Education

Education
11:02 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Listen again: State of Opportunity's latest documentary on race

Credit Jennifer Guerra

Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA says, "Michigan is an absolute national leader in segregated schools." Orfield means in reality and not by law, but how is this possible in 21st century America?

State of Opportunity reporter Jennifer Guerra goes into Michigan high schools and neighborhoods---from Grand Haven to Detroit's west side---to see how race and racism are playing out today in an era some are calling "post-racial." 

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Education
8:29 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Commentary: The future of Detroit schools

Lessenberry commentary for 5/3/13

Roy Roberts, emergency manager of the Detroit Public schools for the last two years, is leaving. His contract ends in two weeks, and he says he isn’t interested in extending it.

You can hardly blame him. He is 74 and thanks to a successful career at General Motors, doesn‘t need the money. Roberts especially doesn‘t need more aggravation.

Being emergency manager of what is, in effect, a dying school system has meant 14 hour days and many angry people. There’s no way it could have meant anything else. His predecessor, Robert Bobb, was roundly hated, and whoever the governor appoints next will be too.

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Education
3:31 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Detroit Public Schools emergency manager retiring

Roy Roberts, DPS Emergency Manager
Detroit Public Schools

The state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools announced his retirement today. 

Governor Rick Snyder appointed Roy Roberts to manage the state's largest school system in 2011.

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Education
3:09 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

MSU admissions policy brings some frustration

On the campus of MSU.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some prospective Michigan State University students say they're frustrated by the school's policy allowing deferred admission.

Jim Cotter, the school's director of admissions, tells The Detroit News that the East Lansing university's admissions practice has been in place for more than a decade. It was set up to manage application growth and ensure quality.

Unlike schools that offer a fall wait-list option, Michigan State guarantees some students a place if they wait until January to start.

Anthony Seely is among is one of about 1,000 who have been granted deferred admission. He can't enroll for fall classes unless space opens. The 18-year-old from Grosse Pointe Shores must decide this month whether to take the offer or go to another school.

Seely says it makes the planning process difficult.

Education
1:06 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

MSU prof: Teachers aren't equipped to put new science standards into practice

A Michigan State University professor says most teachers aren't ready to implement new science standards planned by the state.

The Michigan Department of Education says a plan called "Next Generation Science Standards" will provide more depth to students.

MSU education professor Suzanne Wilson disagrees.

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Education
5:25 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Grand Rapids students tell policy makers what they want from school

Students attending a class at ITEC's new headquarters in Lansing's Foster community center
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There are plenty of adults talking about what should be done concerning education in Michigan. But an event in Grand Rapids gave students an opportunity to explain what they need from their schools.

Lynn Heemstra helped organize the event, called “KidSpeak.”

“It’s my belief that a lot of people that have legislative responsibility don’t really know the extent of what young people are dealing with in the their lives and what they’re receiving in the way of day to day educational opportunities,” Heemstra said.

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Education
11:50 am
Fri April 26, 2013

FOIA documents reveal financial troubles, loans for Education Achievement Authority

The EAA's Mumford High School
Credit Brooke Harris

A suburban Detroit state representative says newly released documents raise some “serious red flags” about the Education Achievement Authority.

That state-run “reform district” for the lowest-performing schools is only operating in 15 former Detroit Public Schools right now.

State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton, a Huntington Woods Democrat, got the information through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The records released so far reveal some financial trouble for the EAA.

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Stateside
5:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Is the EAA the best solution for low-performing public schools?

Low-performing public schools in Michigan are being run under the EAA
User Motown31 Creative Commons

There's a movement in Michigan to expand the Education Achievement Authority, a new school system for Michigan's lowest-performing public schools.

Since last fall, 15 Detroit schools have been run under the EAA. Now, there's movement to expand the EAA to include more under-performing schools.

The State House has already passed legislation that would expand the system, despite objections from Democrats who say the legislation is premature. Democrats say that there needs to be more research that suggests the EAA is really working before moving ahead with any sort of legislative expansion.

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Education
5:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Arts education in Lansing with all the cutbacks

In the classroom

Last week, the Lansing School District and its teachers ratified a new contract that totally overhauls the way art and music will be taught in its schools.

Art, music and phys ed teachers will be replaced in Lansing elementary schools. Instead, contract consultants will teach those subjects alongside the regular classroom teachers.

This story got us wondering about the future of arts education in Michigan.

How can school districts who are coping with cuts in funding and eroding tax bases and population manage to still provide arts education?

How much does arts education really matter in these days of heavy emphasis on the STEM classes....science, technology, engineering and math?

Joining me now is Kathy White. She's the President and CEO of the Michigan Assessment Consortium and she is the Project Director of the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Program.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
9:41 am
Thu April 25, 2013

After it was outed, secret education group will now meet in public

Richard McLellan of the Oxford Foundation helped develop a plan to make sweeping changes to the way education in Michigan is funded.
Richard D. McLellan Wikipedia

Chad Livengood of the Detroit News revealed the group that met in secret, which dubbed itself a "skunk works" last week:

A secret work group that includes top aides to Gov. Rick Snyder has been meeting since December to develop a lower-cost model for K-12 public education with a funding mechanism that resembles school vouchers.

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Education
11:03 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Three little-known facts about charter schools in Michigan

University Prep Science Math Middle School in Detroit
Credit http://www.daymonjhartley.com/

 Today, on State of Opportunity, I report on a troubling fact of charter school expansion in Michigan: Some of the state's best charter schools are struggling to compete against low-performing charter schools. The reason, simply enough, is marketing. Low-performing schools can easily outspend high-performing schools on advertising and recruitment gimmicks. 

