Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The State of Michigan wants its next generation of teachers to know more.

But raising educational standards for teachers is proving to be a challenge.

Here's what you remember your teachers saying to you

Mar 30, 2015

The Teachable Moment Project collected remembrances from you of the teachers in your life.

By intentionally leaving “memorable words” open to your interpretation, we heard from you about teachers who inspired you, as well as teachers who derailed dreams.

All next week, Michigan Radio will air a special series of reports looking at teaching and how well Michigan’s colleges and universities are doing at turning out effective teachers.

There is wide agreement among education experts that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor in how students do in school. But how do we define what makes a good teacher? 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Michigan charter school authorizers are trying to come up with independent ways to evaluate themselves.

Authorizers help create charter schools and are supposed to hold them accountable. They’ve been under a lot of scrutiny lately.

Ford STEM Lab

The focus will be on how to increase diversity in tech jobs as a hundred Detroit middle schoolers gather this weekend for a two-day hackathon. It's put on by Ford STEAM Lab, which is part of the Ford Motor Company Fund in conjunction with partners like California-based #YesWeCode and the Level Playing Field Institute.

The hackathon will allow young people to work with technology professionals to pitch ideas for their own mobile app and build a prototype in 48 hours.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is $53 million behind in pension payments with no end in sight for the financial free-fall.

According to Chad Livengood of The Detroit News, the district is predicting a deficit of $166 million.

"The biggest driver to the DPS deficit is legacy costs and past debt," Livengood says.

Kalamazoo College will no longer require students to provide their ACT or SAT scores when they apply. 

Instead, admissions officials will look more closely at the classes applicants took in high school, and their GPA. 

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

UPDATE: We've added the actual policies that the board is considering below.

Ann Arbor's school board met last night to consider banning guns on campus.

It's been weighing the question since a gun-rights advocate named Joshua Wade wore a gun to a high school concert. In Michigan, it’s legal to openly carry a gun in schools so long as you have a concealed pistol license.  

Christina Lumpkin at home with her daughter, Maya and grandson, Jahari.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

Think about most of the news stories you read about kids in Detroit. What comes to mind?

Something about dysfunctional schools? Maybe a crime story?

When’s the last time you felt like a story transported you into the life of a family? Where you really got to know a child? Where you felt what it might be like to be a parent raising kids there?

MichigansChildren / YouTube

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says seven charter school authorizers in Michigan are no longer at risk of suspension. Charter school authorizers help create charter schools and are supposed to hold them accountable.

But last summer Flangan warned 11 charter authorizers they were at risk of being prevented from opening new schools until they did a better job holding their existing schools accountable.

flickr user Ben W

The Michigan state police picked more than 80 public, private and charter schools to share $4 million as part of the Competitive School Safety Grant Program.

Nancy Becker-Bennett, director of the MSP’s grants and community services division, said schools all over the state applied for the program.


Three members of Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Michigan are facing criminal charges after the fraternity vandalized a ski resort one January weekend in Gaylord, Michigan.

The State Board of Education (SBE) has selected a new state superintendent of schools. Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston will take over the Michigan Department of Education in July. That’s when current state Superintendent Mike Flanagan will retire.

Whiston says he’s had a lot of success in Dearborn – and hopes to achieve similar goals statewide.

“We’ve raised student achievement, raised graduation rates, our budget’s in line,” he said after a final interview with the SBE Wednesday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Permanent suspension sounds … well … permanent, right?


Just because the Sigma Alpha Mu international board has voted to “permanently suspend the charter of our University of Michigan chapter” after the fraternity vandalized a ski resort in Northern Michigan, doesn’t mean the frat is gone forever.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Recently, industrial designer Jeff DeBoer wrote an essay for The Next Idea raising the idea of making Michigan "the design Mecca of the world."

And he believes the key to that is to make art as important as the science, technology, engineering and math classes currently occupying much of the nation's attention.

Todd Petrie / Flickr

Thetoad / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder has taken direct control over the state office tasked with monitoring Michigan’s worst performing schools.

