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Education

Chalkboard
user alkruse24 / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan’s education chief forecasts some contentious negotiations with federal officials on the state’s plans for identifying and helping struggling schools.

Detroit Public Schools Community District sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Federation of Teachers members are set to start voting on a new contract agreement this week.

Flickr user Frank Juarez / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Just before the holiday weekend, Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees made official what parents have known for a while now: Michigan Technical Academy is closing. The pre-k through 8th grade charter school in Detroit has been open for more than a decade.

The state had threatened to close the school in the spring, over persistently low performance on standardized tests.

Keeria Myles says her 8-year-old daughter, Sonja, had only been at the school one year, but loved it.

“She’s upset about it and she feels like it’s her fault,” Myles said.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

The number of Michigan kids who attend virtual schools has exploded in the past eight years. But a new study suggests those students aren’t keeping pace with their peers.

In the 2009-2010 school year, there were just two virtual schools in Michigan that enrolled fewer than 1,000 students. Today, there are 66 online schools with enrollment just shy of 14,000 kids.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A judge has extended a freeze on $2.5 million in state aid for Michigan private schools at least until a court hearing Wednesday.

  Opponents are challenging the appropriation to private schools for fire drills, inspections and other state requirements. They say it violates the Michigan Constitution's ban on aid for non-public schools.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A college education is getting more expensive in the state of Michigan.

Last month, many Michigan colleges and universities approved tuition increases for this fall.  And starting today, interest rates on federally backed student loans are rising too.  

Interest rates on loans for undergrads are rising from 3.76% to 4.45%.   Overtime, that increase will add hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to the cost of getting a degree.

Durfee Elementary-Middle School in Northwest Detroit
Jenna Belevender

Gov. Rick Snyder has reversed course and moved Michigan's school turnaround office back to a state department over which he has no direct control.

The move Friday comes two years after Snyder transferred the School Reform Office from the Department of Education - whose leader is hired by elected members of the state Board of Education - to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

EAA
Sarah Cwiek/Michigan Radio

The state's experiment in running a school district ends this week: the Education Achievement Authority will cease to exist as of Friday.

Its 15 schools will be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District. So, did anything actually work under the EAA?

Nir Saar is the principal of the Mumford Academy in Northwest Detroit.
Courtesy of Nir Saar

Michigan's experiment in running a school district ends this week.

The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) will cease to exist as of Friday. Its 15 schools will be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Nir Saar, the principal of the Mumford Academy in Northwest Detroit, joined Stateside to look back at the EAA's legacy and what we can learn from it.

white building with columns and yellow tree in front
VasenkaPhotography / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Leaders from some of the world’s most prestigious universities gathered for a meeting of the minds today at the University of Michigan.

They are taking part in the UM President's Bicentennial Colloquium, which includes a session titled “The Evolving Bargain between Research Universities and Society.”

44 percent of Michigan 3rd graders tested proficient in English and Language Arts. The scores for African-American, latino and low-income students were even worse.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Friday marks the last day of the Education Achievement Authority, Michigan's controversial state-run turnaround district. 

The EAA's 15 schools will stay open, but they'll be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Sonya Mays, treasurer for the DPSCD school board, says the district is working with the EAA to make it a smooth transition for students. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University plans to press incoming freshmen to sign up for more courses.

MSU President Lou Anna Simon says studies show first-year college students who take 30 credits their freshman year are more likely to graduate in four years.

“If you take more credits, no matter your preparation the first year, you’re going to be able to graduate higher,” says Simon, “Student success is really important because you’re investing a lot of money and the value of your degree is when you finish.”

USER: RICHEVENHOUSE / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A $2.5 million budget item has triggered a growing battle over whether Michigan can funnel state money to private and parochial schools.

It began when Michigan's Republican-controlled Legislature added that $2.5 million to the state's $16.1 billion education budget. The money was to reimburse private and parochial schools for the cost of complying with state-mandated safety measures.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The latest version of changes to the state’s teacher retirement plan passed through committees Wednesday. The changes were announced late Tuesday and received committee hearings early Wednesday morning.  

The House and Senate adopted identical amendments to bills their respective chambers had already introduced.

Democrats have largely been left out of behind the scenes negotiations between the governor and leaders of the House and Senate. Democratic Representative Winne Brinks voiced her frustration with the speed the bills were moving during a committee hearing.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

A deal for the state’s budget and teacher retirement has been made.

