Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Saginaw High School students cheered last night.

They didn’t win the big game.   District leaders decided not to close their school.

Saginaw’s two high schools are well under capacity and struggling academically. 

Interim School Superintendent Kelly Peatross wanted the Saginaw School Board to agree to consolidate the two schools (Saginaw and Arthur Hill) into one. 

Chatfield School

UPDATE: A pro-charter group says the methodology used in the Education Trust-Midwest report is deeply flawed.  A link to The Center for Education Reform's critique is included at the bottom of this article.

When Michigan's charter school experiment began 21 years ago, the hope was charters would be better than traditional public schools.

"The majority of them are actually not delivering on that promise," claims Amber Arellano of Education Trust-Midwest, a Kellogg Foundation-funded non-profit that says it is non-partisan, and "agnostic" on the question of who operates schools.

Changes underway at EAA

Feb 18, 2015

The Education Achievement Authority, the controversial state-run system for some of the lowest-performing schools, is making some changes.

EAA chancellor Veronica Conforme announced the “restructuring” at a board meeting this week.

Paying for college – it’s a challenge for many households.

Seventy percent of the college grads this year took out student loans, and the average college grad this year is paying back student loans of around $33,000.

While these numbers may seem daunting, advancements in technological and business models may help lower cost of college over time.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Only one in three Michiganders feels Michigan's statewide school system deserves an A or a B grade. That's according to new polling from Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants.

Rep. Adam Zemke is the Democratic vice chair of the House Education Committee and he represents Ann Arbor.

Empty desks in a classroom.
Matt Katzenberger / Flickr

Most people in a Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll would give Michigan a "C" when it comes to the state's education system.

Six-hundred likely voters in Michigan were polled from February 2 through February 5, 2015. Thirty-five percent gave Michigan's school system an A or a B - 49% gave Michigan a C, D, or an F (16% were unsure or didn't offer an answer).

Carlos Perez / Flickr

Parents are split on the idea of later school start times for teenagers.

A new survey from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan says about half of parents support the idea. Forty percent expect a later start time would allow their kids to get more sleep, and 22 percent think their kids would do better academically.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) - A state labor commission has ruled in favor of school employees in suburban Detroit who argued that a 10-year contract in the Taylor district was an illegal move to force them to pay union dues.

In a 2-1 decision Friday, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission ordered the Taylor district and the union to take no adverse action against teachers or other employees who decline to support the union. 

A private school in Traverse City will now only admit students who are vaccinated.

The Children's House takes infants all the way through seventh graders.

Administrators became worried about the babies earlier this year, when they realized 30% of their students had vaccination waivers.

Today on Stateside:

·        In the U.S., it’s estimated that some 22 veterans commit suicide every day. U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, is co-sponsoring legislation to try and improve mental health care for veterans. Peters joined us to discuss the issue.

·        Charles Eisendrath, the director of the national journalism program Knight-Wallace Fellows at the University of Michigan talks about the controversy surrounding NBC News Anchor Brian Williams.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Opponents of charter schools are failing to make effective arguments for their position against them, while proponents are creating a stronger consensus for them finds a study conducted by Michigan State University professors Sarah Reckhow and Matt Grossman, along with University of Rochester PhD student Benjamin Evans.

Last spring’s Michigan Teacher of the Year, Melody Arabo, joined us today to talk about her first book, A Diary of a Real Bully.

Arabo’s book stems from her third grade classroom at Keith Elementary School in Walled Lake. There, she witnessed bullying and was shocked to find out which kids unveiled themselves as the bullies.


Every year, thousands of the state's best and brightest collect diplomas from Michigan colleges and universities and then leave for Chicago, New York and other cities. However, two lawmakers think tax credits could help keep the brain drain at bay.

Shoveling in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State Rep. Phil Potvin is from Cadillac, where there's been a lot of snow this year. 

But he says there are a lot of school districts that could use some more wiggle room when it comes to snow days.

His bill would increase the number from six to nine.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Saginaw school district could soon be out of debt. And it can thank the defunct Buena Vista School District. 

The school board voted tonight to accept a $5 million offer for the old Buena Vista High School from an educational services company.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Monster trucks may be an incentive for thousands of Detroit Public School students to get to class next Wednesday. 

