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Education

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The Next Idea

 

Modern, high-tech innovation has benefited the world enormously. It has improved health and safety, and helped us communicate and travel across borders. But lots of people cannot afford these technologies – many of which are of limited usefulness for economically disadvantaged citizens who live outside of metropolitan areas. Indeed, these citizens were never the main market for these technologies in the first place.

Detroit teachers want a forensic audit, so they held a lemonade stand to raise money and public awareness at Detroit's Eastern Market this weekend.
flickr user Rob Bertholf / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit Public Schools has been controlled by the state since 2009. 

Yet, the latest emergency manager says without an infusion of cash from the state, the district won't be able to meet its financial obligations after June 30. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

With the Detroit Public Schools on the verge of financial collapse, many people want to know how things went so wrong.

Some teachers are trying to do something about that. They want a forensic audit of the district’s finances since it came under state emergency management in 2009.

A group of DPS teachers set up a lemonade stand near Detroit’s Eastern Market to raise money for the cause this weekend.

Michigan state Capitol
User: mattileo / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A set of Republican-sponsored bills to fund and overhaul the Detroit Public Schools is being met with skepticism in the state Senate. The state House adopted the legislation in a marathon session that lasted until early this morning.

DPS emergency manager Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Most Detroit teachers are expected back in the classroom Wednesday, after two straight days of teacher sickouts effectively shuttered the Detroit Public Schools.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers called for members to return to work, saying they’ve received written assurance from the district’s emergency manager that teachers will receive full pay for the school year.

The DFT had urged teachers to “sick out” in protest, after discovering just days earlier that DPS didn’t have the money to pay teachers who elect to spread their pay through the summer months.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama will visit Flint tomorrow to get an update on the city’s drinking water crisis.

In Flint, thousands of children under the age of six have been exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water, creating problems that could last a lifetime.

But there’s a new effort underway to try to help children most at risk.   

For weeks, teachers and other volunteers have been knocking on doors in Flint.

On Monday, they once again fanned out across a south-side neighborhood.

Grand Rapids Public Schools get new social media policy

May 3, 2016
English 101 / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Grand Rapids School Board unanimously adopted yesterday a new policy to regulate employees’ use of social media.

The policy holds employees accountable for posting inappropriate content on social media and includes a list of examples.

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

Nearly all Detroit Public Schools are closed again today, as too many teachers called in sick to protest being asked to work without guaranteed pay.

It's the second straight day almost all the district's 97 schools have been closed.

Teachers have known for months that Detroit Public Schools will run out of money after June 30, unless Michigan lawmakers approve hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term aid.

But anger boiled over when they found out just days ago that most teachers might not get paid their full salaries for the current school year.

David Williss / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

State lawmakers are working on a bill that would require schools in Michigan to teach students about genocide, including the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust. Corey Harbaugh is making it his personal mission to ensure that teachers in Michigan have resources and models about Holocaust education and to help them teach it as well.

The Girls Rock Detroit band The Tiger Bots performs
Peter Smith / Girls Rock Detroit

The Next Idea

There are plenty of ways to empower young girls, but Melissa Coppola has a new approach: rock ‘n' roll.

Coppola, a graduating masters-level piano student at the University of Michigan, launched Girls Rock Detroit. The summer camp is a crash course in creating rock music for girls ages eight to 16.

Detroit teachers protest during a January sickout.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

For the first time in months, Detroit teachers are planning to hold a mass sickout Monday—and for the first time ever, union leaders are helping lead the call for it.

This comes after the Detroit Federation of Teachers leadership informed members that many teachers could end up shorted on their pay this year.

The situation involves Detroit Public Schools staff who elect to be paid biweekly year-round, not just during the school year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools says the district will have no money to continue paying teachers this summer without further funding from the state.

  The Detroit Free Press reports  that former bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said in an email Saturday that the district also will be unable to fund summer school or special education programs after June 30.

  Rhodes was appointed by the state to oversee the district's finances.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a push on to get more young kids in the Flint area signed up for early childhood education programs.

The state Legislature approved special funding to expand early childhood education programs in Genesee County, as part of the state’s response to Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water.

Lisa Hagel is the superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District. She says many three- and four-year-olds would benefit from the education and nutrition program, but they don’t know where those kids are.

Athletic spending at EMU hurts education, report says

Apr 26, 2016
Eastern Michigan University
F. Delventhal / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

An ever-increasing athletic budget deficit at Eastern Michigan University is hurting the school's academic mission.

That's according to a report  submitted recently to EMU's Board of Regents and issued by the president of the Faculty Senate, the president of the student body, the chair of the Faculty Senate Budget and Resources Committee, and the treasurer of the EMU-AAUP.

Robert Bobb helps student with homework
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

In Detroit, 12 public school principals are accused of taking kickbacks on supplies that were never delivered.

The charges, announced late last month, pose another blow to the long-troubled Detroit Public Schools, which needs hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term state aid if it wants to see another school year.

