Education

Education
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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Education
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.

Education
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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Education
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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Education
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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Education
11:00 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Flint's Board of Education approves deficit elimination plan

Retaining students like these will be a key goal of the Flint Community Schools Deficit Elimination Plan
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint Board of Education has signed off on a deficit elimination plan for the district.

The challenge now is sticking to it.

The Flint school district is $15.8 million dollars in the red.

To address that, school board members last night approved a plan that will cut jobs, close two elementary schools and trim other expenses.   The goal is to reduce the district deficit to zero by June, 2016. 

Antoinette Lockett is the board president. She says retaining students will be key.

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Education
12:12 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Michigan high schools earn a D for financial literacy

The study found high schoolers need better financial instruction.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan’s high schools were given a D for financial literacy instruction.

That’s coming from a Champlain College study. The college’s Center for Financial Literacy took a look at all 50 states, examining their guidelines for teaching students how to be savvy consumers -- including instruction on loans, interest, stocks and other critical pieces of personal finance.

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Education
3:12 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

New teacher evaluation system proposed to Michigan Legislature

Schools in Michigan like Pioneer High in Ann Arbor could be faced with a new system of evaluating teachers and administrators.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Council for Education Effectiveness is proposing a new way to evaluate teachers and administrators.  The council presented its recommendations to the state legislature, the governor and the state Board of Education on Wednesday.

Michigan currently has statewide standards for teachers, but there is not an evaluation system in place. Current evaluations are conducted differently in each district. This new system would require teachers to be evaluated every year and receive one of three ratings: "ineffective," "provisional" or "professional." The evaluation is based on the teacher's classroom practice and their students' performance.

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Education
7:00 am
Wed July 24, 2013

In Lake County, there is such a thing as a free lunch

The Meet Up & Eat Up Program provides free breakfast and lunch over the summer for all kids in Lake County

More than 90% of school children in Lake County qualify for free or reduced price lunch. To make sure they continue to eat healthy meals once school is out, the county’s school district offers free breakfast and lunch over the summer to any child in the county.

For our State of Opportunity project, Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra dropped by the cafeteria one sunny afternoon to check it out. 

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Stateside
5:15 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Great Start Readiness Program is seeing a huge expansion, but is it enough?

Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

An interview with Mina Hong, a Senior Policy Associate of Michigan's Children, and Scott Menzel, the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

State lawmakers recently approved a huge expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program. That's the state's preschool program for 4-year olds at risk of being under-prepared for kindergarten.

More money for preschoolers was one of the main initiatives in Governor Snyder's State of the State speech last January. And the Legislature was listening, because that $65 million increase represents a 60% expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program.

We wanted to talk about what this expansion means to preschoolers all over Michigan and what more needs to be done.

Mina Hong is a Senior Policy Associate of Michigan's Children, and Scott Menzel is the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, and he also chairs the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators' Early Childhood Committee.

Hong and Menzel joined us today to discuss the issue.

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Breaking
5:44 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Buena Vista, Inkster school districts to be dissolved

Inkster High School
Dwight Burdette wikimedia commons

The Buena Vista and Inkster Public School districts will be dissolved. Both districts missed a 5pm deadline today to prove they had enough money to keep doors open next school year.

Richard Syrek is superintendent of the Saginaw Intermediate School District, which will be responsible for dissolving Buena Vista schools. He says the ISD plans to hold a community meeting Wednesday evening.

“So they can give us some idea of where they would like to go to school next year. Because we have a short period of time at this time to make a decision on what the boundaries are going to be. So we’d like their input.”

Syrek says a number of surrounding school districts say they can accommodate students from Buena Vista in the fall.

Officials with Inkster Public Schools said Comerica Bank was willing to extend a loan to the district. But they say it fell through because state officials would not approve Inkster’s deficit elimination plan first.

Education
5:17 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Flint educators take up the school district's Deficit Elimination Plan this week

Flint's big math problem: How do you eliminate a $15.7 million deficit in two years and still provide a quality education?
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Flint School Board takes up a Deficit Elimination Plan Tuesday night.

The district is wrestling with a nearly $16 million deficit.

The Flint school district has made deep budget cuts, including laying off teachers and closing schools in recent years.

More cuts are likely if the district follows the plan to eliminate its deficit by June, 2016.

Larry Watkins is Flint’s interim School Superintendent. He insists the deficit elimination plan will not get in the way of the school district’s core mission.

