Education

Stateside
4:53 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Are schools in America flunking lunch?

A school lunch.
Beau Wade wikimedia commons

A 2007 School Nutrition Dietary Assessment concluded that most schools in America exceed USDA guidelines for the quantities of saturated fat, total fat and sodium in our school lunches.

And the surplus beef and poultry that the USDA offers as free commodity items to our schools are held to a lower standard than fast-food chains like McDonald's. In the past ten years, the USDA paid $145 million for pet-food grade "spent hen meat" that went into the school meals program.

The average dollar amount spent per school lunch nationwide is just $1. Twenty-five cents of that is spent on milk.

What can school lunches tell us about the politics of welfare, food science and agriculture companies? And what can they tell us about inequality in Michigan and throughout America?

Susan Levine, a professor in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and author of the book, "School Lunch Politics: The surprising History of America's Favorite Welfare Program,” joined us today.

And Jean DuRussel Weston, the Director of Patient Education and program manager for Project Healthy Schools at the University of Michigan, also joined in on the conversation.

Listen to the interview above.

Education
12:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Study: Michigan is national leader when it comes to for-profit charter schools

Nearly 80% of Michigan’s charter schools are managed by private, for-profit companies, according to a new report from the National Education Policy Center.

The report shows that when it comes to privately-managed public charter schools—those run by Education Management Organizations (EMOs)—Michigan is a stark anomaly.

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Education
9:42 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Auditors paint a 'Bleak Picture' of Flint school district finances

Students walk to class in a Flint school hallway (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Last night, Flint school board members listened as auditors painted a bleak picture of the school district’s finances. The auditors blamed years of "poor internal controls" for the district’s big budget deficit.  Auditors say they did not find any "financial misconduct."

The Flint school district’s deficit is more than ten million dollars. The district also owes the Genesee Intermediate School District nearly nine million dollars.

Larry Watkins is Flint’s interim school superintendent.  He says the Flint school district will have to address its own budget deficit first.

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Education
6:17 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Flint school board members to review audit, with state aid payment on the line

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Flint School Board will hear the findings of the district’s most recent audit this evening.

The audit is expected to show continued problems with misspent funds, lax oversight and other issues.

“Our students deserve the very best and we’re definitely going to do that. In order for us to do that, we’re going to have to turn this district around,” says Larry Watkins, Flint’s interim school superintendent.

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Education
5:53 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Enrollment plummets in state-run Education Achievement Authority schools

Michigan’s attempt at a state-run “turnaround district” for the lowest-performing schools is bleeding students.

The Educational Achievement Authority is one of Governor Snyder’s signature policy initiatives. It launched in the last school year, with 15 former Detroit Public Schools.

State data now show the EAA lost more than 2,000 students since last school year. That’s nearly a 25% decline.

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Stateside
4:31 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Is there a link between arts education and entrepreneurship? This study says yes.

Students in a classroom.
Navy Hale Keiki School Flickr

A recent study coming out of Michigan State University reaffirms the need for one educational discipline that’s been continuously cut over the past decade — the arts.

Researchers found a startling link between taking part in arts and crafts activities as a child and patents received or businesses launched as an adult.

According to that study, which examined MSU Honors STEM students between 1990-1995, 94% of STEM graduates had musical training in their lives, compared to 34% of all adults.

Joining us is one of the authors of the study, Rex LaMore, the director of the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development. Cynthia Taggart, a professor of Music Education at Michigan State also talked to us.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
8:17 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Here's what your name says about your future prospects

Credit Alan O'Rourke / Flickr

Researchers have done all kinds of experiments to learn how our names can impact perceptions. If the research is to be believed, for some people creating a new identity other than the one given at birth might be a good idea.

The University of Chicago Business School and the National Bureau of Economic Research, for example, conducted a study that compared responses to identical resumes. The only difference was that some resumes were from applicants with African American sounding names and others had White sounding names.

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Education
10:58 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Detroit Public Schools leave federal oversight, gain 'incremental independence'

Jack Martin

After five years, the Detroit Public Schools has been removed from “high-risk status.”