Every one of the district’s 47,000 Students will receive two tickets to an upcoming monster truck show at Ford Field.

DPS spokesman Steve Wasko says the ticket giveaway is a sign of support in the community for Detroit schools.

Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren / via Facebook

Over the past two decades, nearly everything about going to school in Detroit has changed.

School choice has meant an explosion of charters in and around the city. Now, more Detroit kids attend charters than traditional public schools.

As for Detroit Public Schools, the district has been under some kind of state control for 12 out of the past 15 years.

Despite these changes, most people feel like the schools situation in the city has gotten worse, not better.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Raw tests scores can't give you a full picture of student academic achievement. There are many other factors that figure into how students learn. That's why Bridge Magazine has created a ranking that takes into account not only grade-level test results, but also students' household incomes.

For the magazine's Academic State Champs this year, 73 of Michigan's 507 school districts have earned top marks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many school districts around Michigan own buildings they are not using. 

A state lawmaker wants to make sure those buildings don’t fall to the wrecking ball if another educational institution wants to buy them. 

Last week, the Saginaw Board of Education voted not to accept a multi-million dollar offer from a local charter school for a building the district was trying to sell. The board then voted to use state funds to tear the building down.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Opposition to merging Saginaw’s two public high schools appears to be turning to resignation.

A year ago, dozens of people angrily criticized closing either Saginaw or Arthur Hill high school. A public hearing last night was more muted.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Saginaw school officials face big decisions about some of the district’s buildings this week. Wednesday, the Saginaw School Board may vote to sell the old Buena Vista high school to an out of state education company.   The sale would net about five million dollars.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers are making third-graders' reading proficiency a significant focus this year.

  They have unspecified plans to improve kids' literacy long before they're 8 or 9 years old. But it remains unclear how far policymakers will go to deal with students who still aren't reading well enough by the end of third grade.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren is pushing hard to publish a set of recommendations for improving Detroit schools by the end of March.

The group is gathering feedback from community and key leaders over a 90-day period to find solutions for a district hit hard by a dwindling population, and a fractured school landscape.

U.S Embassy Manila, Phillipines / flickr

More than 21,000 4 year olds have been enrolled in free preschool in Michigan over the past two years, according to Ron French at Bridge Magazine. It's the result of the biggest pre-school expansion in the nation

In 2012, a Bridge investigation found that about 30,000 pre-school aged kids that qualified for free preschool were not attending due to lack of funding, logistical issues or lack of transportation services. 

A. Nich / Flickr

The state has rejected ACT’s claim that Michigan unfairly switched its free college entrance exam to the SAT starting in spring 2016.

  ACT protested two aspects of the bidding process. It said the state changed the timeline of the proposed contract and penalized ACT for having a writing portion. It says both of those things unfairly benefitted SAT.

State officials say they reviewed those concerns carefully.


One of the most challenging issues facing the new state Legislature is school finance.

The Citizens Research Council recently released a report spotlighting shrinking school enrollment and the associated financial difficulties for districts. The report offers suggestions about how Lansing could support these struggling districts.

Craig Thiel, senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council, joined us today. He says the last time school enrollment was close to what it is now was the late 1950s.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The new Detroit Federation of Teachers’ President says it’s time for the union to “draw a line in the sand.”

Steve Conn was just elected to lead the union of nearly 4,000 Detroit Public Schools teachers.

He took the oath of office Tuesday, vowing to take a hard line against Gov. Snyder, the district’s new emergency manager, Darnell Earley — and the years of state-led intervention Conn says have devastated the district.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan will pay for a study within a year to determine what it costs to sufficiently educate a student.

The law signed this week by Governor Rick Snyder requires the state to then report the study's finding to the Legislature, governor and state auditor.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan-Flint is getting two million dollars to start a Center for Entrepreneurship.

The money comes from Philip Hagerman.  The founder of a Genesee County pharmaceutical company says the center will benefit the wider Flint community.


The ACT is appealing Michigan’s decision to switch its eleventh grade standardized test to the SAT.

The state gives high school juniors a free college entrance exam as part of their state assessment.

The ACT claims the state’s bidding process unfairly favored the SAT. For example, it said ACT lost points because it includes a writing portion.

State officials say they made an extra effort to make sure the bidding process was fair.