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Stateside
2:13 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Michigan high school curriculum could be changing - for better or worse?

Curriculum requirements could change for Michigan high schools
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

Education is front and center these days in Michigan.

Governor Snyder spoke today to a summit of education leaders, calling for businesses to get more closely involved with public education.

Snyder believes many students might be being pushed toward getting a four-year college degree when vocation education – technical career training or community college – might make just as much sense for them.

In the state House and Senate, there is movement towards changing Michigan’s high school graduation requirements.

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Education
7:18 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Pres. Obama eyes Michigan high schoolers' safety project

President Barack Obama listens to Spencer Ottarson, 19, center, and Julie Xu, 17, right, both from Williamston, Mich., as they explain their 'Offshore Rip Current Alert System (ORCA), Monday, April 22, 2013, during the White House Science Fair
Pablo Martinez Monsivai/Greenwichtime.com

President Barack Obama has had a briefing from two Lansing-area teenagers about their new technology for warning swimmers about dangerous off-shore currents.

19-year-old Spencer Ottarson and 17-year-old Julie Xu represented Williamston High School on Monday as of 12 teams that presented their science projects at the White House's third science fair.

Obama examined their Offshore Rip Current Alert System, which was on display in the East Garden.

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Education
12:00 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

With Education Summit, some hints and questions about Snyder's education priorities

Business leaders and others share their thoughts on the future of Michigan’s education system Monday.

The Governor’s Education Summit comes just on the heels of revelations about a secret education reform work group in Lansing—and questions about how much the Governor’s vision for public education jibes with theirs.

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Education
10:40 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Report: Education in Michigan 'lackluster,' relying too much on charter schools

A chart from the report
The Education Trust-Midwest

Michigan is falling behind most other states when it comes to improving student achievement.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from Royal Oak-based Education Trust-Midwest.

The report looks at the improvements in student achievement in Michigan from 2003 to 2011 and compares it to the improvements other states have seen.

On almost every measure, Michigan lags well behind the national average.

From the report:

Sadly, we have little to be proud of today. Our state’s educational performance is lackluster by practically any reliable measure.

Amber Arrellano of The Education Trust-Midwest says part of the problem is Michigan has relied primarily on charter schools to improve student outcomes, and not all charter schools have been successful.

"We're actually putting tens of millions of dollars and subsidizing the growth of some of our worst schools in the state. And that’s just not a good use of our taxpayer dollars," she said.

Arrellano says more school choice can improve outcomes, "but when the Legislature decided to lift the state cap on charter schools a few years ago, they did not include any performance standards for who gets to expand here."

Arrellano says there are high-quality charter schools that improve student performance in Michigan, but she says the lower quality charter school operators are expanding more quickly.

Arrellano says research from Stanford University shows that charter school operators with less successful track records are actually expanding more quickly than those with better track records.

Education
7:20 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman retiring

Mary Sue Coleman, president, University of Michigan
Official Portrait

The president of the University of Michigan is stepping down.

Mary Sue Coleman officially announced her retirement today: 

The University of Michigan deserves the best in a leader, and I want to give the Board ample time to select the next president. I am committed to working with the Board members to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

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Education
10:19 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

U-M students arrested in protest for undocumented students

Protesters block traffic in front of the Michigan Union in Ann Arbor on Wednesday night.
Joseph Lichterman/Michigan Radio

Eight University of Michigan students were arrested Wednesday night after they blocked a busy intersection near campus in protest over the university's policy not to offer undocumented students from Michigan in-state tuition. 

Seven students and one U-M alumnus were arrested, U-M police spokeswoman Diane Brown told the Detroit Free Press. She said police processed and released them pending charges. They could be charged with disorderly conduct, disobeying a police officer or impeding traffic, Brown told the Free Press. 

About 50 people, mostly U-M students, started the rally by marching from the Michigan Union to U-M President Mary Sue Coleman's home. They then formed a circle at the intersection of South State Street and South University Avenue—two busy streets that border the Ann Arbor campus.

Here's a video of their protest:

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Education
12:47 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Gerald Ford statue dedicated at University of Michigan

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Flikr

ANN ARBOR, Michigan. (AP) - The University of Michigan is home to a new statue of one of its most famous alumni, President Gerald Ford.

Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft helped dedicate the Ford statue Tuesday in Ann Arbor.

The bronze statue created by sculptor J. Brett Grill now stands in the Great Hall at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

It's a scale model of the statue of Ford that stands in the National Statuary Hall of the Capitol Rotunda.

Education
2:30 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The Education Achievement Authority, Part 3: True reform, or a questionable experiment?

Pershing players and fans celebrate their win
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Education Achievement Authority is up and running right now in 15 Detroit schools.

Michigan’s state-run “reform district” for the lowest-performing schools is already controversial.

In the eyes of Governor Snyder and its champions, the EAA is the best way to assure that schools don’t linger in failure for years on end.

In the eyes of critics, it’s already a failed experiment that threatens the very heart of public education in Michigan.

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Education
6:38 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

The Education Achievement Authority, Part 2: A tale of two EAA schools

Mumford High School

If there’s a school near you that’s been deemed “persistently low-achieving,” it could soon come under the control of a new regime.

Governor Snyder is leading a controversial effort to create a statewide district for those struggling schools. Right now, that district—formally known as the Education Achievement Authority, or EAA--is doing a kind of pilot year in Detroit.

How well is that working out?  The answer to that question depends very much on who you ask.

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