Education

Education
8:00 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Muskegon Heights students hope for less "chaos" as they return to class today

Muskegon Heights schools emergency financial manager Don Weatherspoon (right) talks to Muskegon Area Intermediate School Board members. Without the MAISD's help, Weatherspoon said “we would be probably still be fighting our way out of the mud."
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Muskegon Heights students are heading back to class today to begin the second half of what’s been a very turbulent school year.

This story is the first in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find part two here, part three here, and part four here.  

Muskegon Heights Public School Academy mini series. Feature 1 of 4.

Old district “implodes” after years-long financial problems

The school board in Muskegon Heights battled a budget deficit for at least six years in a row. They gave up the fight a year ago and asked the state to just take over. 

“The system that was in place imploded,” said Don Weatherspoon, the guy the state eventually sent in late April to be the emergency manager.

"Enrollment went down, costs went up, they borrowed more than they could pay back; you’re on a collision course with disaster and that’s what happened," Weatherspoon explained. Student enrollment is a big factor in how much money a school district receives from the state.

“Everything that you can think of basically broke down. Discipline, learning, record-keeping, financial accounting, etc,” Weatherspoon said.

By May, Weatherspoon discovered the district is more than $16 million dollars in debt; so much debt it couldn’t afford to open school in the fall.

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Education
3:54 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

With strike threat looming, Wayne State and professors talk through the holidays

With the threat of a faculty strike looming, both sides in Wayne State University contract talks say they'll continue working toward a deal.

The two sides have met over the holidays, and additional bargaining sessions scheduled. In the meantime, the faculty contract that expired last summer has been extended once again, this time through mid-February.

Talks “made some progress” on Thursday—but not enough, says Charles Parrish, a political science professor and lead negotiator for the faculty union

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Education
5:22 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

UM's futuristic printers can print out 3D objects

Designing the digital model
UM3DLab YouTube.com

Some printers at the University of Michigan can make unusual prints.

Machines  in the University's 3D Lab can produce three-dimensional sculptures, car parts and even model human body parts. A student or faculty member can design a model, take it to the U-of-M's 3-D lab and leave hours later with their object in hand.

Here's how it works:

A student or faculty member designs a model on a computer. Technicians send the design to the refrigerator-sized machine, then a mechanical arm applies layers of material in cross-sections that slowly build up the model.

The machines layer plaster or heated plastic models as large as basketballs.

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Education
7:59 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Michigan Science Center opens in Detroit

There are tons of hands-on exhibits, presentations and interactive games for kids—and adults—at the new Michigan Science Center, which opened its doors to the public for the first time Wednesday.

The former Detroit Science Center had been shut down since it was on the brink of financial collapse last year.

But Ann Arbor businessman and Republican political heavyweight Ron Weiser bought the science center’s assets. He’s now sold them to the Michigan Science Center, a new non-profit.

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Education
10:28 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Improving the winter driving skills of Michigan teens

Winter driving can be hazardous for even the most experienced drivers. It can be esspecially dangerous for teenagers.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A website is launching just in time to help parents monitor and improve winter driving skills for teen drivers.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute created the site called - "safer driving for teens dot org".

“This promotes parents and teens communication with each other and clarity and what it is that’s expected. And some consequences…what will happen if the restrictions are not met,” says Jean Shope.  She’s with the Institute.

Education
10:18 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Declining enrollment may spell doom for some Michigan school districts

DETROIT (AP) - Declines in school enrollment across the Detroit area are driving school districts into debt and forcing administrators to make additional cuts.

Data reviewed by the Detroit Free Press shows that during the five years spanning fall 2008 to fall 2012 enrollment declined 17 percent in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne county school districts. Highland Park enrollment declined 69 percent, while Detroit dropped 29 percent. Romulus and Inkster declined 26 percent.

Overall, 20 Detroit-area districts had double-digit enrollment losses.

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Education
4:32 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

In the wake of right-to-work, Detroit charter school teachers press for union

The Cesar Chavez Academy high school campus in Detroit
Credit via www.chavezwaterman.com

Teachers and staff at a Detroit charter school are pressing forward with an effort to unionize.

Teachers at the Cesar Chavez Academy have filed to hold an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. They hope that will happen early next year.

Cesar Chavez serves more than 2000 students on several campuses in southwest Detroit. If a majority of their members votes to unionize, they will be represented by the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan.

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Education
9:00 am
Sun December 23, 2012

The words of the holidays

That's What They Say interview for 12/23/12

This week on That’s What They Say, Anne Curzan, English professor of the University of Michigan and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller discuss the origins of holiday words.

Here are a few:  

Mistletoe used to be called “mistleton.” “Ton” meant “twig” in old English.

The “yule” in the word “yuletide” refers to Christmas or the months of December and January, and “tide” means “a period or extent of time.” Therefore, “yuletide” means the “time of Christmas.”

And the “nog” in egg nog refers to strong ale.

Curzan and Miller also discuss how to pronounce the word “poinsettia” and Curzan explains that Santa’s reindeer named vixen is actually names after a female fox or a sexy woman.

Education
3:58 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

UMTRI launches website for Parents of Teen Drivers

A website is launching just in time to help parents monitor and improve winter driving skills for teen drivers.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute is launching the site called  Safer Driving for Teens.

