Education

Stateside
4:54 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Is college always the best choice for high school grads?

College graduates.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This is the time of year when many high school juniors are taking their ACTs and scheduling campus tours. And high school seniors are looking in the mailbox for college acceptance letters and – hopefully –financial aid packages.

There are many in Michigan who believe that heading to college is the key to a successful life for these kids. There's plenty of evidence that young adults with that four-year degree will do better in terms of employment and wages than their peers with some college, or a two-year degree, or only a high school diploma.

But there is another side to the discussion – the one that raises the question: Is college truly the right choice for all high school grads? Are we overlooking the opportunities offered by skilled trades and other careers that do not require a degree?

Glenda Price is the former president of Marygrove College in Detroit and is now the president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. And Lou Glazer is the president of Michigan Future, Inc. They both joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
5:32 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Feds say U of M, MSU sexual assaults under investigation

Former UM football player, Brendan Gibbons, was accused of rape in 2009. Media reports claim the school is now being investigated for how it handled the case.
user Cbl62 Wikimedia Commons

If school administrators know, or should know, about a sexual assault involving students, they have to act fast – and they have to "address" the "effects" of the assault. 

That's according to federal law, under Title IX.

But neither the University of Michigan, nor Michigan State University, handled sexual assaults the right way, according to complaints sent to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

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Education
4:42 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Steelcase plans to donate huge, pyramid-shaped building for new STEM education hub

drtel Creative Commons

Grand Rapids-based furniture maker Steelcase plans to donate its iconic pyramid-shaped building to a nonprofit group.

Steelcase spent more than $100 million to build the more than 600,000 square-foot building in 1989. It’s been for sale for a lot less, around $20 million, for a couple of years. But it hasn't sold.

Steelcase spokeswoman Laura VanSlyke says the company talked to a few potential buyers, but the size and unique shape “does make it difficult for certain companies to take it over.”

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10:35 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Proposed law seeks better training and effective evaluations for Michigan teachers

Lead in text: 
What's the point of evaluating teachers and then not providing constructive feedback for improvements? That's the challenge legislators are tackling with changes to Michigan's teacher evaluation law. State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer sat in on a teacher development session in Grand Rapids to find out which new techniques are being used to coach educators more effectively.
What's the point of evaluating teachers and then not providing constructive feedback for improvements?
Education
5:28 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New law tightens public school safety drill requirements

Fire Drill
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law today legislation that will require Michigan public schools to tighten fire, tornado and lockdown safety drills.

State Rep. Joseph Graves, R-Argentine Township, sponsored the legislation in response to media reports of widespread disregard by schools of safety drill requirements.

The new law requires schools to file by Sept. 15  a schedule of drills for the whole year with their county emergency manager. Schools must also post on their websites notice of a completed safety drill within five days.

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Education
1:00 am
Mon February 24, 2014

State throws out test scores for an entire elementary school in southwest Michigan

Biologycorner Creative Commons

Scores from this year’s standardized test at one southwest Michigan elementary school won’t count at all.

According to Michigan's Department of Education, individual administrative errors on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test happen every year. But this kind of mistake, affecting hundreds of student tests, is rare.

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Education
1:42 pm
Sat February 22, 2014

Flint schools require staff to pick up checks

Flint school employees were required to pick up their check in person Friday as the struggling district confirms that it's paying people who actually work.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - There is no direct deposit this week for teachers and other employees in the Flint school district.

They were required to pick up their check in person Friday as the struggling district confirms that it's paying people who actually work. Spokesman Brian Smith tells The Flint Journal it's too early to know if any problems were uncovered.

He says there might be legitimate reasons for someone who didn't pick up a check.

Education
11:34 am
Sat February 22, 2014

5 Michigan community colleges to let auto students transfer

Community college students face barriers to finishing their education due to employment and life changes forcing them to move to other parts of Michigan.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Five Michigan community colleges are partnering on a pilot program to let students in automotive technology programs transfer among the schools without losing credits or having to repeat course work.

