Education

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools says the district will have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further funding from the state.

  The Detroit Free Press reports  that former bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said in an email Saturday that the district also will be unable to fund summer school or special education programs after June 30.

  Rhodes was appointed by the state to oversee the district's finances.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a push on to get more young kids in the Flint area signed up for early childhood education programs.

The state Legislature approved special funding to expand early childhood education programs in Genesee County, as part of the state’s response to Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water.

Lisa Hagel is the superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District. She says many three- and four-year-olds would benefit from the education and nutrition program, but they don’t know where those kids are.

Athletic spending at EMU hurts education, report says

Apr 26, 2016
Eastern Michigan University
F. Delventhal / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

An ever-increasing athletic budget deficit at Eastern Michigan University is hurting the school's academic mission.

That's according to a report  submitted recently to EMU's Board of Regents and issued by the president of the Faculty Senate, the president of the student body, the chair of the Faculty Senate Budget and Resources Committee, and the treasurer of the EMU-AAUP.

Robert Bobb helps student with homework
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

In Detroit, 12 public school principals are accused of taking kickbacks on supplies that were never delivered.

The charges, announced late last month, pose another blow to the long-troubled Detroit Public Schools, which needs hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term state aid if it wants to see another school year.

Here's how the alleged kickback scheme worked: 12 principals, all working separately, gave contracts for school supplies to a vendor, Norman Shy, who then kicked back some profits to them.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

 Michigan’s state superintendent has outlined his “vision” for student assessments, and it seems like students might be in for more big changes.

Brian Whiston addressed lawmakers from two State House education panels Wednesday.

The state currently uses the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) to measure student achievement.

This is only the second year for the M-STEP, which students take in the spring.

But Whiston, who took over as state superintendent in July, advocates a different approach.

Child on computer
Lars Plougmann / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the search for a better way to educate our children, many have turned to technology. Virtual schools or blended schools that combine virtual and traditional face-to-face teaching are a national trend. However, according to a study from The National Education Policy Center, these virtual schools – most of which are run by private, for-profit companies, are doing a poor job of educating our kids.

cursive handwriting
theilr / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You may have seen the internet meme floating around social media. It says, “Someday us old folks will use cursive writing as a secret code.”

Wikimedia user Brian Ammon / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

When looking at the modern world of innovation or business, you really can’t ignore China.

The country’s influence is huge, but interacting with Chinese companies, educators or officials can present a tough challenge for native English speakers: Mandarin Chinese is so fundamentally different from English, especially in tonal inflections.

Catherine Ryu is a Michigan State University researcher who is working with a team of students to develop a new game that could help English speakers learn Mandarin.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Education officials say students will be spending less time taking the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, this spring.

  Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman Jan Ellis tells the Detroit Free Press that students will spend no more than four to eight hours total on the test, down from seven to 16 hours last year. The change came after complaints about the new exam taking too long, with reports of students being exhausted and school staff being overwhelmed.

wikimedia user motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


Michigan's Schools of Choice program is now 20 years old.

In some parts of the state, the competition for students can be intense. Public school districts put up yard signs, families are sometimes offered gifts to sign up for a school out of district, and the number of publicly funded, privately run charter schools has increased.

Thomas Xu / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Politicians and business leaders over the last decade have referenced the “brain drain” as a major problem for the state of Michigan. College students graduate from a state college or university and move elsewhere to pursue a job or begin their career.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

It may soon get a little easier for Detroit parents to figure out which schools are the right fit for their kids.

Navigating the maze of options – and enrollment deadlines, and application processes – from Detroit Public Schools, the Education Achievement Authority, and charter schools can feel overwhelming for some families.

Starting Friday, a new program called Enroll Detroit will offer parents a common application and enrollment system.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed an education budget that presents constitutional problems.
gophouse.com

The Detroit Public Schools now officially has enough money to stay open through the end of the current school year.

Gov. Snyder signed a $48.7 million dollar supplemental budget bill into law Tuesday.

DPS officials had said that without state aid, the district likely faced payless paydays by early April.

Flickr

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against two Detroit charter school management companies.

The Detroit Metro Times reports the CEO of New Urban Learning allegedly started a second "alter ego" management company to avoid a unionizing effort by teachers.

Jeremy Hiebert / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state Senate has approved legislation that would allow schools to hold children back if they’re not reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.

But this bill is not as stringent as earlier versions.

It allows parents and a school superintendent to decide whether to let a child who is not reading at grade level to move onto the fourth grade.             

  

Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov said the new version puts more resources into early intervention and parental involvement, instead of simply holding kids back.

TaxCredits.net / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Department of Education has cut off  federal grants to the Michigan Jewish Institute in West Bloomfield.

In a February letter to the private college, the government says nearly 2,000 MJI students claimed to be studying abroad in Israel but weren't taking classes through the school.

The letter says those students received Pell Grants through MJI without "physically attending" classes, and none graduated.

Student press rights bill to go to MI senate for a vote

Mar 23, 2016
myrealnameispete / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bill to protect freedom of expression and of the press for Michigan student journalists at public schools and universities was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. 

