Education

www.melodyarabo.com

Last spring’s Michigan Teacher of the Year, Melody Arabo, joined us today to talk about her first book, A Diary of a Real Bully.

Arabo’s book stems from her third grade classroom at Keith Elementary School in Walled Lake. There, she witnessed bullying and was shocked to find out which kids unveiled themselves as the bullies.

hmm360/morguefile

Every year, thousands of the state's best and brightest collect diplomas from Michigan colleges and universities and then leave for Chicago, New York and other cities. However, two lawmakers think tax credits could help keep the brain drain at bay.

Shoveling in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State Rep. Phil Potvin is from Cadillac, where there's been a lot of snow this year. 

But he says there are a lot of school districts that could use some more wiggle room when it comes to snow days.

His bill would increase the number from six to nine.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Saginaw school district could soon be out of debt. And it can thank the defunct Buena Vista School District. 

The school board voted tonight to accept a $5 million offer for the old Buena Vista High School from an educational services company.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Monster trucks may be an incentive for thousands of Detroit Public School students to get to class next Wednesday. 

Every one of the district’s 47,000 Students will receive two tickets to an upcoming monster truck show at Ford Field.

DPS spokesman Steve Wasko says the ticket giveaway is a sign of support in the community for Detroit schools.

Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren / via Facebook

Over the past two decades, nearly everything about going to school in Detroit has changed.

School choice has meant an explosion of charters in and around the city. Now, more Detroit kids attend charters than traditional public schools.

As for Detroit Public Schools, the district has been under some kind of state control for 12 out of the past 15 years.

Despite these changes, most people feel like the schools situation in the city has gotten worse, not better.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Raw tests scores can't give you a full picture of student academic achievement. There are many other factors that figure into how students learn. That's why Bridge Magazine has created a ranking that takes into account not only grade-level test results, but also students' household incomes.

For the magazine's Academic State Champs this year, 73 of Michigan's 507 school districts have earned top marks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many school districts around Michigan own buildings they are not using. 

A state lawmaker wants to make sure those buildings don’t fall to the wrecking ball if another educational institution wants to buy them. 

Last week, the Saginaw Board of Education voted not to accept a multi-million dollar offer from a local charter school for a building the district was trying to sell. The board then voted to use state funds to tear the building down.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Opposition to merging Saginaw’s two public high schools appears to be turning to resignation.

A year ago, dozens of people angrily criticized closing either Saginaw or Arthur Hill high school. A public hearing last night was more muted.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Saginaw school officials face big decisions about some of the district’s buildings this week. Wednesday, the Saginaw School Board may vote to sell the old Buena Vista high school to an out of state education company.   The sale would net about five million dollars.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers are making third-graders' reading proficiency a significant focus this year.

  They have unspecified plans to improve kids' literacy long before they're 8 or 9 years old. But it remains unclear how far policymakers will go to deal with students who still aren't reading well enough by the end of third grade.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren is pushing hard to publish a set of recommendations for improving Detroit schools by the end of March.

The group is gathering feedback from community and key leaders over a 90-day period to find solutions for a district hit hard by a dwindling population, and a fractured school landscape.

U.S Embassy Manila, Phillipines / flickr

More than 21,000 4 year olds have been enrolled in free preschool in Michigan over the past two years, according to Ron French at Bridge Magazine. It's the result of the biggest pre-school expansion in the nation

In 2012, a Bridge investigation found that about 30,000 pre-school aged kids that qualified for free preschool were not attending due to lack of funding, logistical issues or lack of transportation services. 

A. Nich / Flickr

The state has rejected ACT’s claim that Michigan unfairly switched its free college entrance exam to the SAT starting in spring 2016.

  ACT protested two aspects of the bidding process. It said the state changed the timeline of the proposed contract and penalized ACT for having a writing portion. It says both of those things unfairly benefitted SAT.

State officials say they reviewed those concerns carefully.

FLICKR USER STEVEN DEPOLO / FLICKR

One of the most challenging issues facing the new state Legislature is school finance.

The Citizens Research Council recently released a report spotlighting shrinking school enrollment and the associated financial difficulties for districts. The report offers suggestions about how Lansing could support these struggling districts.

Craig Thiel, senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council, joined us today. He says the last time school enrollment was close to what it is now was the late 1950s.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The new Detroit Federation of Teachers’ President says it’s time for the union to “draw a line in the sand.”

Steve Conn was just elected to lead the union of nearly 4,000 Detroit Public Schools teachers.

