reserve, and honorably discharged, as well.

The vote was watched closely by advocates for young people who were brought into this country as undocumented immigrants. On such advocate is Serena Davila. Davila is the Executive Director for Legislative Affairs for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. Cyndy Canty, host of Stateside, spoke with Davila about the change in tuition.

Listen to the full interview above.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Some 16,000 four-year-olds across Michigan might not have been able to find spots in a high-quality preschool program if it weren’t for a major expansion, paid for by taxpayers. 

Those 16,000 seats got filled in a matter of weeks – and there are thousands more kids whose parents wanted to get in, but couldn’t.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In Michigan, by state law, the day after Labor Day is Back-To-School Day.

But in some 30 districts and charter schools in Michigan, kids have already been going to school because these districts and schools are experimenting with year-round school.

It's a concept getting much attention with the realization that our traditional school schedule causes most kids to forget some of the reading and math skills over the long summer break. That forces teachers to spend the first month or more re-teaching the previous year's material.

What does year-round school look like and is there a demand for it?

For the answer, we turned to the Crosswell-Lexington Community Schools in rural Sanilac County, which is offering the option of a year-round schedule.

Facebook

Retired sports stars sometimes like to make a social impact with their money. In the case of Andre Agassi, he's put some of his money into a fund that helps charter schools build new schools across the country.

Tomorrow, Agassi will be on hand to celebrate the opening of the Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Charter Academy. The K-5 school opened this year and is serving 300 students. The goal is to grow the school to 475 students through 12th grade.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Today is the first day of pre-school for many four-year-olds in Michigan. And thousands of them are getting a chance they might not otherwise have had, thanks to an expansion of a state program.

Susan Broman is a deputy superintendent at the Michigan Department of Education, and she oversees the Great Start Readiness Program. Broman says pre-school has a great return on investment.

"I mean, the reality is we know that high-quality pre-school is a proven strategy to significantly improve kindergarten readiness, grade-school reading and math proficiency," she said.

She says lawmakers agreed this year to hike funding for the program by $65 million because it works.

That's according to a report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

It says per-student spending is $572 less than it was before the recession.

The Center looked at state school funding across the country, and found that most are funding their schools less.

The reduced levels reflect not only the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession but also continued austerity in many states; indeed, despite some improvements in overall state revenues, schools in around a third of states are entering the new school year with less state funding than they had last year.

Michigan is listed as one of those states with less money for this school year compared to the year before.

How do the cuts in Michigan compare to spending in other states? Take a look:

Education Trust-Midwest

Most people don't know much about the Common Core State Standards, which Michigan adopted in 2010, according to a poll commissioned by The Education Trust-Midwest.

But the poll also finds that, once people get more information about the standards, the majority approve of them -- and think the state legislature should fund their implementation.

The Common Core State Standards are intended to emphasize greater proficiency in math and English, critical thinking skills, and a philosophy of "quality over quantity."

Big jump in preschool slots for Michigan children

Sep 8, 2013
WoodleyWonderWorks / Flickr

As many as 16,000 more 4-year-olds will be able to attend preschool in Michigan this fall, thanks to a big boost in the state's early education budget.

Pages