The bill protects student journalists from censorship in school-sponsored media, including newspapers, broadcasts and yearbooks.

"I believe there is a lot of censorship," says the bill's sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge). "And students are openly told they can't write about what they want."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan with students at the Detroit Promise Zone scholarship announcement.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit is joining the list of Michigan communities offering “promise zone” college scholarships.

The program, enacted by state lawmakers years ago, but never implemented in Detroit until now, guarantees any Detroit high school graduate two years' tuition at five Metro Detroit community colleges.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As the clock ticks down toward possible payless paydays in the Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Federation of Teachers is trying turn up the pressure on state lawmakers.

DFT leaders are also trying to tamp down on a faction within the union that is pushing for more radical action to force Lansing’s hand.

The district needs state money in the short term to avoid running out of cash early next month. It also needs a longer-term rescue package to help shed crippling debt and reorganize as a new district.

Students from the Detroit Food Academy.
Jen Rusciano / Detroit Food Academy

It started with mangos on a stick.

In the spring of 2011, kids at a high school in southwest Detroit were challenged to use their entrepreneurial spirit to come up with a creative way to get their classmates to eat some fruits and vegetables.

After more than 300 mangos were sold, the groundwork for the Detroit Food Academy (DFA) was laid.

Last night, the Farmington School Board voted to close or consolidate three district schools, including Harrison High School, over the next four years.

Board members in the suburban Detroit district called that a tough decision, but a necessary one in light of declining enrollment – a common situation statewide.

For interim superintendent Alycia Meriweather, allowing DPS to shut down is "unimaginable"
Michigan State University

The Detroit Public Schools have a new interim superintendent appointed by state emergency manager Judge Stephen Rhodes.

Alycia Meriweather is now in charge of academics for DPS. Unlike a lot of previous top administrators, she’s actually from Detroit and a DPS graduate. She’s also a long-time Detroit teacher.

DPS has been closing  schools, ending programs, losing students and losing money, a downward trend that has continued under the string of state-appointed emergency managers.

For teachers in Detroit, Meriweather says it’s been an exercise in creativity.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder has proposed spending $500,000 for campus sexual assault prevention programs in his budget.

  The grant money would be split among universities if lawmakers give it the green light.

  But some advocates say it's not enough for all of the programs they'd like to run. And some students at Michigan State University are critical of administrators and a university policy requiring employees to report sexual misconduct even when the survivor says he or she doesn't want the incident reported.

Jake Neher / MPRN

The state’s largest school district will likely not be able to make payroll after April 8.

That’s what new Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes told state lawmakers at a hearing on Wednesday.

Rhodes says he can’t guarantee employees will get paid after April 8 because the district will likely run out of money during that payroll period.

He’s urging lawmakers to act quickly to pass a bailout.

“I’m deeply concerned about the district running out of money on April 8th. There is no Plan B,” Rhodes told reporters after the hearing.

State Board of Ed meets on LGBTQ policies

Mar 8, 2016
Bryan McDonald / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan school districts need to provide a welcoming environment for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students) and protect them from harassment, violence and discrimination. 

That's the goal of a set of practices and policies that the State Board of Education discussed today and is expected to vote on in May, after a period of public comment.

"It's about no child being left behind in terms of their life chances and education," said Board President John Austin. "And we want that to be true of LGBT youth all across Michigan."

Michigan State University

The person in charge of charting a new academic course for the Detroit Public Schools is a familiar face in the district.

Former federal judge Steven Rhodes, the district’s emergency manager, has named Alycia Meriweather as the new interim superintendent

Merriweather is a lifelong Detroiter and DPS graduate who “started with the Detroit Public Schools as a four-year-old with Head Start,” Meriweather said during a sometimes-emotional press conference Monday.

Recently I was led through an abandoned building in Detroit.

“The first time we came in here in 2013 it was still relatively intact. The power was off, but pretty much everything else was in decent shape. It wasn’t in great shape, but just a matter of months and this place was completely destroyed,” one of my guides told me.

So, who walked away from a perfectly good building, failed to secure it well enough to keep metal thieves out?

The Detroit Public School District.

Wayne State medical school issues warning to faculty

Mar 3, 2016
Courtesy photo

Top officials at Wayne State University School of Medicine are telling faculty that insufficient productivity will no longer be tolerated.

As Crain's Detroit reported, Jack D. Sobel, M.D, dean of the medical school, and David S. Hefner, the university's vice president for health affairs, sent a letter to medical school professors on Wednesday.

Flint Head Start will get $3.6 million boost

Mar 2, 2016
Barnaby Wasson / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a $3.6 million immediate expansion for Head Start and Early Head Start services in Flint.

Kevin Spencer / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There’s a bipartisan effort at the state Capitol to ban special education teachers from secluding and restraining students.

Under the legislation, teachers could still restrain and seclude special needs students in emergency situations.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley chaired the state’s special education task force, which recommended the ban. He has called the practices “barbaric” and “inhumane.”

“When you replace that with the positive behavior interventions and supports, the ability for teachers to teach more effectively and students to learn more goes up,” said Calley.

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