Education

Education
3:57 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Despite more school choice, Detroit parents still frustrated

A charter advocacy group gives Michigan's charter law a passing grade
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

Eighty percent of Detroit parents say they do not believe the city's public schools are the best choice for their child. But they’re split on the other options as well.

A new survey from the Detroit News and the Thompson Foundation asks Detroit parents how they feel about their school choices.

Only one in five parents picked DPS as the best for their kid. But even with the recent increase in school options - charter, private, public schools outside the city - none was a clear winner.

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Education
4:27 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Ann Arbor parents protest school tests

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

Parents of children in Ann Arbor public schools are gathering signatures against what they call the overuse of standardized tests. 

More than 150 people have signed the online petition so far.

They say students are tested too often between the pre-tests, practice tests and targeted testing for reading and math. 

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Education
5:25 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Michigan's reform school district may become the state's largest

Mumford High School is one Detroit school already under the EAA's control.
detroitk12.org

A statewide reform school district could become the largest in Michigan over the next five years.

The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA)—the district instituted in 2011 to operate the lowest performing five percent of schools in the state—may add as many as 45 schools reports Lori Higgins of the Detroit Free Press.

From the Free Press:

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Education
5:02 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Nearly 40% of Michigan kids miss out on pre-k

iRon leSs flickr

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that nearly 1 in 4 kids in Michigan lives in poverty. For a family of four that means living on $23,000, or less per year.

Education
2:24 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Student-led march protests stereotyping of Battle Creek Central

Students took to the streets of Battle Creek this morning to protest recent depictions of violence surrounding Battle Creek Central.
battlecreekcvb flickr

A student-led march in downtown Battle Creek this morning protested recent violence and attempts to blame the violence on Battle Creek Central High School.

Over 2,000 marchers from across Calhoun County took to the streets in support of Battle Creek Central.

From the Battle Creek Enquirer:

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Education
11:48 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Former charter school director in Muskegon charged with falsifying count records

Image of the homepage for the WayPoint Academy charter school in Muskegon.
www.4waypoint.com

Student Count Day just took place across Michigan earlier this week. The amount of state aid a school receives is dependent on the number of students attending.

Now we hear news about a charter school director who may have falsified student count records.

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Education
3:04 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Stateside: Operation Kindness fights bullying in Sterling Heights school

Operation Kindness was inspired by the anti-bullying program Rachel's Challenge.
Rachel's Challenge

On any given day, as many as 160,000 students stay home from school because they’re afraid to face the bullies they may encounter in classrooms, lunchrooms and school hallways. 

As author Patricia Polacco noted in her interview with Cyndy, it seems that peer-to-peer programs are most effective and pack the most power against bullies.

Such a program is going on at Jeannette Middle School in Sterling Heights, part of the Utica Community Schools.

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Education
2:22 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Detroit schools' leaders to voters: Renew Proposal S

DPS emergency financial manager Roy Roberts says without Proposal S, the district would be severely crippled.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools’ leaders are united behind an effort to renew Proposal S.

That’s a millage that accounts for more than 20% of the district’s day-to-day expenses, or about $80 million.

It was a rare moment of unity for the various factions that run Detroit schools. But emergency financial manager Roy Roberts, school board President Lamar Lemmons, and Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson all agree: the district would be "severely crippled" without Proposal S.

“We’ve put aside our differences on this critical issue," Lemmons said. "It’s not about politics. It’s about educating our students.”

Roberts emphasizes that it’s for basic operations costs, like paying teachers--and it’s for traditional Detroit Public schools, only.

“It will not be shared with EAA , charter schools, nor any other school on the face of this earth,” Roberts insisted.

The EAA is the Education Achievement Authority, a new state-run district for failing schools that now has 15 former Detroit Public Schools.

Detroit voters initially approved the 18-mill levy on industrial, commercial, and rental properties in 2005.

Education
10:25 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Today is 'Count Day' at Michigan's public schools

TeachingWorks aims develop a nationwide system for all teaching programs, so that teachers are prepared the minute they walk into the classroom.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

It's count day at public school districts across Michigan.

