Education

Education
5:39 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Schools that can’t follow deficit elimination plans could be dissolved under new bill

Lucy Perkins, Mark Brush Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are working on legislation they hope will prevent another crisis like the one in the Buena Vista school district. Students there sat at home while school was closed for two weeks last month because the district couldn’t afford to pay its teachers. Buena Vista is not alone; a number of districts have had problems keeping their doors open because of financial problems this year.

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Education
1:42 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Need some inspiration? Listen to these high schoolers

Ashley Parker, a graduating senior at J.W. Sexton High School.

State of Opportunity has a new storytelling booth that can easily go places and record lots of personal stories in one fell swoop. 

For its first trip I took the booth to J.W. Sexton High School in downtown Lansing. I wanted to catch the graduating class a few weeks before their big day.

There are stories of seeking asylum in America, learning how to control anger, what it feels like the moment a college acceptance letter comes in the mail, and wanting a second chance.

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11:25 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Senior class graduates from Buena Vista after months of uncertainty

Lead in text: 
Twenty seven seniors from Buena Vista High School graduated yesterday. After the school district's difficult year and budget crisis, the graduation was a happy event for the school and community. The future of the school district remains uncertain.
BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, MI - It was a difficult year full of hardships, but Lourenzo Caldwell says he wouldn't trade it for the world. He's a member of the 2013 graduating class at Buena Vista High School. The district's 27 seniors donned blue and white caps and gowns, crossed the stage and received their diplomas on Tuesday, June 4.
Education
6:09 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Classes count towards high school diploma and college degree under new pilot program

FSU President David Eisler (right) and Rockford Schools Superintendent Michael Shibler
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Juniors and seniors at Rockford High School will be able to earn up to 30 credit hours at Ferris State University for free in a pilot program announced today.

Say you’re taking calculus at Rockford High School, when you get to college, you could test out of calculus but you wouldn't get any credits.

The pilot program differs from dual enrollment programs.

If a student passes a single calculus class, it will count toward both their high school diploma and their college degree.

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Education
3:39 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

"We have to teach ourselves:" students at Detroit's Catherine Ferguson Academy file federal lawsuit

A Catherine Ferguson Academy student and her child.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some students and staff at Detroit’s Catherine Ferguson Academy say their education is so lackluster, it violates their civil rights.

The Detroit Public Schools handed the school for pregnant and parenting girls over to a charter operator in 2011, after students and teachers fought to keep it from closing.

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Education
10:43 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Despite restructuring, likely boost in state funding, Grand Rapids schools expects layoffs

Grand Rapids Public Schools will have to dip into its savings account to cover a projected $7.9 million deficit next school year. That’s despite a major restructuring plan and a small increase in funding that’s expected from the state. Grand Rapids schools will still have to lay off roughly 70 employees to balance its budget next school year; 14 of them teachers.

GRPS will get an extra $11 per student next year if Governor Rick Snyder signs a school spending bill, as he's expected to.

The district’s business and finance director, Julie Davis, says that’s an improvement.

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Education
9:08 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Feds dismiss state complaint regarding American Indian mascots

The U.S. Department of Education has dismissed a complaint from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights over schools’ use of American Indian mascots.

The civil rights department had argued that the images hurt Native American students’ academic performance, and create an unequal learning environment.

But federal education officials say opponents of Indian mascots and logos need to prove that they create a hostile environment for Native American students.

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Stateside
4:56 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Prisons adopt postsecondary education programs

An interview with program director Fred Patrick and former inmate Rick.

One of the biggest challenges we face as a state and as a nation is how do we keep paroled prisoners from becoming repeat offenders and winding up back behind bars?

Solid evidence points to postsecondary education as one of the major keys to helping former inmates build productive lives after parole.

After many years without any funding for prisoners to be able to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections has gotten a one million dollar grant to launch postsecondary educational programs and vocational training to a small number of inmates who are near parole.