The Michigan Department of Education gave Detroit federal high-risk status in 2008, after a federal audit revealed some serious financial discrepancies amounting to about $53 million.

But the state says the district has put enough safeguards in place now to relax its monitoring.

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Education
2:15 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

How one Detroit charter school captured national attention — and what educators have to say about it

Teacher Danielle Johnson and Detroit Achievement Academy founder Kyle Smitley on the Ellen Degeneres show.
YouTube YouTube

This week on State of Opportunity, Sarah Alvarez is taking a look at some radical decisions that have shaped the educational landscape of Detroit schools.

Today, families in the city are taking a gamble on brand-new charter schools, like the Detroit Achievement Academy.

The academy opened earlier this year, by 28-year-old Kyle Smitley. Smitley is the first to admit she lacks formal educational experience. "I’ve been laughed out of so many rooms coming into the education world," she says.

But that hasn’t stopped the unconventional school from getting national buzz. Earlier this year, Smitley and the academy were featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Still, the odds are stacked up against the academy and other charter schools that pop up in Detroit. There are more seats in Detroit schools than students. Many students in the city haven’t met benchmark requirements in their grade levels.

So what do educational experts think about these experimental schools? Check out Sarah’s piece for more. 

Education
10:49 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Does diversity make for better schools?

Coverage of desegregation in Detroit's public schools in the Detroit Free Press.
Credit clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

In short, the answer is 'we don't really know.'

Stanford University's Sean Reardon studies achievement gaps - the difference between how one group of students performs compared to another group.

When comparing black, white, and Latino students, Reardon says you see the importance not so much of race, but of class.

"Over the last 40 or so years, the black-white achievement gap and the Hispanic-white achievement gap have narrowed a lot," Reardon said. "On the other hand, the gap between high and low income students has increased quite dramatically."

Reardon said that particular gap has grown about 40% since the 1980s. 

But while economic diversity might matter more in ensuring a quality education, that doesn't mean people want to give up on racial and ethnic diversity.

Ray Litt, a community activist involved in Detroit's Milliken v. Bradley case, reflected, "The desegregation action was to provide a quality integrated venue in which students and staff are exposed to and can interact with kids of different races religions and economic status," he said. "We all need to be able to be comfortable, not tolerating, a society that is the melting pot."

Racial diversity is not something you are likely to find in a majority of Detroit's schools, even after a hard fought desegregation plan.

Read more and listen to the whole story at State of Opportunity.

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Education
11:55 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Detroit schools issue 'child safety ID cards' to some students

A child is fingerprinted for an ID card at Detroit's Chrysler Elementary School.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools will start issuing “child safety ID cards” in some elementary schools.

The ID card will contain a child’s picture, fingerprint, and other identifying information. Participation is voluntary.

District officials say the cards could help find and identify missing children more quickly.

The district will give one card to parents, and keep the information on file. They say the district will only share the card’s information with law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

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Stateside
5:20 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Do Michigan's colleges need to focus more on the state than the 'global community'?

The Beaumont Tower on Michigan State University's campus.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Are Michigan colleges and universities so focused outward that they have become "placeless"? Are families being needlessly fractured by a growing emphasis on global engagement, and a move away from local involvement and commitment?

Jeffrey Polet, a professor of political science at Hope College in Holland thinks so. In a column for Bridge Magazine Polet argues that Michigan’s “hallowed halls may lead to the world, but they also contribute to the fracturing of communities.”

Polet talks to us about what he’s seen that caused him to write his piece, and where his criticism lies.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
2:18 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

3 things to know about the history of Detroit busing

Newspaper clippings from Detroit's busing era.
Credit clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

For State of Opportunity,  I've been wading through hours of audio and stacks of research for months about Detroit's mid-1970's busing controversy.

 More specifically, the educational fall-out from the Milliken v. Bradley case.  Here's what happened.

1. Busing was used as a last resort to fix segregated schools. 

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Education
3:55 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

All veterans now eligible for in-state tuition at all Michigan public universities

College Classroom
Credit Wikimedia Commons

All of Michigan's fifteen public universities are now offering in-state tuition to all veterans, regardless of their legal residence or active duty status.