Top Republican lawmakers and Governor Rick Snyder have been in a stalemate over what to do with the teacher’s retirement plan.

But now a deal is in place.

The current teacher retirement plan gives teachers the option between a straight 401K and a hybrid 401K and pension-type plan.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Michigan's zero tolerance policies were part of a 'tough on discipline' trend that was big in the 1990s, but countless studies since then have shown that zero tolerance doesn't work and many states have amended their school discipline laws to reflect that.

Brian Hart / Flickr

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book reveals that Michigan lags behind in nearly every aspect of child well-being. The report lists Michigan at 32nd among states for overall child well-being.

The report looks at health, education, economic well-being and family and community as part of a national effort to improve conditions for children and their families.

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Michigan has made major strides when it comes to the number of kids enrolled in state-funded preschool.

The state now ranks 15th in the country according to a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).

The state’s Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) serves kids whose families make up to 250 percent of the federal poverty line. It enrolled almost 39,000 kids last year, which is a 64 percent increase from 2012. 

Tracy Samilton

For most Michigan kids, the school year is over next week. 

But for the 300-some kids at Taylor International Academy in Southfield, it ended twelve days early, after the charter's management company suddenly pulled its staff, including the principal.

Aaron Katchen / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Back in March of 2010, I did a commentary on Michigan Radio about the animus being directed at teachers.  I expressed a common sentiment among educators at the time that we were bewildered by this development. 

A year later, I followed up with another one, an update if you will, where I expressed surprise that the situation had actually worsened.

kids walking in a school hallway
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

A school reform plan implemented in Michigan in 2012 didn't actually improve schools.

That’s according to a new working paper published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study looked at reforms implemented as part of the state's waiver from requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed state budget includes a 20% cut to per pupil spending for virtual charter schools, but lawmakers in both the state House and Senate want to continue funding online schools at the same rate as traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

Upward Bound alum Amy Lehigh, and parent of alum Jackie Allard.
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Many programs are on the chopping block in President Trump's proposed budget.

That includes the Upward Bound program, which helps rural low-income kids who are the first in their families to go to college.

Upward Bound is for students in 9th-12th grades, offering field trips along with academic instruction in subjects like math, literature and foreign languages.  Students learn how to study in college, how to take good notes, and what to expect once they get on campus.

Stateside 5.31.2017

May 31, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear why Michigan advocates say protecting LGBT rights has to be a state issue. And, turns out what you learned in school about the Underground Railroad wasn't the whole story.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s been a high-speed first few days on the job for Detroit’s new school superintendent.

Nikolai Vitti began his new job last Tuesday and jumped right in with school visits, and meeting and talking with teachers, parents and staffers.

University of Michigan MSIS / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

Recently, I read a story in the LA Times entitled, “'A sea of despair': White Americans without college degrees are dying younger.” It was about a Princeton study on mortality rates. Apparently, all ethnic groups are living longer with the exception of white Americans. The researchers suggest that decades of underemployment have had a damaging effect on the group’s financial and personal decisions, making them an easy target for profiteers and ideologues. The message: You need a college education if you don’t want to die young.

Nikolai Vitti
via Twitter

Detroit’s new schools superintendent knows he’s taking on a tough job, but he’s also convinced the troubled district can turn around, and prove that “traditional urban public education works.”

Nikolai Vitti has started laying the groundwork for that. He took over as superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District last week.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

This will be the second so-called adequacy study to try to figure out the cost of educating a child in Michigan.

Nikolai Vitti shakes hands at a teacher recruitment fair at Detroit's Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s new schools superintendent says it’s “time to think differently” about some pressing issues—including the district’s chronic, ongoing teacher shortage.

It’s Nikolai Vitti’s first week on the job as head of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

On Monday, Vitti met with teachers’ union leadership, visited two schools, and stopped by a teacher recruitment fair. He said the lack of teachers in too many classrooms is taking a toll on everyone in DPSCD schools.

pictures of rock garden
Courtesy of @GHHSBucs / Twitter

When a teen is depressed and wrestling with thoughts of suicide, the stigma associated with mental illness can be a huge barrier to reaching out for help.

That's why the culture and climate at school is so crucial. Schools need teachers and administrators who know the warning signs of a mental health crisis and what to do next to support their students. 

At Grand Haven Public Schools, six students have died by suicide since 2011. Those tragic losses have spurred the district to revamp the way they talk about mental health. 

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