This is the first year that "Fall Count Day" determines 90 percent of per-student funding for the 2012-2013 academic year (in prior years it was 75 percent).

A winter count day in February makes up the remaining 10 percent.

Many schools hold special events to make sure students come to class.

The Michigan Department of Education requires that students receive instruction in all classes on count day.

See more about the requirements here.

Education
8:14 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Using fencing to combat poverty and obesity in Detroit

Steve Snodgrass flickr

As part of Michigan Radio's Seeking Change series, Morning Edition host Christina Shockley talked with the founder of En Garde Detroit. It's a program teaches the sport of fencing to kids ages 8-16.

Founder Bobby Smith said getting kids involved in non-traditional sports can help them break the cycle of poverty and gain access to college. 

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Education
7:08 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Welfare benefits lost if children miss more than 10 days of school

User: macattck flickr

A new policy goes into effect Monday that takes away welfare benefits from families with children who miss more than 10 days of school without an excuse. Families that apply or re-apply for cash assistance will have to prove their kids don’t have too many unexcused absences.

David Akerly of the state Department of Human Services says that information is easily available from school districts. Akerly says the policy is not about saving money. It’s meant to be a strategic attack on one of the causes of poverty, “which is education, lack of it, not being in class, not finishing school," he said.

Karen Holcomb-Merrell of the Michigan League for Human Services said transportation, homelessness, and other stresses on a family can contribute to truancy.

“It’s not clear to us what they intend to do to help the families that are having trouble getting their kids to school," said Holcomb-Merrell.

David Akerly said it’s easier to connect families to help when their kids are in school.

*correction - An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed the quote to David Akerly. It has been corrected in the copy above.

Education
3:17 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Look who's talking -- or not: MSU examines how teams work with other teams

mconnors MorgueFile

Scientists who are helping to build the a nuclear research facility at Michigan State University are the focus of a study that looks at teamwork. 

The construction of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams -- or F-RIB -- will take thousands of people.

The National Science Foundation kicked in about a million dollars for a study to see how well the teams communicate and work with other teams.

MSU Professor John Hollenbeck is one of the leaders of the study.

He says they'll use electronic badges with GPS to monitor interactions.

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Education
6:22 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Michigan Ranked 8th Worst in funding

Michigan ranks 8th worst in the nation for state support of public research universities.  That’s according to an 8 year study by the National Science Board. 

Funding from states averaged 20-percent lower - and universities’ reliance on tuition for revenue was up to 50 percent higher during the study.  Michigan per pupil funding has dropped almost a third during the study.

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Education
1:39 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Detroit schools find new way to buy school supplies

Detroit Public Schools' officials have found a new way to buy school supplies.
MyTudut flickr

The Detroit Public School district has turned to an online site used mostly by federal contractors to get its school supplies.

Officials credit “FedBid” with helping the district save hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few months.

Bidders announce their intent to buy a product. Suppliers then compete to offer the best price.

District spokesman Steve Wasko said it has helped fix some problems with getting supplies to classrooms.

“This has been, not only from a supply standpoint but from all standpoints, a very smooth start to the school year—at least by way of comparison with previous years,” said Wasko.

Wasko said it's also a good way to save money without compromising the quality of education.

The district’s current budget calls for cutting five million dollars from its procurement budget.

District officials estimate using FedBid alone could save up to three million.

Education
5:46 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Stateside: U of M President Mary Sue Coleman to visit Brazil

Mary Sue Coleman / Wikipedia

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman and several researchers will travel to Brazil this coming Saturday for a very busy week of meetings and working sessions.

The U-M group hopes the visit will strengthen relationships with several leading universities and foundations. Coleman previously led U-M faculty to China, Ghana and South Africa.

Coleman said this trip presents a wonderful opportunity to listen to colleagues in Brazil. She hopes to provide new opportunities for collaboration and attract more Brazilian students to the University of Michigan.