In the past, this benefit was limited to active duty personnel.

Michael A. Boulus is executive director of the Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan. He said "Our message is that Michigan's public universities are dedicated to supporting our veterans and their families. We value veterans and are committed to helping them get degrees that are vital to their success and the success of the state."

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Education
11:32 am
Mon November 11, 2013

A 'funnel district' forms in Ferndale as students exercise school choice

Funnels.
Credit dorena-wm / flickr

Every school day hundreds of kids from Detroit travel up Woodward and many other routes on their way to Ferndale’s schools. They don't need to move to go to these schools.

Ferndale has wooed Detroit students, exercising their ability to educate students from other districts under Michigan’s "schools of choice" policy.

The district has two high schools that cater almost exclusively to students from Detroit.

One of them, University High, has 426 students only seven of whom come from Ferndale.  

The school system has been called a "funnel district" because of traffic in and out of the district. Kids coming in from Detroit and some suburbs like Oak Park and Hazel Park make up one end of the funnel.

The other end of the funnel is made up of kids leaving Ferndale for suburbs a little farther out. 

You can learn more about how this got started and the financial and educational consequences of it on our State of Opportunity page.

This story is the first in our week-long series looking at how the neighborhood school and education in metro Detroit has changed over the past few decades.

Education
11:51 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Your plans for next week? Listen to our series on education in Detroit

Anti-busing demonstration in Detroit in 1976.
From the John and Leni Sinclair papers UM Bentley Historical Library

Next week, Sarah Alvarez from our State of Opportunity team will explore the long shadow of a busing and integration case 40 years ago, and the way the outcome fundamentally altered the notion of a neighborhood school for students in Detroit and many communities throughout the metro area.

Listen to an interview with Sarah Alvarez and our All Things Considered host, Jennifer White.

Check out this post by Kimberly Springer that shows how some Detroit parents were notified that their kids were going to be bused to another school.

The series “Abandoning the neighborhood school” will focus on these topics:

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Education
2:16 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

University of Michigan announces $4 billion fundraising goal

University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman announced a $4 billion fundraising goal at a press conference today.
Credit Sarah Kerson / Michigan Radio

That's the largest fundraising goal ever for an American public university, and university officials say $1.7 billion has already been raised during what they call a two-year "silent" phase. Included in that $1.7 billion are several high-profile donations from alumni like Stephen Ross and President Mary Sue Coleman herself.

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Education
11:49 am
Wed November 6, 2013

What kind of education do you get if you spend $12,000 per student?

Nathan Cohen teaches 5th grade at Pierce Elementary in Birmingham
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

Our State of Opportunity team has been diving into the issue school funding over the past couple months.

The vast majority of Michigan K-12 schools get between $7,000 - $8,000 per pupil every year. But there are some schools that get more…a lot more. We're talking about roughly a $5,000 difference between the richest schools in the state and the poorest schools.

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Education
9:51 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Higher ed in Michigan: tuition rises as state support falls

Cost of college education
Credit Morgue File

In-state tuition and fees at Michigan's four-year public colleges and universities rank sixth highest nationally, with a Michigan average of $11,600 per year.

But state support for higher education per full-time student in Michigan ranks fifth from the bottom. State support per student is $3,962 in Michigan compared to the national average of $6,646.

That's according to data recently released by the College Board in a report on "Trends in College Pricing 2013."

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Stateside
4:55 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Macomb County high school see success in 'flipped classroom' education strategy

TeachingWorks, a national organization based at U of M, aims to develop a nationwide system for all teaching programs, so that teachers are prepared the minute they walk into the classroom.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

There is a high school in Macomb County that has grabbed the attention of educators across the country.

Three years ago, Clintondale High School became the very first in the country to be a "flipped school."

Kids watch teachers' lectures at home as much as they want or need, and class time is when teachers are there to help with what we would otherwise call "homework."

One education expert says maybe online is controversial, but the flipped classroom is a new strategy nearly everyone agrees on. It can be a very good thing for students and teachers.

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