Delta College, Grand Rapids Community College, Lansing Community College, Montcalm Community and Mott Community Colleges have signed the agreement. It was announced Friday by Nigel Francis, the state's senior automotive adviser.

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Education
2:49 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

The University of Michigan wants more black students

Three of the students at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday.
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan has a race problem.

“Open it up! Or we’ll shut it down!” chanted half a dozen black students at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday.

Their frustrations are getting national attention. 

The Black Student union has led protests on campus and online.

Their #BBUM Twitter campaign (Being Black at U of M) has gone viral. 

They’re fed up, they say, by a school that boasts about a diverse community, yet where just roughly 5% of some 28,000 undergraduate students are black.

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Stateside
5:15 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

How will Michigan help failing schools without the EAA?

User Motown31 Creative Commons

The state of Michigan is ending its exclusive contract with the Education Achievement Authority to oversee the worst-performing schools in the state.

State School Superintendent Mike Flangan sent a letter to the EAA saying the state will pull out of its exclusivity agreement with the Authority one year from now.

Martin Ackley is with the Michigan Department of Education. He says the state still intends to use the EAA to help turn around struggling schools.

“Now, this is in no way a statement or an indication of a lack of confidence in the EAA or its academic strategies. This is just an action that needed to be taken in order to provide flexibility and to provide options other than the EAA in which to place these most struggling schools.”

So, what are the other options that the State might use to help failing schools? And what's ahead for the controversial EAA?

Jake Neher, who covers Lansing for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
10:02 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Michigan ending its exclusive contract with the EAA

O.k., o.k., we know this one is empty, but some high school students in the Detroit Public Schools say their classroom are far from empty.
User Motown31 Creative Commons

The Michigan Department of Education will end its exclusive contract with the Education Achievement Authority to oversee some of the state's lowest-performing schools.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has sent a letter to the EAA notifying it that the contract will be terminated a year from now.

The MDE says it still intends to use the EAA to turn around struggling schools. It says ending the contract will simply open up more options to other entities that can oversee the schools.

The EAA currently runs 15 schools in Detroit. 

Martin Ackley is a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Education.

"There are situations where a struggling school may be better served by a neighboring school district or the local intermediate school district as opposed to the EAA."

Ackley says the state still intends to use the EAA to help oversee struggling schools. He says ending the contract will simply give state education officials more options.

"Now, this is in no way a statement or an indication of alack of confidence in the EAA or its academic strategies. This is just an action that needed to be taken in order to provide flexibility and to provide options other than the EAA in which to place these most struggling schools."

Critics of the EAA say it's struggling with declining enrollment, finances, and school safety. Lawmakers are considering legislation that would bolster the authority and allow it to expand it statewide. 

Stateside
4:56 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Should school districts add minutes or days after snow days? And who gets to decide?

How should schools make up for this season's snow days?
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An interview with Ted Roelofs.

With many Michigan schools racking up snow days, what's the best way to make up lost time? Adding minutes onto the school day? Or adding days at the end of the school year? Should local districts be allowed to decide for themselves or should Lansing make the decision for them?

Bridge Magazine contributing writer Ted Roelofs dug into these questions for his story in this week's Bridge.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Education researcher says we can't blame teachers for failing schools

A teacher in a classroom.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

As Michigan moves into new, uncharted waters in terms of testing and evaluating those who hope to become teachers, there are many views on whether this testing and evaluation is fair, helpful, and an accurate measurement of how students, teachers, and schools are doing.

Mitch Robinson is an associate professor and chair of music education at Michigan State University. A former teacher, his research is now focused on education policy and the mentoring of new music teachers. 

He believes test scores like the beefed-up version of Michigan's teacher certification test aren't telling us anything substantial about students or learning.

Listen to the full interview above.

Newsmaker Interview
5:20 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Why Rep. Lipton believes her bill is better alternative to EAA

Democratic Ellen Cogen Lipton represents Michigan's 27th House District.