Jean Shope serves as an associate director of UMTRI and says parents find it's worthwhile.  “We do find that teens whose parents have used this program, and they’ve had an agreement, drive in a less risky manner…and in other studies certainly have less crashes.”

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Education
5:16 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

How social media closed down more than 100 Michigan schools

Tweets from students help spread the rumors.
Elaine Ezekiel Michigan Radio

You might have heard how Genesee and Lapeer counties closed down all their schools today and tomorrow due to rumors spreading across Facebook, Twitter, and texts.

But how could a rumor close so many schools?

Below is a Storify narrative of how one text message prompted a social media wildfire in southeast Michigan.

You can click on any of the linked text or images to follow the story further.

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Education
5:12 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

A "one-man Dream Act" for Michigan grad

Despite a severe genetic disorder, Victor Chukwueke graduated from Wayne State University with two degrees
www.victorshope.org

Maybe this will finally do something for Congress’ approval ratings. This week, lawmakers passed a rare, “one-man Dream Act” for a Nigerian student living in Michigan.

Victor Chukwueke (say “chew-KWEK-ay”) was born with a severe genetic disorder that causes facial tumors. Doctors in Nigeria told him there was nothing they could do for his life-threatening condition.

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Education
10:35 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Internet rumors close Genesee Co., Lapeer schools

A Maya mask... made before the days of social media.
Wolfgang Sauber Wikipedia

Schools in Genesee and Lapeer counties will be closed tomorrow and Friday, amid threats circulated on social media.

From the Genesee Co. Intermediate School District Web site:

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Education
1:33 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

'Student revolt' threat affecting schools in Genesee County

About a half dozen Genesee County school districts are dealing with a bizarre internet rumor of plans for an armed ‘student revolt’ this Friday.

Police are investigating the alleged revolt, in the wake of last week’s school massacre in Connecticut and the Mayan ‘end of the world’ prophecy.

Grand Blanc schools Superintendent Norm Abdella says messages have been swirling on social media sites that students were planning to bring weapons to schools in Genesee County on Friday.

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Education
10:36 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Flint names interim school superintendent

Larry Watkins, interim Flint school district superintendent
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A long-time district administrator has been picked to be the interim Flint schools superintendent.

Larry Watkins likes to say he’s worked for the Flint school district since he was 14, when he was a high school locker room attendant.  He retired from the district in August, after a long career as an administrator.

Last night, the school board hired him back, on an interim basis, to fill the void left by last month’s retirement of Flint’s former superintendent.

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Education
5:07 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Stateside: Grand Rapids restructures its districts to save money, improve education

The Grand Rapids School Board approved a district restructuring plan
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

On Monday, The Grand Rapids School Board unanimously approved a district restructuring plan. Recommended by Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal, the plan aims to both improve student achievement and save money.

The “Transformation Plan” attempts to reinvent the school district by closing ten buildings, reopening one elementary and reforming other programs. The plan will save more than $22.4 million over five years, with at least half being re-invested in replicating and expanding effective school programs.

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Education
7:07 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Wayne State faculty ok possible strike

Wayne State University professors have authorized their union leaders to call a strike if they can’t otherwise reach an agreement with the school.

The faculty union and school administration have been mired in contentious contract negotiations for months.

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Education
12:33 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Back to school anxiety expected among some Michigan students today

A memorial for the victims at Sandy Hook elementary school.
frugal-cafe.com

Many Michigan school children may be feeling anxious about returning to school today in the wake of Friday’s school massacre. 

More than two dozen people died in the shooting spree at a school in Newtown, Connecticut.

A school counseling expert says teachers and other staff will have to be ready to help students with their concerns about safety.

Shawn Bultsma is the former president of the Michigan School Counselors Association. He also teaches school counselors at Grand Valley State University.

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Education
10:00 am
Sun December 16, 2012

Fan-freaking-tastic

That's What They Say interview for 12/15/12

This week on That’s What They Say, Anne Curzan, English professor of the University of Michigan and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller discuss the moving ‘n’ and infixing words.  

The moving ‘n’ is usually found in words like “a whole nother.”

Curzan says “nother” is a lot older than some may think.

“You can find in English back in the 14th century in expressions like ‘no nother’ which would have meant ‘no other’,” Curzan says.

But “a whole nother” isn’t the only example of the moving ‘n’.

“For example an ‘apron’ used to be a ‘napron’,” Curzan says. “Napron is related to napkin. But if you say napron, you can reinterpret that as an napron, an apron.”

Curzan and Miller also discuss the idea of infixing with words like “fan-freaking-tastic” and “absa-freaking-lutely.”

Education
10:18 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Michigan's education overhaul: What does 'college-ready' really mean?

Pershing High School in Detroit was one of the 238 schools that had zero "college-ready" students based on the 2010 Michigan Merit Exam.
MI SHPO flickr

On Wednesday, we heard Gov. Rick Snyder's chief education advisor say this:

"We have over 230 schools where zero children were college-ready when they got their high school diplomas," Richard McLellan.

McLellan was talking to Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra who reported on proposed changes to Michigan’s education system.

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Education
6:12 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Protesters ask for in-state tuition rates for undocumented U-M students

Protesters sit with Duct Tape at U of M Regents Mtg
Chris Zollars

A campaign to grant in-state tuition rates for undocumented students at the University of Michigan is heating up.

About a hundred students wearing yellow shirts with red duct tape over their mouths staged a sit-in protest at U of M's Board of Regents meeting Thursday.

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