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Education

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint school board has picked a former emergency manager to be the district’s interim superintendent.

Gregory Weatherspoon says he’s learned things that can help Flint schools from his stints as EM in Muskegon Heights and Highland Park schools, and recently was Benton Harbor interim school superintendent.

Michigan superintendent Brian Whiston
Michigan Department of Education

State schools superintendent Brian Whiston is stepping down and taking long-term disability leave so he can focus on fighting cancer.

Whiston made the announcement today at a meeting of the Michigan State Board of Education.

Whiston set a goal of making Michigan one of the nation’s top 10 states when it comes to the quality of schools. He says plans that have been put in place to turn around struggling schools make that possible.

“They’re just now in progress, and it’s just very sad to me that I won’t be part of seeing whether they all worked or not,” Whiston said.

Kayla Ford
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

All across the country, students and some teachers stood up at 10 a.m., walked out of their classrooms, and spent the next 17 minutes honoring the 17 people killed in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting.

Many schools in Michigan took part in this national school walkout, demanding action from lawmakers on school safety and guns.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A bill on its way to the state Senate floor would prevent school union reps from getting paid release time when they're on union business.   SB 796 passed the state Senate Education committee on a four to one vote Tuesday.

State Sen. Marty Knollenberg [R-Troy) insists his bill is not infringing on local school boards' authority when negotiating contracts.

“We’re not taking away collective bargaining.  We’re not taking away leave time,” says Knollenberg. “We’re just saying…taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for work being done by a private organization.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint public school district is beginning the search for a new superintendent.

Bilal Tawwab became Flint schools superintendent in 2015. His tenure has been dominated by the city’s tainted tap water crisis. Recent tests have shown lead levels remain high in several Flint schools.

Stateside 3.13.2018

Mar 13, 2018

Today on Stateside, teachers share what it's like to conduct lockdown drills with students. Then, a national expert offers tips on how to take back control during an active shooter situation. And, we talk about the hazy IPA from Williamston that's all the rage.

Blue lockers
Flickr user C.C. Chapman

As we debate solutions for gun violence in our schools, teachers and administrators continue to prepare for active shooter situations by holding lockdown drills.

Protesters against Richard Spencer at MSU
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

White supremacist Richard Spencer might not be visiting the University of Michigan anytime soon.

He announced an indefinite halt to his national college tour Sunday in a video posted on YouTube.

Spencer blames violence between his supporters and protestors at his Michigan State University event last week, where more than a dozen arrests were made.

Central Michigan University

Classes are set to resume at Central Michigan University tomorrow.

It will be the first time back on campus for many students since a deadly shooting 10 days ago.

Professional counselors and therapy dogs will be available for students as they return to campus.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers this week will consider a bill that would make it easier for high school students to learn about careers they may want to pursue.

State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, says his bill would give high school credit to students who complete an internship during their junior or senior years.

LaFave says his bill will cut through existing red tape that discourages high school students from exploring careers while still in school. 

“This is going to help I think with retention and graduation completion,” says LaFave.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some faculty members at the University of Michigan are demanding better pay, and say they’re willing to go on strike to get it.

The Lecturers' Employee Organization represents over 1500 non-tenure-track teaching faculty across the university’s three campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint. A group of LEO members met Friday on the UM-Dearborn campus to talk strategy about ongoing contract negotiations.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Some college administrators don't like some of the proposed new standards for Michigan student teachers.

New bills would require student teachers to be better prepared before they enter the classroom. 

But officials at some Michigan universities that train student teachers are concerned about aspects of the bills.  

school bus
Shinichi Sugiyama / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Getting kids to school in Detroit can be a real hassle. Some parents drive their kids nearly 30 minutes to get them to their school of choice, whether that’s a public school or a charter school.

In his State of the City address this week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan outlined a plan: Pick an area, then offer bus service from school to school, public or private, and to a center for daycare.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has proposed a city-wide education commission, but lots of key details are still in the works.

The commission would be “convened” by the mayor’s office, and include teachers, parents, and other representatives from both traditional public and charter schools. It would mainly serve in an “advisory” role, and would lack the power to do things like open or close schools, according to Duggan’s office.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A special statewide hotline saw a significant jump in tips of possible school attacks in Michigan last month.

The OK2SAY hotline was started several years ago to give Michigan students a place to call to complain about bullies or warn of a student considering suicide.

Stateside 3.6.2018

Mar 6, 2018

Today on Stateside, we learn Michigan third grade reading levels went down despite a recent $80 million investment intended to improve proficiency. We also discuss the House committee report that found Russian trolls stirred up the Line 5 debate. And, a criminologist explains why playing video games does not lead to violent crime.

Child reading
User Melanie / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

 

Michigan has pumped nearly $80 million into boosting third-grade reading levels.