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Education
12:50 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Sandy Hook's former superintendent and a Newtown police lieutenant will speak in Mt. Pleasant

Janet Robinson testifying in front of the House Steering and Policy Committee on Jan. 16, 2013.r Sandy Hook Schools

A former Sandy Hook superintendent and a Newtown police lieutenant will share their experiences at the Schools, Educators, Police, Liaison Association (SEPLA) conference in Mount Pleasant, June 18-20.

Both Janet Robinson, the former Sandy Hook superintendent, and Lieutenant Richard Robinson of the Newtown Police Department were involved in the emergency response to the tragic school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School this past December.

The conference is open to school administrators and emergency responders. In addition to guest speakers, the conference will offer training sessions and discussion groups. 

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Education
10:18 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Marshall school board OKs deal to accept Albion high school students

Albion's high school is closing, but the signs are pointing its students to start this fall at nearby Marshall High School
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Albion students are a step closer to knowing where they’ll be going to high school this fall.

Albion High School is closing for budget reasons.    The district will continue to provide K through 8 education. 

The Marshall school board voted last night to open its high school to Albion’s students.  Albion’s school board will vote on the cooperative agreement next week.    

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Education
12:53 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Rhee praises Michigan school reform progress

Michelle Rhee speaks at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference.
MIVote

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) - Education reform crusader Michelle Rhee says Michigan is making progress toward improving its schools but has more to do.

Rhee is the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools and founder of an advocacy group called StudentsFirst. She spoke Thursday during the annual Detroit Regional Chamber policy conference at Mackinac Island.

Rhee is a self-described lifelong Democrat who has clashed with teachers' unions, one of the party's key constituencies. During her speech, she called for honoring the teaching profession but demanding more accountability and rewarding the best teachers with more pay.

She also supports school voucher programs, which are unpopular with many Democrats who believe they drain money from public schools.

Rhee praised Michigan's Educational Achievement Authority, which was created to improve the state's lowest-performing schools.

Watch her speech here (scroll one hour in):

Education
6:53 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Michigan's classrooms are more diverse, but what about the teaching staff?

Patrick Tierney (standing) works with Cody High School students as part of U of M's Rounds Project.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

State of Opportunity's Jennifer Guerra takes a look at Michigan's higher education programs to see how they're preparing a mostly white teaching staff to better serve our state's increasingly diverse elementary, middle, and high school pupils. 

Click here for Guerra's full story about how the Rounds Project at U-M gives teacher-to-be training that can only happen on the ground.

Education
1:19 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Education Achievement Authority officials: Test scores show 'phenomenal' progress

The Education Achievement Authority's motto, at Nolan Elementary-MIddle school in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Students in Michigan’s state-run district for the lowest-performing schools are making “impressive” strides.

At least, that’s how officials with the Education Achievement Authority are interpreting new test data.

The third set of online Scantron Performance Series tests administered to EAA students this year show what Chancellor John Covington calls “phenomenal” progress in reading and math.

District officials say 56% of all students demonstrated at least a year’s worth of progress in reading, and 65% did so in math.

Covington says most EAA students start out way behind, so it makes sense to measure growth rather than specific benchmarks.

He says these scores prove the district’s philosophy of “student –centered learning” and “meeting students where they’re at” is yielding results.

“Children aren’t able to move from one level to the next until they have clearly demonstrated they have mastered those standards and those requisite skills they need to move to the next level,” Covington says.

The district for the lowest-performing 5% of schools is only operating in 15 former Detroit Public Schools right now.

Governor Snyder is pushing to take the EAA statewide. But it’s faced considerable questions and opposition from Democrats and other critics, as legislation to codify the district in state law recently stalled in the State Senate.

Education
3:40 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Crawling to protest the closing of Albion High School

Community activist Bobby Holley is crawling, on his hands and knees, from Battle Creek to Albion. He's protesting the closing of Albion High School.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A community activist is making a unique protest, in hopes of rallying people in Albion to fight the closure of their high school.