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Education
1:23 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Grading how school districts rate their teachers

(courtesy of KQED)

A new report suggests school districts in Michigan are not doing a good job of evaluating their teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom. A state law passed in 2011 requires districts to evaluate teachers, and rate them as highly effective, effective, minimally effective, or ineffective.

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Call-in show
10:53 am
Tue September 18, 2012

State of Opportunity: Special call-in show today at 2 p.m.

State of Opportunity Michigan Radio

Join us this afternoon at 2 p.m. for a special call-in show. We'll examine the disparities that exist in our society, and how they make it more difficult for children to break out of the cycle of poverty.

Michigan Radio reporters are working on a new three-year initiative to explore the issue of children living in poverty here Michigan. State of Opportunity captures the stories of children and families struggling to make ends meet. We’re going beyond the statistics and exploring what it takes to make Michigan a place where our every kid have a chance to build a positive future.

“Our project kind of has two ways at looking at these issues. We look at statistics, we look at data, and we look at trends. But then when we talk to the individuals, the individual stories don’t always match up with those trends,” reporter Dustin Dwyer said.

Reporter Jennifer Guerra is currently working on a documentary about the infant mortality rate in the state. She says the information she found was staggering. “Infant mortality is still a big problem in Michigan. We’re above the national average for the past twenty years,” she said.

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Education
1:48 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Charter company faces challenges running public school district in first weeks of class

Mosaica was hired in July, 2012 to run the schools. (L toR) Mosaica Regional Vice President Alena Zachery Ross, Mosaica founder and President Gene Eidelman, and Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The first two weeks of class have presented some obstacles for Michigan’s first fully privatized public school district.

Muskegon Heights schools' emergency financial manager hired Mosaica Education, a charter school company, in July to run the K-12 system while he focuses on paying off the district’s debt. Highland Park schools’ EFM took the same option later that month.

Alena Zachery-Ross is the top administrator at the new Muskegon Height Public School Academy System. She’s very positive, but admits the first two weeks didn’t go “as smoothly” as she expected.

“There are all these things that you don’t think of. There are small details that we want to ensure are taken care of immediately but they take time,” Zachery-Ross said. She says these 'day-to-day' details are important but she must stick to a priority list.

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Education
12:30 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Top five Michigan colleges in 'tuition restraint,' all 15 receive the bonus

Central Michigan University will receive the biggest 'tuition restraint' bonus payment in the next fiscal year.
user gomich Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder and Republicans in the legislature made significant cuts to the state's public university system when they first came into office.

As part of the cuts, they set up bonus payments to schools if they met certain performance measures, and if they kept their tuition increases in check.

Earlier this month, the State House Fiscal Agency  released a breakdown of how much each school will get in bonus payments.

All 15 public universities kept their tuition increases at or below 4 percent, so all 15 schools will receive a 'tuition restraint' bonus payment.

This fiscal year, the pot for 'tuition restraint' bonus money is set at $9.1 million for all 15 universities.

Central Michigan will receive the biggest payment. From the Detroit Free Press:

Central Michigan University's decision to keep its tuition rate increase for this school year lower than that of other state schools is paying off to the tune of almost $1.8 million in extra state aid from a fund set up to reward universities for smaller hikes.

CMU raised its tuition rate by 2%, the lowest in the state. It will get 19.6% of the bonus money.

The top five schools for keeping tuition hikes in check (and their associated bonus payments) are:

  1. Central Michigan University -  $1.8 million
  2. Ferris State University - $1.3 million
  3. UM in Ann Arbor - $1.1 million
  4. Lake Superior State - $1.0 million
  5. Oakland - $930,000

The Detroit Free Press has a breakdown of tuition increases and bonus payments for all 15 public universities.

Education
1:39 pm
Sat September 15, 2012

Michigan schools mull Pledge of Allegiance, US flag bills

file photo
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The time-honored tradition of students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance soon could be enshrined into Michigan law - along with a requirement that every public school classroom have a U.S. flag.

The Michigan Legislature has approved the measures with little resistance, and the flag legislation is heading to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.

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