But the latest analysis from The Education Trust-Midwest shows despite all that money, early reading scores went down.

Third-graders in Michigan are the last in the nation for early literacy, and we're one of the few states actually losing ground in third-grade reading levels.

COURTESY OF MICHELLE HUDACK

There are more than three-quarters of a million people in Michigan over age 23 who never graduated high school.

Now, there is a way for them to get not a GED, but a high school diploma. There are also job-training courses in construction trades and health care available.

Just think: a high school diploma and training for jobs that are going unfilled in Michigan — and it’s all absolutely free.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, state lawmakers will consider a package of bills that would affect how colleges prepare student teachers.

Suzanne Gibbs is an elementary school teachers in Spring Arbor. During her 20 years, she’s had a lot of student teachers in her classroom. She admits it hasn’t always been a good experience.

“It’s scary to let those candidates in sometimes.  Because you don’t know what you’re going to get,” says Gibbs.

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
User alkruse24 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The only Michigan school district left under emergency management will transition back to local control.

A multi-million dollar deficit prompted a state takeover of Highland Park Public Schools in 2012.

Now the district and the Michigan Department of Treasury are reviewing options to transition to a form of local governance.

Emergency Manager Kevin Smith was appointed in January of 2014. His term ends in April.

Smith has drafted a District Educational Strategic Plan 2018-2023, which he expects to share with stakeholders early this month.

CMU police department

UPDATE: 4:00 p.m.

While it has not been confirmed by officials at Central Michigan University, the Bellwood, Illinois police department says the victims of today's shootings were the parents of suspect James Eric Davis Jr.
 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state House committee has approved a bill creating an “A thru F” grading system for Michigan schools.

The bill approved by the House Education Reform committee would use existing criteria to create a letter grade system for evaluating schools. HB 5526 now moves to the full state House.

Lance Cpl. Aaron Fiala / United States Marine Corp

A southeastern Michigan middle school student is in custody after authorities say he took an inactive grenade to school and made threatening statements to other students.

 The Monroe Police Department and the Monroe Public Schools say the student was lodged in a detention center Wednesday after a school resource officer found the grenade in the student's locker. The device had been modified and was incapable of detonating. Police say the student showed the device to other students and made the threatening statements. A student reported the incident to a teacher.

Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids Public Schools will not remove its head of special education, despite possible legal action.

Six local unions and some parents and faculty claim Laura LaMore has done a poor job running the district’s special ed program.

They complain of poor placement of students and not enough staff. The petition even says, “Staff  fear bullying. So many great, experienced professionals have been pushed out or left because of poor working conditions, excessive caseloads and intimidation.”

Courtesy of Matinga Ragatz

Students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School today in Florida – their first time back after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting two weeks ago.

The Parkland shooting has seemed to galvanize students, citizens, corporations, and politicians into action. Most everyone agrees something must be done to make our schools safer.

Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University announced Wednesday that its president, Thomas J. Haas, plans to retire in 2019.

Haas became the fourth president of the university in 2006. Since then, Grand Valley has grown considerably, adding 30 undergraduate programs and 16 graduate programs. With over 25,000 students, it's now the fourth largest university in Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Teachers in Michigan’s second-largest school district are taking big cuts in their new contract.

The two-year contract approved this week includes wage and benefit concessions from Utica teachers of more than $9 million.   

The agreement includes:

·         Five furlough days

·         Benefit change to high deductible health insurance

·         Dental insurance carrier change

·         Step freeze for the first year of the agreement (2017-2018)

·         Half-step freeze for the second year of the agreement (2018-2019)

Pension paybacks for Detroit district employees may show up in March

Feb 27, 2018
A person writing a check
RikkisRefuge Other / FLICKR - creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Thousands of Detroit district school employees may reap the benefits of a lawsuit over pension funding as soon as March.

School employees who worked for Detroit’s main district between 2010 and 2011 can expect refund checks in their mailboxes soon, district leaders say, but making sure the money ends up in the right place will be difficult.

The reimbursements are the outcome of a controversial move during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration to withhold additional money from employees’ paychecks to pay for retiree health care benefits.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers will roll out bills today designed to combat sexual misconduct on college campuses. It’s part of the Legislature’s initial response to issues at Michigan State University.

The measures would require coaches and trainers to report suspicions of abuse. They would also ban the governmental immunity defense Michigan State University has tried to use to fend off sexual assault lawsuits filed by victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Tulane Public Relations / Creative Commons

Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants to spend his last year in office focused on creating a workforce to fill more than 800,000 current and future openings.

He calls it a “Marshall Plan” for developing talent, borrowing the name of the massive effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.  It aims to invest in training for jobs in skilled trades, information technology, and health care.

Snyder said he’s made filling positions in sought-after high-tech fields a priority already.

“But we need a capstone accelerator. That’s what the Marshall Plan is – to accelerate this.”

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