With a kiss from one of his supporters, Bobby Holley started crawling.   He intends to crawl, on his hands and knees, the 30 miles from Battle Creek to Albion.   

He says he wants to rally the people of Albion, so they will fight the decisions to close their high school

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Education
6:23 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Buena Vista fails to pay teachers, after all the controversy

It was a payless payday after all, for teachers in the Buena Vista School District on Friday.

After a two-week shutdown of the district, teachers returned to the job on Monday.

State officials had said they would oversee how the troubled district spent its state aid.

David Crim is with the Michigan Education Association.

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Education
3:14 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Michigan public schools could get a funding boost

School work
Jane M Sawyer morgue file

Michigan public schools would get a three-percent overall funding boost under a plan in the state Legislature.

It comes up for final votes next week.

No school would get less money per student than it did last year under a plan approved by a state budget panel.

Lawmakers added language that would guarantee every school gets at least five dollars more per student than last year. Without that provision, some schools could have seen cuts because of reduced payments to cover teacher retirement costs. 

Schools that get the minimum amount of state funding right now could see up to $60 more per student next fiscal year. That total amount is right around $7,000 per student.

The bill now goes to the floors of the state House and Senate.

Education
12:44 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Are we allowing poorly performing charter schools to expand in Michigan?

Detroit Public Schools is offering 45 schools to charter companies.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Education Trust-Midwest, "a statewide nonpartisan policy, research, and advocacy organization," released an analysis on the 32 charter schools set to open in Michigan this fall.

They say while some newly approved charter schools are run by operators with a strong track record, many others are run by operators that are “chronically low-performing.”

According to ETM’s David Zeman, the data demonstrates that “Michigan needs to seriously consider holding charter authorizers more accountable for school quality.”

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Education
9:32 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Why Ann Arbor may lay off teachers for the first time ever

We all thought districts like Ann Arbor were safe from massive cuts. We were wrong.
Ann Arbor Public Schools http://www.aaps.k12.mi.us/academics/files/pre3.jpg

In case you've been living under a rock the last couple of months, many Michigan schools are in financial crisis.

It's not just separate outbreaks. It's an epidemic. Buena Vista had to shut down for two weeks when they ran out of money to pay staff. Albion is closing its high school.

About 50 districts are on the state's financial watch list (as in, watch-out-these-guys-could-go-under).

Now, Ann Arbor, the artsy cosmopolitan Disney Land of public school systems, is feeling woozy.

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Education
7:39 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

32 new Michigan charter schools set to open in fall 2013

U of M's two-year study will look at charters schools across the state.
user: jdurham morguefile

This fall, 32 new charter schools are scheduled to open in Michigan.

To check out where these schools will be located, look at this Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) link.

According to MAPSA, there are currently 232 charter public schools in Michigan with over 100,000 enrolled students.

This year, there number of charter schools opening is due in part to a controversial law that lifted restrictions on charter schools.

More from MAPSA:

Michigan law allows new public schools to be chartered by state universities, community colleges, intermediate school districts and local school districts.

“Michigan’s system of charter school authorizing and oversight is considered a model around the country, and as we look at the new schools opening this year, we can see why that is,” [MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry] said. “Once again, the authorizers have done an excellent job of making sure that only the best, most promising schools will be allowed to open. You’ll notice that we aren’t seeing the supposed ‘flood’ of new charter schools that some critics feared. The authorizers aren't going to charter any new school that doesn’t offer a high-quality, innovative approach.”

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Stateside
5:13 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Is teacher merit pay what's best for Michigan?

Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

An interview with professor Jennifer Rice King and Superintendent Scott Moore

As the 2012-2013 school year winds down, one of the issues occupying the attention of state lawmakers is teacher pay. In essence: what should determine teacher salaries in Michigan?

A state House panel has approved a plan to tie teachers' pay to student performance. But, as Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher told us, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they're worried the bill would strip away local control.

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