He took the oath of office Tuesday, vowing to take a hard line against Gov. Snyder, the district’s new emergency manager, Darnell Earley — and the years of state-led intervention Conn says have devastated the district.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan will pay for a study within a year to determine what it costs to sufficiently educate a student.

The law signed this week by Governor Rick Snyder requires the state to then report the study's finding to the Legislature, governor and state auditor.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan-Flint is getting two million dollars to start a Center for Entrepreneurship.

The money comes from Philip Hagerman.  The founder of a Genesee County pharmaceutical company says the center will benefit the wider Flint community.

morgueFile

The ACT is appealing Michigan’s decision to switch its eleventh grade standardized test to the SAT.

The state gives high school juniors a free college entrance exam as part of their state assessment.

The ACT claims the state’s bidding process unfairly favored the SAT. For example, it said ACT lost points because it includes a writing portion.

State officials say they made an extra effort to make sure the bidding process was fair.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is moving into a new role: as emergency manager of the Detroit Public Schools.

Gov. Snyder named Darnell Earley as the school district’s fourth consecutive emergency manager on Tuesday.

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

The odds are stacked against the more than 20,000 young people who age out of foster care each year. Nearly half drop out of high school, and those who make it to college rarely graduate.

Maddy Day, the director of outreach and training at the Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University, and Chris Harris, director of the Seita Scholars Program at Western, joined us to discuss how their programs are helping young people get into and graduate from college.

Classroom
User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Governor Snyder has chosen Darnell Earley, Flint's current emergency manager, to replace Jack Martin as Detroit Public School's emergency manager.

Chastity Pratt Dawsey, who covers education issues for Bridge Magazine, talked to us about what this means for DPS.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This is a crucial week for the future of the Detroit Public Schools—and possibly holds a key test for Michigan’s emergency manager law, too.

The school district’s third emergency manager, Jack Martin, is expected to leave this week, after serving in that post for 18 months.

Under Michigan’s revised emergency manager law, elected officials—in this case, the Detroit Board of Education—can remove an emergency manager after that period of time by a 2/3 vote. The board has indicated they intend to do just that.

This week, the White House rolled out a proposal to provide free community college tuition to qualifying students, which could remove financial barriers to post-secondary education in Michigan, where just one in three people has an associate’s degree or higher.

Before we dive too far in, here are the “buts.”

Shannan Muskopf / Flickr Creative Commons

Michigan's plan to switch its 11th grade standardized test from the ACT to the SAT in 2016 is too much change too fast, according to some educators.

Wendy  Zdeb-Roper, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, said many of the state's high school principals were caught off guard by yesterday's announcement by the Michigan Department of Education.

Michigan recently increased the time spent on mandatory testing for eleventh graders, in some cases requiring eight partial days of testing. Educators across the country are concerned about the growing number of tests kids must take and how the time spent on them detracts from actual learning. But if you cut back on standardized tests, what can we do to gauge student learning and, in turn, teacher effectiveness?

Mercedes Mejia

Eleventh grade is a pretty stressful year for kids. There's the ACT (which will soon be replaced by the SAT). There are college tours to schedule, and applications to complete.

And the stress level is about to to get amped up. That's because Michigan's high school juniors face a much heavier load of testing this spring.

Chastity Pratt Dawsey joined us. She reports on education for Bridge Magazine. Jeffrey Bohl also joined us: he's the principal of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek.

A.Nich / Flickr

Michigan high school juniors will take the SAT instead of the ACT starting in spring 2016. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced the switch on Wednesday.

The state has provided a free college entrance exam for eleventh graders on the state’s standardized test for several years.

The College Board – the company that administers the SAT – won a three-year, $17.1 million contract.

MDE spokesperson Martin Ackley says the SAT will be a better test that will save the state money.

http://www.michigan.gov/ok2say

A Michigan school safety initiative received more than 400 tips in its first semester of operation, according to an announcement today by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue.

Called OK2SAY!, the program lets students use phone, text, web, and email to submit confidential reports of possible threats to students, teachers and other school staff. 

The 410 verified tips include 163 for bullying and cyberbullying, 54 for suicide threats, and 13 for child abuse.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A civil lawsuit filed in November against Grand Rapids Public Schools claims administrators failed to protect five teenage students from sexual assault. Now, the district is disputing those claims. It’s asking a federal judge to dismiss the case.  

Jamila Williams, a former math teacher at Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, was convicted of four counts of criminal sexual conduct for having sex with underage boys. She’s now in prison.

Pages