Education

Education
12:59 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Detroit school for teen moms celebrates graduates 1 year after facing closure (Video)

A year after students rallied and, in some cases, got arrested to save their school from closure, the Catherine Ferguson Academy for pregnant and parenting teens recently celebrated the graduation of its senior class, capped off with some national media attention.

Rachel Maddow featured the graduates in her "Best New Thing in the World Today" segment (see below).

As Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reported last June, the Catherine Ferguson Academy was one of several Detroit public schools slated to close due to budgetary concerns, but it was saved at the eleventh hour when education officials agreed to turn it over to a charter organization.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
12:28 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Davenport University finds a new home in Lansing (again)

Davenport University president Rick Pappas (left) embraces Lansing mayor Virg Bernero during an announcement that the private college has found a new home in the capitol city.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Davenport University announced plans today to spend $10 million on a new campus in downtown Lansing.

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Commentary
10:08 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Commentary: Charter Schools, Going too far?

There something I’d like to ask the Emergency Managers of the school districts in Muskegon Heights and Highland Park. Simply, are you sure you know what you are doing?  Have you thought this through, not only from the point of view of your district, but in regards to the future of education and the state of Michigan?

What I am referring to is the decisions by both superintendents to turn their entire districts over to charter school systems. In other words, to essentially privatize education.

Now, there is no doubt that Muskegon Heights is in bad shape financially.

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Education
9:07 am
Tue June 19, 2012

A new way to pay for high school graduation programs

A bill before the Michigan Senate might give recent high school dropouts more flexibility to complete their education. 

The bill would not affect graduation standards; it would change the way schools with alternative education programs are paid by the state.

Alternative education programs can provide flexible hours, child-care, transportation, and on-line education for students.  The new bill would pay programs on a monthly basis rather than yearly.

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Education
6:58 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Highland Park to charter all its schools in the fall--only way to save the district?

Another Michigan school district in deep financial trouble will be turned over to a charter operator for the coming school year.

The emergency manager of the Highland Park Public Schools announced the plan Monday.

Joyce Parker says the district  will likely start the next school year with a roughly $15 million deficit, and only about 800 students.

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Education
12:00 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

How much does preschool matter?

A 14 year study of 500 Michigan children showed the effects of preschool can last all the way through 12th grade.
U.S Embassy Manila, Phillipines flickr

Preschool matters a lot. Particularly for low income kids. In Michigan, low income students with one year of preschool were found to do better in school than other low income kids, and positive effects of that early education were seen all the way through 12th grade.

Those results are from a 14-year study of 500 Michigan children. The study is part of a recent evaluation of the state Great Start Readiness Program.

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Education
10:02 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Group picked to aid Michigan teaching in urban and rural areas

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

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Seventy-four people have been selected to participate in a program to develop math, science, engineering and technology teachers for several Michigan rural and urban school districts.

The state announced Wednesday the second class of fellows will receive $30,000 to pursue master's degrees at University of Michigan and Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Grand Valley State and Wayne State universities.

The program recruits recent college graduates and those seeking a different career. This year's fellows include a fighter pilot, police chaplain, biologist and kayak instructor.

About two thousand people applied.

They will teach in districts including Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Godfrey-Lee, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Wyoming and Ypsilanti.

The Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched the program in 2009. It's administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Education
1:54 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Illiteracy and its effects on our society

Infographic on literacy.
Thea Card Michigan Radio

It’s one of the most fundamental parts of our daily lives. Something you have probably taken for granted.

It's the ability to read.

In the United States, more than 40 percent of adults with very low literacy live in poverty.

One in five Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage.

And more than 70 percent of the U.S. prison population cannot read above a fourth grade level.

In collaboration with WBEZ's Front & Center project, Michigan Radio peels back the layers of low-literacy.

In our hour-long show, we explore the impacts that illiteracy has on our communities and what literacy, in an every changing digital world, will really mean in our future.

Literacy is a big issue of concern for our educational system. Illiteracy can prevent people from filling out a job application or earning living wage. It also affects your civic participation.

Take a listen to our show using the "listen" button above, and share your thoughts with us!

Education
10:01 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Racial achievement gap dwindling in Michigan's charter schools

Henry Ford Academy, a charter school in Dearborn
user OZinOH flickr

Recent state test results for students in third grade through eighth grade show black students in charter schools perform better than those in traditional public schools.

The largest gaps were found in reading scores which showed a difference of 9 percent.

Dan Quisenberry is president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. He said the improving test scores in charter schools narrow the achievement gap between black and white students.

“That's a problem that's plagued our country for far too many years and I think some of it is really just getting after the solutions because it's not easy,” Quisenberry said. “Most of it is an urban issue where there may not be family neighborhood structures, where there may not be as many opportunities.”

Quisenberry said the higher scores are not a result of charter schools being able to reject troublesome students.

“When kids come into a charter school, many times they are a grade to as many as three grade levels behind where they should be. Those are not kids that you're cherry picking in some way even if you could.  What's happening is you're seeing people focusing on students' needs, and achievement scores are rising as a result of it,” he said.

The higher test scores for black charter school students are consistent across grade levels. It is especially prevalent in urban areas in the state.

