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Education

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This week, Whats Working focuses on education by taking a look at one Michigan school that went from academic mediocrity to being a model for educational reforms in the state. North Godwin Elementary is located just south of Grand Rapids in a working class community with a high immigrant population. Many families in the area are refugees from countries such as Bosnia, Cuba, Vietnam, and Liberia. A high number of students spend a few years learning English as a second language. When Arelis Diaz arrived as a teacher at North Godwin Elementary in 1995, the students were struggling to reach proficiency in basic skills. She spent five years as a teacher, and then served as principal of the school from 2000 to 2005. In that time, North Godwins students began excelling on standardized tests, bringing student proficiency rates to upwards of 80 percent across all subjects. That academic success at North Godwin continues today. The school has been the recipient of praise and awards for its turnaround, including the Dispelling the Myth award in 2010, given by The Educational Trust.

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The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit will perform a play this weekend to commemorate the anniversary of a student walkout at Detroit Public Schools. The walkout took place 45 years ago, when students at Northern High School in Detroit were so fed up with the poor quality of education they were getting they walked out and formed their own student-run school at a church nearby. The called it the Freedom School. The students stayed there until the school board met their demands for a better...

starnewsonline.com

Norovirus is the buzz killer that can bring a cruise ship home. And now, it looks like the little bug is postponing the fun at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, MI. The university has postponed its graduation ceremony for one week while it tries to contain a norovirus outbreak. Instead of being held this Saturday, the commencement will be held Saturday, May 21. The university says more than 170 students are reporting an illness. University officials are working to contain the outbreak and are consulting with the Jackson County Health Department and the State Health Department. From Spring Arbor University : All non-academic related activities have been cancelled from Wednesday, May 11, through Sunday, May 15, 2011. These activities include alumni events, National Christian College Athletic Association baseball regional tournament, and other public-related events. The fitness room, pool and other facilities are closed to the public through Sunday, May 15. These decisions are preventative and consistent with the medical advice received. Of utmost concern for all of us is the safety and health of our campus community and the families and friends planning on participating in the various academic year-end activities. Spring Arbor University has a responsibility of doing what is in the best interest of our students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus, says University President Charles Webb. According to the Centers for Disease Control , people become infected with the virus by: Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus, Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth, and Having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill). Food and drinks can easily become contaminated with norovirus because the virus is very small and because it takes a very small amount (fewer than 100 norovirus particles) to make a person sick. Although the virus cannot multiply outside a human body, billions of norovirus particles are shed by infected people. These shed particles can cause illness if they get into food or water.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

In the past two years, Detroit has closed 59 schools and cut 30 percent of the school systems workforce. But the district is still staring at a deficit of more than $300 million, and thousands of students continue to flee every year. In a story produced for NPRs All Things Considered , we take a closer look at a plan to help the troubled district out of its downward spiral. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-968293.mp3 Do the math If you do the math...

Update 5:25 p.m. The fire at the Paul Robeson Academy has caused extensive damage. Students from the school are being relocated and will resume classes Friday. From the Detroit News : District officials said 16 available classrooms at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School are being readied to accommodate 435 students from Paul Robeson Academy, heavily damaged by the blaze...DPS Emergency Manager Robert Bobb said district employees are locating books, desks and supplies to prepare the classrooms at Marshall just a few blocks from Robeson so Robesons first- through eighth-grade students can resume their studies with minimal disruption. Teachers, support staff and all employees will be sent over to Marshall from Robeson to make the transition work, Bobb said. 8:31 a.m. Theres a fire this morning at Paul Robeson Academy in Detroit. Some 660 students attend the K-8 school. The cause of the fire is still unknown. It began around 4 a.m. and firefighters are on the scene. The Detroit Public Schools calls Robeson Academy one of its premier learning institutions. Students who enroll at Robeson must carry at least a 2.5 grade point average. Heres some video from Fox News in Detroit: Fire Rips through Robeson Academy on Detroits West Side: MyFoxDETROIT.com

screen grab from HDNet clip

Detroit public schools face many challenges, and Dan Rather wants you to know how bad it is. HDNet, a cable and satellite television channel aimed at mens interests, will air Dan Rather Reports: A National Disgrace tonight at 8 p.m. (and again at 11 p.m.). Heres a clip from the program: HDNet says the program is full of heartbreaking images: children sitting in class for days without a teacher; a principal addressing graduating seniors with stories of the violence theyve seen; and abandoned schools left to rot in an increasingly empty city. Dan Rather spoke with Paul W. Smith on WJR this morning. He told Smith that he hopes people learn that the nations public education system needs to be changed: What I hope the takeaway will be is that we all, not just people in Detroit, we all should be ashamed of whats happening to our schools and we can change it. But we cant change it on the present course where all decisions are top down instead of being bottom up.

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Michigan and other states may soon compete against one another to try to win a new round of grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Congress allotted another $700 million to Race to the Top , the education reform program where states compete for federal grants. Its not clear just yet how the money will be used, but some analysts say its likely the money will go toward improving early education . John Austin is president of the Michigan Board of Education . He says early childhood...

