Education

Stateside
3:34 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

What's happening with school funding in Michigan

After Buena Vista closed, what's next for Michigan education?
courtesy: Mott High School

An interview with Tom Watkins and Rick Pluta.

With reports of Buena Vista Schools closing a month early due to a lack of funding, we talked about education in Michigan on today's show.

How did Buena Vista find itself in this position? And, could this happen to other schools soon?

As we picked apart what's going on in school districts across Michigan, we were joined by Tom Watkins, Michigan's former State Superintendent and Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.

To listen to the full discussion, click the link above.

Education
6:00 am
Mon May 13, 2013

In Buena Vista, a school district's future hangs in limbo

Student artwork given to Buena Vista kindergarten teacher Marci Karwat.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

State officials announced over the weekend that they will lend money to Pontiac schools, and avert a payless payday there this week.

But there’s still no resolution in Buena Vista Township, where the school system abruptly shut down after running out of money a month before the end of the school year. So teachers, parents and students in the tiny school district near Saginaw are trying to figure out what to do next.      

“I hope the school district can work something out there,” Gov. Rick Snyder said late last week about a plan to educate Buena Vista’s 400 students.

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Education
4:49 pm
Sat May 11, 2013

State signs plan to help ailing Pontiac schools

Credit pontiac.k12.mi.us / Pontiac School District

Michigan's top education official has signed off on a plan to help the beleaguered Pontiac School District.

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Education
2:38 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

EMU Board gives President two year contract extension

EMU President Susan Martin
Eastern Michigan University

EMU's Board of Regents unanimously approved a two-year contract extension for the university's president, Susan Martin, at a special meeting on Friday.

Last fall, the Board reprimanded Martin for problem drinking, and told her to seek counseling or lose her job.

There was no mention of the issue during the Board meeting, in which Martin was praised for leading Eastern "during a five-year period of significant growth in enrollment, academic success, and major upgrades to campus buildings and the University's infrasture," said Board chair Francine Parker.

Education
12:50 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

2 Michigan schools could close early; in 1993 Kalkaska did it on purpose

Outside Kalkaska High School
Kalkaska schools

No doubt, public schools in Michigan are struggling.

Around 400 students in the Buena Vista school district in Saginaw have been shut out after the district announced they couldn't make payroll.

And it was revealed yesterday that Pontiac schools are close to running out of money and might have to close their doors early.

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Education
12:43 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Buena Vista school district could be headed down the path to an emergency manager

Parents and children embrace during last night's Buena Vista School Board meeting
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A Saginaw area school district that's closed its doors has now asked the state to review its finances.

That's the first step toward a state appointed emergency manager.

But the move does not guarantee the District's 400 students will be back in class anytime soon.

The Buena Vista school board heard from parents and students last night, angry about the abrupt and apparent early end of the school year.

“If we don’t get these kids back in school…we’re going to be the ones who destroyed their lives,” one upset father told the school board. 

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Breaking
3:17 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

A second Michigan school district could close its doors

The city of Pontiac.
Dave Garvin Flickr

There's no re-open in sight for the Buena Vista school district.

Now, Pontiac schools could be next to close its doors.

The district could be forced to shut down operations before the end of its school year.

A letter sent this week by state Superintendent Mike Flanagan warns Pontiac schools the district won’t be able to make its Friday, May 17, payroll.

It’s been almost a week since the tiny Buena Vista school district in Saginaw County abruptly closed its doors.

There is still no plan to get the roughly 400 displaced students into classrooms for the balance of the school year.

Governor Rick Snyder says a financial bailout by the state is very unlikely.

“Well, I hope there’s solutions that could be short of that, and that’s what we’re having discussions on, the community coming together, other districts working with the state, all of us coming together to say, let’s solve this problem.”  

Buena Vista ran out of cash because the state is withholding payments to make up for a grant the district should not have received.

The district’s finances and academic performance were already in poor shape. Buena Vista and Pontiac are both on the state’s “watch” list.

Education
1:35 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

After four days of no classes, Saginaw district prepares for financial emergency

An empty school hallway.
Christopher Webb Flickr

It’s day four of no school for Saginaw-based Buena Vista School District, as the district prepares to declare a financial emergency.

As Mark Brush reported on Tuesday, the school district canceled classes earlier this week after teachers were laid off. The layoffs come after the district of about 450 students learned the state was withholding funding for April, May and June.

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Education
5:43 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Bill would link Michigan teachers' pay to student growth

Credit clarita / MorgueFile

New teachers in Michigan would be paid based primarily on student growth under a bill in Lansing.

But some lawmakers question whether now is the right time to take up the issue.

The state Legislature is still waiting on a report that will recommend a state-wide teacher evaluation system.

Lawmakers like Rep. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) say they should wait to see what the report says before they switch to a merit-pay system for teachers.

“I don’t know why we’re jumping the gun on this. We should be waiting for what the commission comes back and says to us is the proper course of action," Knezek says.  “I don’t think the two necessarily, one has to be before the other.”

Bill sponsor Pete Lund (R-Shelby Township) says the commission’s recommendation could be more useful if they already have a system in place. Lund says tying educators’ pay to their performance in the classroom would promote student growth and weed out bad teachers.