Here's how the alleged kickback scheme worked: 12 principals, all working separately, gave contracts for school supplies to a vendor, Norman Shy, who then kicked back some profits to them.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 Michigan’s state superintendent has outlined his “vision” for student assessments, and it seems like students might be in for more big changes.

Brian Whiston addressed lawmakers from two State House education panels Wednesday.

The state currently uses the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) to measure student achievement.

This is only the second year for the M-STEP, which students take in the spring.

But Whiston, who took over as state superintendent in July, advocates a different approach.

Child on computer
Lars Plougmann / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the search for a better way to educate our children, many have turned to technology. Virtual schools or blended schools that combine virtual and traditional face-to-face teaching are a national trend. However, according to a study from The National Education Policy Center, these virtual schools – most of which are run by private, for-profit companies, are doing a poor job of educating our kids.

cursive handwriting
theilr / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You may have seen the internet meme floating around social media. It says, “Someday us old folks will use cursive writing as a secret code.”

Wikimedia user Brian Ammon / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

When looking at the modern world of innovation or business, you really can’t ignore China.

The country’s influence is huge, but interacting with Chinese companies, educators or officials can present a tough challenge for native English speakers: Mandarin Chinese is so fundamentally different from English, especially in tonal inflections.

Catherine Ryu is a Michigan State University researcher who is working with a team of students to develop a new game that could help English speakers learn Mandarin.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Education officials say students will be spending less time taking the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, this spring.

  Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman Jan Ellis tells the Detroit Free Press that students will spend no more than four to eight hours total on the test, down from seven to 16 hours last year. The change came after complaints about the new exam taking too long, with reports of students being exhausted and school staff being overwhelmed.

“When we defer [capital expenditure] or investment in a school district, we’re knowingly ensuring that our students won’t keep up with their peers across the state or the country or the world,” Saunders said.
wikimedia user motown31 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


Michigan's Schools of Choice program is now 20 years old.

In some parts of the state, the competition for students can be intense. Public school districts put up yard signs, families are sometimes offered gifts to sign up for a school out of district, and the number of publicly funded, privately run charter schools has increased.

Thomas Xu / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Politicians and business leaders over the last decade have referenced the “brain drain” as a major problem for the state of Michigan. College students graduate from a state college or university and move elsewhere to pursue a job or begin their career.

Today's the day that will largely determine you school district's funding for the next year.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

It may soon get a little easier for Detroit parents to figure out which schools are the right fit for their kids.

Navigating the maze of options – and enrollment deadlines, and application processes – from Detroit Public Schools, the Education Achievement Authority, and charter schools can feel overwhelming for some families.

Starting Friday, a new program called Enroll Detroit will offer parents a common application and enrollment system.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

The Detroit Public Schools now officially has enough money to stay open through the end of the current school year.

Gov. Snyder signed a $48.7 million dollar supplemental budget bill into law Tuesday.

DPS officials had said that without state aid, the district likely faced payless paydays by early April.

Flickr

The National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against two Detroit charter school management companies.

The Detroit Metro Times reports the CEO of New Urban Learning allegedly started a second "alter ego" management company to avoid a unionizing effort by teachers.

Jeremy Hiebert / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state Senate has approved legislation that would allow schools to hold children back if they’re not reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.

But this bill is not as stringent as earlier versions.

It allows parents and a school superintendent to decide whether to let a child who is not reading at grade level to move onto the fourth grade.             

  

Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov said the new version puts more resources into early intervention and parental involvement, instead of simply holding kids back.

TaxCredits.net / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Department of Education has cut off  federal grants to the Michigan Jewish Institute in West Bloomfield.

In a February letter to the private college, the government says nearly 2,000 MJI students claimed to be studying abroad in Israel but weren't taking classes through the school.

The letter says those students received Pell Grants through MJI without "physically attending" classes, and none graduated.

Student press rights bill to go to MI senate for a vote

Mar 23, 2016
myrealnameispete / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bill to protect freedom of expression and of the press for Michigan student journalists at public schools and universities was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. 

The bill protects student journalists from censorship in school-sponsored media, including newspapers, broadcasts and yearbooks.

"I believe there is a lot of censorship," says the bill's sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge). "And students are openly told they can't write about what they want."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan with students at the Detroit Promise Zone scholarship announcement.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit is joining the list of Michigan communities offering “promise zone” college scholarships.

The program, enacted by state lawmakers years ago, but never implemented in Detroit until now, guarantees any Detroit high school graduate two years' tuition at five Metro Detroit community colleges.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

As the clock ticks down toward possible payless paydays in the Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Federation of Teachers is trying turn up the pressure on state lawmakers.

DFT leaders are also trying to tamp down on a faction within the union that is pushing for more radical action to force Lansing’s hand.

The district needs state money in the short term to avoid running out of cash early next month. It also needs a longer-term rescue package to help shed crippling debt and reorganize as a new district.

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