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A leader in Michigans higher education community says state universities may urge the governor to veto the state education budget bill. He says its a question of micromanaging. Michael Boulus is the executive director of the Presidents Council, a group that lobbies on behalf of Michigans public colleges and universities. Hes disturbed by a series of amendments to the state House education budget bill. For example, before passing the bill, the House tacked on an amendment cutting state aid to...

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-967245.mp3 As long as there have been schools, there have been school bullies. But experts say todays tormentors are more brutal and efficient than ever before. And thats left teachers and principals scrambling to figure out how to manage the problem. In Detroit, training sessions for handling bullies start tomorrow. And the school district has also launched conflict resolution programs to help stop bullying behavior....

The Dearborn Federation of Teachers will be the first teachers union in the nation to take over health insurance plans from a school district. The union will provide two plans, an HMO, and a PPO, to its members. Both are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plans. Chris Sipperley is president of the union. She says Dearborn Public Schools demanded that teachers go from paying $0 a month to insure their families, to $625. Thats when the union decided it could do better. The union got its own...

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has appointed former GM Executive Roy Roberts to take over as the Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager. Roberts has had a distinguished career in business and is considered a pioneer for African-Americans in the auto industry. Snyder says he chose Roberts because hes a successful businessman and team builder. Roberts says hes genuinely excited to tackle the daunting task of improving Detroit schools. This is a mission with me. This is what I want to do. I...

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools district is moving forward with its plan to turn dozens of its schools into charters. Its part of current emergency manager Robert Bobbs Renaissance 2012 plan. Just this week, 18 organizations put in bids to take over 50 DPS schools and convert them into charters. At the top would be a charter leader who does everything from fundraising to student recruitment to academic planning. But a study out late last year by the Center on Reinventing Public Education shows charter leaders have a high turnover rate.

Poverty Role-Playing Game

May 4, 2011
Poverty Reduction Initiative

1.4 million people live in poverty in Michigan, according to the federal government . But not many people realize what that number actually means. A group in Kalamazoo thinks one of the ways to address the issue of poverty is with a game. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-967037.mp3 The game is called a poverty simulation workshop. Participants role-play a month in the life of someone living in poverty. The goal of the game is to keep your home secure...

The Detroit Public Schools is moving ahead with its controversial 2012 Renaissance Plan. Thats Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobbs plan to turn up to 50 current schools into charters, rather than closing them down. Bobb says 18 organizations have submitted bids to transform some district schools into charters. He says its still unclear how many schools will turn into charters this year or next year. But hes hopeful some operators will be able to move quickly. All of the proposals that...

Dani Davis

The creative process will take center stage at a conference this week at the University of Michigan . Theresa Reid heads up ArtsEngine at the University of Michigan, and she believes art making should have a higher profile at research universities: Some 1500 CEOs identified by IBM listed creativity as the #1 trait needed among its business leaders, so were looking to help enhance creativity among the undergraduates that attend U of M and across the country. To that end, Reid says the...

There is some good news for Michigan school administrators worrying about the outcomes of todays school millage votes. A new Michigan State University poll of nearly a thousand state residents finds most want education protected from state budget cuts. The State of the State survey finds education is the highest priority among Michiganders. The poll found support for state education funding consistent across all demographic groups and political affiliations. William Schmidt is a statistics and education professor at MSU. He says the poll shows the importance that people place on education. Though he admits people often vote their own economic interest when asked to decide on school millages. They seemconceptually at leastto think education is important. And should be front and center. But thenvery often they vote their economic concernswhich is they dont want their taxes raised. Education spending is expected to take a big hit as state lawmakers deal with Michigans massive budget deficit. They are talking about slashing per-pupil funding by $300 to more than $400.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Governor Rick Snyder heard from his critics as he delivered the University of Michigans commencement address today. A grey, overcast, chilly morning welcomed graduates and their families to Michigan Stadium for the Spring commencement. Later the sun came out and warmed the crowd, though Governor Rick Snyder probably still felt a slight chill from part of the crowd. Gov. Snyder wants to trim state aid to higher education by 15% , as part of his plan to reduce Michigan s billion dollar budget...

(official portrait)

Governor Rick Snyder may hear some jeers when he speaks at this weeks commencement ceremony at the University of Michigan. Unions and other groups plan to rally outside Michigan Stadium during the governors speech. Rob Gillezeau is the president of the Graduate Employees Organization. His group and others plan to voice their displeasure over cuts to education funding and the voiding of union contracts. We think its a great opportunity for the people of Ann Arbor and the surrounding areathe...

screen grab from HDNet clip

Dan Rather will air a special two-hour program on the Detroit Public School system titled A National Disgrace. It will air on HDNet Tuesday, May 10 at 8:00 p.m. eastern as part of their Dan Rather Reports program, and will be re-broadcast at 11:00 p.m. on the same night. This from HDNets press release: The special takes its title from a controversial comment by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and presents an unflinching look at corruption, mismanagement and failure. Tens of millions of dollars have been stolen from the district. And a school board bickers over trivialities, while their students score at the bottom on national tests.