The Michigan House could vote this week to expand the Education Achievement Authority, or EAA.

The EAA was created by Gov. Rick Snyder as a separate school district for the lowest-performing 5% of schools in Michigan. The idea was that under the oversight of a state appointed emergency manager, those schools could be transformed into higher performing, stable schools. Supporters of the EAA say the district is showing student improvement. Critics of the district say the EAA is failing students and schools.

Democratic Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton is the sponsor of House Bill 5268. She spoke with All Things Considered host Jennifer White.

Stateside
3:40 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Michigan schools are working on becoming more accommodating to transgender students

LGBT rainbow flag flapping in the sun
user Marlith Flickr

How far should a school go to accommodate its transgender students? What federal or state laws and ordinances might impact policies for transgender students?

School districts around the nation are wrestling with these questions, even as parents and civil rights groups mount court challenges against districts whose policies are not supportive of transgender student rights.

The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Project is now crafting a comprehensive model policy for transgender students – a policy that could be adopted by local school districts. Jay Kaplan is a staff attorney who is part of this effort, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
8:29 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Saginaw school board approves deficit elimination plan

Saginaw Superintendent Carlton Jenkins says “people can rally around (a plan) that can rebuild Saginaw Public Schools.”
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Saginaw School District Board of Education approved a deficit elimination plan Monday afternoon.

The plan trims nearly $5 million from the district’s budget by closing three schools, laying off dozens of district employees, and other spending cuts. The district has a $6 million deficit.

Carlton Jenkins is Saginaw schools superintendent. He says it’s important for the district to have a “sustainable” plan to move forward – one "people can rally around that can rebuild Saginaw Public Schools.”

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Education
3:44 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Saginaw school officials struggle to agree on a deficit elimination plan

Saginaw school superintendent Carlton Jenkins explains the revised deficit elimination plan to members of the school board.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Saginaw School Board is going down to the wire in considering a deficit elimination plan for the district.   The board must approve a plan today or risk losing state funding.

The Saginaw school board has been meeting since noon on a plan to close and consolidate schools, lay off teachers and support staff and cut union wages. Administrators say the plan could save about $4.9 million.

The district has a $6.1 million deficit.

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Education
3:38 pm
Sun February 16, 2014

Saginaw school board to vote on revised Deficit Elimination Plan tomorrow

The Saginaw school board met 5 times during the past two weeks. During the meetings, students, parents and teachers asked district officials not to close Saginaw High School. The high school was slated to be closed in the original proposal.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Saginaw school board members will vote tomorrow afternoon on a deficit elimination plan.

The plan calls for closing two elementary schools, turning the city's two high schools into seventh through twelfth grade schools and laying off dozens of employees.

The board has been struggling for the past two weeks to come up with a plan to eliminate the district’s $6.1 million deficit. State Education officials are threatening to withhold the district’s March state aid payment unless the district delivers a workable plan by Tuesday.    

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Education
1:08 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

Expansion of school turnaround district stalled

Michigan allows the lowest-achieving 5 percent of public schools to be placed into a turnaround district. The district has been transferred to the EAA, a system running 15 troubled Detroit schools.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Despite a renewed push, expansion of a state turnaround entity for failing public schools beyond Detroit remains in trouble in the Legislature.

Some majority Republicans say it's too early to know whether the 15-school Education Achievement Authority is working.

Others contend a version of legislation floated this week doesn't guarantee a role for local intermediate school districts to run the worst schools instead. Critics also say there's no promise schools can return to their home districts once being improved.

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Education
11:04 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Michigan-Flint engineering enrollment grows

The Flint Journal reports that engineering enrollment has doubled since 2008 at U of M-Flint.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan-Flint is responding to a growth in its engineering program by investing in high-tech equipment for the students.

The Flint Journal reports that engineering enrollment has doubled since 2008 and now stands at 320 students. To meet the demand, the school has acquired a $75,000 microscope that magnifies objects 60,000 times and expects to get a $100,000 three-dimensional printer. The department also is hiring two new professors.

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