“We no longer say you are a better teacher just because you’ve been teaching for a long time," Lund says. "If teaching a long time has helped you, your students will grow, they will be better students, they will learn more, and you’ll be properly compensated properly for it.”

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Stateside
5:01 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

EAA progress report: how 15 failing Detroit schools fared this year

How do we rescue and turn around schools that are failing?

That's one of the biggest challenges concerning the education system in Michigan. Governor Snyder and many in the Legislature - especially Republicans - favor the EAA as a solution.

The education Achievement Authority is a new school system for Michigan's worst-performing public schools. Since last fall, 15 Detroit schools have been run under the EAA, changing the educational experience for nearly 10,000 students and 400 teachers.

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Education
11:32 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Michigan State Police troopers bring safety message to Flint elementary schools

MSP Trooper Walt Crider talks to students at Bryant Elementary in Flint
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

About 20 Michigan State Troopers are spending the next few days meeting with Flint schoolchildren.

Michigan State Police Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue told a student assembly today at Bryant Elementary in Flint that she would like to see them waving at Michigan State Police patrol cars as they drive through their neighborhood.

“Because it really kind of hurts our feelings when our car goes by and no one waves at us,” Etue told the students.

One student blurted out “We be scared”, which drew laughter from the students.

But Etue says their fear is a problem.

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Education
9:11 am
Wed May 8, 2013

The top 10 high schools in Michigan (according to two magazines)

U.S. News released its rankings for top Michigan High Schools
User Motown31 Creative Commons

Seven Michigan high schools received "gold medals" from the U.S. News Best High Schools 2013 rankings. 68 high schools received "silver medals," and 131 received "bronze medals."

Here's their top ten:

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Education
11:14 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Michigan school district out of money, closes doors today

School closed today. The announcment on the Buena Vista School District's website.
screen grab

The financial storm has been brewing at the Buena Vista School District outside of Saginaw for some time, but it came to a head today.

The Buena Vista School District announced that the school is closed today and that teachers will be laid off.

A community meeting is expected to be held at 6 p.m tonight.

The District has faced declining enrollment at a time when public education funds are being cut in the state.

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Education
8:31 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Kalamazoo Promise executive director stepping down

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

One of the founders of the Kalamazoo Promise is stepping down after five years with the education scholarship program.

Janice Brown has served as the Kalamazoo Promise’s executive director since 2008. Before that, she was the superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools.

Education
5:16 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Teachers vote to work one week without pay at Buena Vista district

Teachers at Buena Vista School District have voted to work without pay for a week. 

They hope the district and the state can figure out a way to keep the doors open through the end of the school year.

The Saginaw area district lost its state aid after officials discovered the school system accepted money for a program it no longer operated.

The state is withholding the district's March, April, and May payments - leaving the already-distressed district without money for payroll.

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Education
5:07 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at Michigan commencement #GoBlue

This is what nearly 6,000 University of Michigan graduates look like (courtesy of commencement speaker Dick Costolo's Twitter):

Costolo made a point to live tweet the photo before he began his address to the class of 2013.

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Education
5:05 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

U.S. education secretary, Snyder tour EAA and DPS schools

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Governor Rick Snyder read to preschoolers at Thirkell Elementary School in Detroit Monday.
Jake Neher MPRN

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says public schools in Detroit have improved in the last four years. Duncan was in Detroit today with Governor Rick Snyder. They toured a traditional public school and a school in the state’s Education Achievement Authority.

The EAA is a controversial state-run authority meant to turn around failing schools. Based on his tour today, Duncan says the EAA shows promise.

“Obviously, long long way to go, and there’ll be bumps in the road and hurdles. But my only goal is to see every child be successful,” said Duncan. “I think the only way we get there is if, again, the EAA is successful, the Detroit public schools are successful, charters are successful. We just need great public schools across the state and across the country.”

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Education
5:00 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Ypsilanti, Willow Run teachers learn whether they'll keep jobs

Credit www.schoolbussafety.net

Teachers in the soon-to-be-merged Ypsilanti and Willow Run school district have learned whether they'll be returning to the classroom. 

Both districts were in financial trouble, with a combined deficit of about $13 million.

Superintendent Scott Menzel says more than 250 current teachers applied for jobs in the consolidated district.

He says 171 teachers will have jobs  this fall; many of them are seasoned instructors.

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Education
4:39 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

US education secretary, governor to visit 3 Michigan schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
U.S. Dept. of Education

DETROIT (AP) - President Obama's education secretary will be in Detroit on Monday for a town hall meeting on education issues and visits to three area schools.

The Detroit Public Schools and Gov. Rick Snyder's office say Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Snyder will visit a fifth-grade class at Thirkell Elementary School.

The school has about 490 students from preschool to eighth grade. It's about 31/2 northwest of downtown Detroit.

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Education
5:34 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Twitter CEO tells University of Michigan grads to be bold, takes their picture and tweets it

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo took a picture of thousands of graduates at the University of Michigan - and then tweeted it, of course. Costolo joked to the crowd that it "should only take a second."
dickcdick costolo Commencement @umich

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo took a picture of thousands of graduates at the University of Michigan - and then tweeted it, of course.

Costolo joked to the crowd that it "should only take a second." The Michigan alumnus was back on campus Saturday to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. He told graduates to be bold, figure out what they love to do and "go do that."

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