-Emily Fox, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
3:33 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Detroit Public School attendance below standards, though better than expected

John Bennett Elementary, part of the Detroit Public School district
user Notorious4life Wikipedia commons

Despite last year’s Detroit Public School campaign entitled “Attendance … Every Day, All Day,” the district’s 2010-2011 attendance numbers failed to meet state requirements and will face the loss of $4.2 million in state aid, according to the Detroit News.

Though the lost money will further hurt the state-controlled school district, the Detroit News reports that the damage could have been worse:

In its amended 2011-12 budget, DPS said it expected to pay $21 million to the state for dropping below 75 percent attendance and had budgeted for the expense.

The state informed DPS in March the amount would be closer to $4 million, giving DPS $17 million more money, which was returned to the general fund.

According to its 2011-2012 budget, the district received about $497 million in state funding over the school year, up three percent from the expected amount.

According to the DPS website, each student enrolled above the budgeted number on count days brings $7,550 in state funding.  In order to encourage count day attendance in its 137 schools in the past through ice cream and pizza parties, “dress down” days for schools that require uniforms, and even a 2009 Radio One-sponsored contest in which students attending school could win a plasma TV, laptop computer, iPod nanos, or an American Express gift card.

- Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Station News
1:57 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Michigan Radio launches multi-year project to examine economic future of Michigan’s children

Michigan Radio has been awarded a major three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to report on the many issues related to childhood poverty. The $995,000 grant, the largest in the station’s history, will allow Michigan Radio to move beyond traditional radio reporting to reach a wide variety of audiences about the plight facing Michigan’s most vulnerable children.

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Education
7:32 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Teachers' union, emergency manager at Muskegon Heights schools settle lawsuit

Muskegon Heights High School
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The teachers’ union at Muskegon Heights Public Schools has settled a lawsuit against the district. The union had alleged the district’s emergency manager was engaged in unfair labor practices.

Muskegon Heights schools' emergency manager Don Weatherspoon says allowing a charter school operator to run the public school district is the only way he can afford to keep school open next year. The deficit is more than $12 million. 

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Education
5:58 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Pontiac Schools avoids state takeover

State officials say they won't recommend a financial review team for the Pontiac School District.

That's after the District implemented a deficit elimination plan.

A financial review team would have put the district one step closer to a state takeover. 

It could also have meant a longer delay in getting April and May payments from the state. Those were withheld as required by law during the preliminary review of the district's finances. 

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Education
8:50 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Federal judge may block Michigan teacher union dues law

(courtesy of KQED)

DETROIT (AP) - A lawyer says a Detroit federal judge plans to block a new state law that stops school districts from deducting union dues from paychecks.

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Education
4:06 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

High School Draws Chinese Students, Tuition Dollars

Students from China celebrate the dedication of the Taylor International School and dorm, where they live while attending Lake Shore High School in St. Clair, Mich.
Deb Jacques C&G Newspapers

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 7:52 pm

Lake Shore High School in St. Clair Shores, Mich., is pretty typical as American high schools go. Walking the halls, you find the quiet kids, the jocks and the artsy crowd.

But a visitor will also see what sets Lake Shore apart: The school's large number of exchange students from China. This year, more than 70 Chinese students are enrolled at Lake Shore, which has a total student population of 1,200.

The students are from the Beijing Haidian Foreign Language Experimental School, an elite, private K-12 boarding school in China's capital.

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Education
1:53 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Michigan schools to adopt anti-bullying policies this week

User: Working World Flickr

Every K-12 school in Michigan has to adopt an anti-bullying policy by Wednesday. Michigan was the 48th state to pass a school anti-bullying law.

Martin Ackley is with the Michigan Department of Education. He said the law is very important to help students feel safe.

 "The bottom line is to protect the kids who are being bullied because it is definitely not deserved and it’s not helpful to the kids, to the school, to the families, to the communities and the consequences are dire," Ackley said.

Education
10:15 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Grading Michigan Schools

In 2008 Michigan Radio's "Grading Michigan Schools" is a multi-part series that takes an in-depth look at education in Michigan. We hear why one college student feels let down by the public school system in the state. We find out about "unschooling," an education philosophy that abandons textbooks and a curriculum. We also look at how the public school system is serving at-risk students through education for the very young and early intervention for kids with special education needs.

"Grading Michigan Schools" won a 2008 Clarion Award from Women in Communications.

Education
1:56 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Four-year-olds too young to start kindergarten, say Michigan lawmakers

For now, four-year-olds in Michigan can enroll in kindergarten as long as they turn five by December 1, but that may change over the next few years as legislators consider when kids are socially mature enough to enter school.

The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that would gradually change the age requirement of kindergarten enrollees over the course of three years.

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Education
12:46 am
Thu May 31, 2012

No football? No band? Muskegon Heights parents get few details about charter school plan

Don Weatherspoon is the Emergency Manager of Muskegon Heights Public Schools. He's planning on having a charter company operate the public district begining next school year.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Muskegon Heights Public Schools Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon heard from parents, alumni, teachers, and taxpayers during and after the meeting. He reassured parents a free neighborhood school will be open this fall.

But most had questions he couldn’t answer yet. Like, will there be band, art or athletics? Busing and special education services? Although he’d prefer it, Don Weatherspoon says he cannot make any guarantees.

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Education
2:04 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Changing Michigan's educational focus

There’s a push to change Michigan's high school graduation standards to encourage more students to pursue vocational training. But state education officials oppose the proposed changes.

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