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Education
7:29 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

U of M takes another step toward choosing next president

John Monteith, president, University of Michigania, 1817-1821
Bentley Library

The University of Michigan's board of regents named seven faculty members this week to serve on a presidential search committee.

The current U of M president, Mary Sue Coleman, will retire next year.

The faculty members will serve in addition to the eight regents.

The search committee looks very different than it did in 2002, when Coleman was selected. Then, the search committee was more diverse. Besides faculty, the committee included a custodial supervisor, the head of the U of M Alumni Association, and two undergraduate students.

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Education
7:35 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

University of Michigan approves in-state tuition for undocumented students, US military veterans

People react to tuition change
Alana Holland Michigan Radio

The board of regents of the University of Michigan has approved in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants who live in Michigan. The policy change follows two years of intense lobbying by undocumented students and supporters.

Undocumented students will have to show they attended middle school and high school in Michigan to get the lower tuition rate. For the 2013-14 year, in-state tuition for a freshman undergraduate will be $13,142. The out-of-state tuition rate is $40,392. 

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Education
1:19 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Buena Vista and Inkster schools have until Monday to avoid closure

Inkster High School.
Dwight Burdette wikimedia commons

The financially troubled Michigan school districts of Inkster and Buena Vista have until 5 p.m. Monday, July 22 to prove they have the money to run their school districts and that they have plans to eliminate their deficits.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon and Superintendent of Schools Mike Flanagan informed the districts of that deadline today.

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Stateside
3:41 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

The Common Core hearings have begun, but just what are these standards?

State Representive Tom McMillin opposes the Common Core standards.
Michigan House Republicans

This week, a state House panel in Lansing kicked off a series of hearings on Common Core. You might have been hearing about the Common Core lately. It's a set of nationwide school standards put together by the National Governors Association and being debated around the nation.

State lawmakers recently passed a budget that bars the Michigan Department of Education from implementing the standards.

Supporters of the standards - including Governor Rick Snyder and State Superintendent Michael Flanagan - say Common Core is essential to making sure students in Michigan are ready for college and careers.

Opponents say the standards strip local control and were developed without transparency.

We sat down with Michigan School Board President John Austin, a supporter of Common Core, and State Representative Tom McMillin, an opponent of the standards.

But first, let's get a better understanding of just what these standards are.

Michelle Richard, Senior Consultant at Public Sector Consultants, specializing in education policy and research, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
6:31 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Detroit Public Schools has a new emergency manager

Jack Martin
U.S Department of Education

After two years as emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, Roy Roberts has officially left the position. Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder named current Detroit Chief Financial Officer Jack Martin to replace him.

Martin has also served as emergency manager of Highland Park Schools, and as CFO of the U.S. Department of Education.

Governor Snyder says he expects the transition between Roberts and Martin to be seamless.

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Education
3:35 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

State House considers new program to prevent school violence

Columbine High School was the site of a deadly school shooting in 1999. The OK-2-SAY hotline hopes to prevent future incidences of school violence.
Credit Columbine High School

The Michigan House of Representatives is considering a new program to help prevent school violence.

The OK-2-SAY hotline would be available for students, teachers, parents or community members to call and report incidences of violence in schools.

Joanne Spry is the superintendent of Cadillac Area Public Schools. She implemented a similar program when she worked as an administrator in Colorado after the school shootings in Columbine. Spry says students are more likely to report something anonymously.

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Education
1:42 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

University of Michigan regents propose in-state tuition for undocumented students

University of Michigan students protesting for in-state tuition prices for undocumented students.
Terra Molengraff The Michigan Daily

Undocumented students who’ve grown up in Michigan may soon be eligible for in-state tuition at one of the state’s biggest universities.

On Thursday, the regents at the University of Michigan will vote on a new policy that will redefine what it means to be an in-state student at the university.

Provost Martha Pollock, who took office this May, said the changes being proposed would benefit more than the state’s undocumented students.

From today's press release:

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Education
11:54 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Michigan student safety hotline awaits final vote

DETROIT (AP) - Supporters of a statewide student safety hotline modeled after a Colorado program established in the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre hope to clear a final hurdle once schools resume.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a budget bill this month that includes money to develop and run the OK-2-SAY hotline for anonymous reports of threats and violence. But the green light to launch it requires legislative action by Michigan House after lawmakers return in late August.

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