How Governor Snyder's education plan is playing

Apr 28, 2011
Flickr

Yesterday, governor Rick Snyder presented his plan for education reform at an event in Detroit. We asked Susan Demas, a political analyst for the Michigan Information and Research Service , and Ken Sikkema, a former Republican state Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants to take a look at the political implications of that plan. You can listen to my interview with them here: http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-966004.mp3

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http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-965803.mp3 Governor Rick Snyder was in Detroit today to outline his expansive education reform plans. The governor says Michigan does not have to spend more money to improve the performance of a failing education system. The governor say its largely a matter of reallocating resources to reward success and to craft a system that reflects Michigans new economic realities. Governor Snyder says his education plan would...

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The state House Education committee has approved a bill that would decertify a teachers union if the teachers vote to go on strike. Individual teachers could also be fined or fired under the legislation. Its illegal for teachers to strike in Michigan. Doug Pratt is with the Michigan Education Association . He says state lawmakers want to silence teachers. Its meant to scare public school employees into not standing up against the attacks that the lawmakers in Lansing are leveling against...

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools praised Governor Snyders education agenda. Robert Bobb says his call to have every child proficient in reading by the end of third grade is important. And Bobb says he likes Snyders ideas for allowing more charter schools. I just think that he has put a very bold plan in front of every educational institution in Michigan. And its now up to all of the professionals in education to stand behind him and to move as aggressively as possible. Bobb...

scui3asteveo / flickr

Today, Governor Rick Snyder laid out his plan for education reform in Michigan. All Things Considered Host, Jenn White, sat down with Tom Watkins to discuss the details in Snyders plan. Watkins is a Former State Superintendent who is currently a business and educational consultant in the United States and China.

michigan/gov

In a speech at the United Way for Southeastern Michigans office in Detroit this morning, Governor Snyder laid out his plans for reforming Michigans education system. Its a system that Snyder said needs to be transformed from one still rooted in the days of a mostly farm-based society to one that prepares students for the technological age of today and jobs of tomorrow. Snyder says the need for reform is clear. In a message to the state legislature that outlined his broad plans, he noted the following statistics: A total of 238 Michigan high schools have zero college-ready students based on the spring 2010 ACT test Only 16% of all students statewide are college-ready based on the ACT taken in spring 2010 as a part of the MME Fewer than 50% of students are proficient in writing based on fall 2010 MEAP data in grades 4 and 7 and spring 2010 Michigan Merit Examination (MME) data for grade 11 Michigan ranks 21 st in the country in total current expenditures per-pupil, yet it ranks 39 th in the nation when it comes to fourth grade math proficiency and 34 th in reading proficiency Heres a summary of Snyders education plan:

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

More than 100 students are expected to attend a youth forum in Detroit on Apr. 26 to share their ideas for what makes a good school. The forum is put on by the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and starts at 5:30 p.m. Rick Sperling is the groups founder. He says lawmakers, school board members, and teachers have all voiced their opinions about school reform, but he says student voices have been missing from the conversation: This is an opportunity for young people who go to Detroit Public...

Governor Rick Snyder offered some hints as to what his soon-to-be unveiled education reform plan will look like. The governor addressed an education conference in East Lansing today. Governor Snyder says student test scores are both startling and scary, and that Michigan is falling behind the country and the world in preparing young people for life after school: We need to do better and thats something we need to focus on and we will, said Snyder. The governor says he wants to relax school regulations s to give teachers and principals more freedom and responsibility over educational decisions. And then he says the state will measure what happens: We need to put much more focus on proficiency, on growth, on measurements and results than we have had in the past, he said. Its about really delivering results for these kids. The whole system has to be geared to say, how do we make sure each and every child in our system gets a good years education each and every year? Think about all the great talent, all the great resources that we have in our system, yet were not achieving the results that we have to achieve. The governor also says he wants to do more to keep gifted teachers in classrooms instead of promoting them into administrative positions. The governor says he envisions an education system that starts with pre-school and continues past college. The governor will roll out his education reform agenda on Wednesday in Detroit.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

It appears Michigan may be in for a revenue windfall of about $500 million dollars more than it was expected to take in this year. The state Senate Democratic leader says Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature should use that money to avert cuts to schools. The state Senate Democratic leader is calling for protections in the Michigan Constitution against using the School Aid Fund for any purpose other than K-through-12 education. Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer says shes looking for...

A new poll finds parents want more physical education in school. The U of M C-S Mott Childrens Hospital National poll asked parents of 6 to 11 year olds about their childrens access to gym classes and recess. A third of parents say their children get too little physical education. Sarah Clark is the associate director of the poll. The parents who are overweight or obese themselves really felt like their kids were not getting what they needed during the school day in terms of physical activity...

04deveni / flickr

Ann Arbor public schools may stop all busing to and from its high schools next year to save money. The proposal to the Ann Arbor School board also includes bigger class sizes and cutting staff. Ann Arbor Public Schools is facing a $15 million budget deficit for next year. Liz Margolis is a spokesperson for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. The way the state has not funded K-12 education and the proposals now at the Governors office have really forced our hand. The reality is we have to make cuts....

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