The elected state Board of Education previously had control over the state School Reform Office. Snyder signed an executive order on Thursday that moves the reform office to his budget office.


The Next Idea

For more than a century and a half, our education system has been designed around a model that prioritizes the standard delivery of instructional content and persistently focuses on what should be “covered."  This model may have served the needs of public education through the first half of the 20th century, but not today.

Colleen / Flickr Creative Commons

The state Board of Education is expected to pick a new superintendent soon. The board narrowed the list of finalists to three today.

Bill DiSessa, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education, says the finalists will be interviewed next Wednesday, and the Board will make the final choice after that meeting.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says Michigan needs to spend more money on adult education if it wants to meet the need for skilled workers.

As Michigan’s economy grows, there is a greater need for skilled laborers.

Karen Holcomb-Merrill with the Michigan League for Public Policy says Michiganders with limited K-12 educations need help getting the basic skills they need to fill those jobs.


A new report criticizes the expansion of online K-12 schools in Michigan.

Co-author Michael Barbour is with Sacred Heart University.

He says MEAP scores at full-time virtual schools are below the state average, mainly because the schools aren't doing what they promised.

"For as much as we hear in terms of the PR from these companies about personalized or individualized instruction, it is [actually]  a one-size-fits-all model," says Barbour.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren is still getting public and expert input, even as its deadline approaches.

The group is coming up with recommendations to overhaul and streamline Detroit’s multiple school systems. They face a March 31 deadline to submit recommendations to Governor Snyder.

This past weekend, the coalition held several workshops to hear from Detroit children.

MichigansChildren / YouTube

The state’s top education official says lawmakers should stop allowing new charter schools to open in Michigan. State Superintendent Mike Flanagan told state lawmakers today a moratorium on charter school creation would help stabilize traditional public schools – especially ones in high-poverty areas.

Flickr user Penn State Special Collections / Flickr

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the confrontation between civil rights marchers and Alabama State Troopers known as Bloody Sunday.

Retired teacher and librarian with Detroit Public Schools Gloria Mills has organized a bus trip to Selma for this weekend's commemoration.

James Allenspach

An on-line threat has shaken a west Michigan college campus.

Officials at Kalamazoo College are asking the FBI for help in investigating a threatening note posted on an online campus message board this week.

Buddha painting in Dambulla cave temple in Sri Lanka. People in Sri Lanka have practiced Theravada Buddhism for centuries.
Bernard Gagnon / wikimedia commons

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan has received $2 million to establish the Thai Professorship of Theravada Buddhism.

The school says Thursday the gift will enhance one of the largest Buddhist studies programs in North America. The holder of the endowed chair will teach courses and conduct research to advance knowledge of Thai Buddhism.

via Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Public Schools’ emergency manager has laid out a plan he says should get the district on a “sustainable path” by the end of his 18-month term.

Darnell Earley’s restructuring plan has some short-term specifics, such as convening a summit of Detroit’s “education service providers” to discuss putting a moratorium on creating new schools before fall 2015; identifying further potential school and “substandard facility” closures; and establishing a task force to deal with the district’s high population of special education students.

Gov. Rick Snyder is getting some tough questions about the May ballot proposal to boost road funding at his education and economic summit this week in Detroit.

The plan would raise the state’s sales tax from 6% to 7% and boost road funding by about a $1 billion a year.

A new contractor will run Ann Arbor school buses next year.
Leslie Science and Nature Center / Flickr

Update 2:48 p.m.

The school buses are running again this afternoon in Ann Arbor. A spokesperson for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, the agency responsible for operating the district's bus system, has drivers for this afternoon.

Michigan Radio's Virginia Gordon spoke with WISD spokesperson Emma Jackson.

What's the most memorable thing a teacher has said to you?

Mar 2, 2015
Wikipedia / National Archives & Records Administration

Most of us can remember an influential teacher, or a significant moment we had with a former teacher.

Whether they were words of advice or words that put you in your place, these teachable moments can ring in your ears from school days gone by.