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Education

Association for Advancing Automation

 

The economy that today’s students will soon enter is rapidly changing. That’s the reality that fueled the creation of a recent report from Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan think tank. The report outlines major issues and suggestions for how to help graduates thrive in a new economy that requires adapting to changing technology throughout their careers.

Patrick Cooney, a policy associate at Michigan Future, Inc., joined Stateside to discuss the report’s contents.

Sparty
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

"Go Green" has some added meaning in East Lansing today.

Michigan State University officials say the university has reached an important fundraising goal.

Six years ago, MSU officials quietly launched the “Empower Extraordinary” campaign.

The campaign to raise $1.5 billion dollars to fund expansion of the East Lansing university’s business, medicine and music programs became public three years ago.

As of today, university officials say the campaign has met its goal, a full year ahead of schedule.

University of Michigan MSIS / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

College and university campuses are kicking into high gear for the fall semester.

Students are moving in, figuring out their way around campus, and, it they haven’t already, declaring a major.

Parents tend to be pleased with a major that leads the student along a well-marked career path – a major like business, engineering, or nursing.

Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal speaking at the podium
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids School Board voted today to take a formal stand against President Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – or DACA.

DACA protects many young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There are fewer charter schools in session this year – a first since Michigan’s first charter school opened its doors in 1994.

Five new charter schools did open, but 11 charter schools that were operating last school year closed their doors, mostly for poor academic achievement or financial problems, according to a press release from the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA). One caveat is Detroit Prep, a successful first-year school that merged its administrative oversight with another charter school, but remains open.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is starting the new school year with an old problem: teacher vacancies.

But new DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the district has “momentum” on fixing the problem.

The district still has about 200 classroom spots to fill before school starts Tuesday.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

We don’t often recognize the implicit biases we all carry.

But study after study shows we tend to interact most with people who are like us: people who look like us, talk like us. 

One of places where our implicit bias can be especially problematic is in the classroom.

kids in classroom
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Kids in charter schools in Detroit performed twice as well as those in traditional public schools on the M-STEP test. However, both groups still had extremely low scores on the state's yearly standardized assessment.

Only 23.6 percent of charter school students were proficient in English language arts, compared to 10.6 percent in traditional public schools.

In math, it was 12.7 percent versus 6.1 percent.

Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The 2017 scores for the M-STEP — the standardized test that most students in Michigan take — have been released.

It’s a mixed bag of results, with some promising signs of growth and other areas that clearly need work. M-STEP (the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) replaced the old MEAP test in 2015. The test is administered online, and it's designed to measure students' knowledge in math, science, social studies, and English language arts.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

Math and social studies scores are up among Michigan’s students, but English and reading scores are lower, according to the state’s spring 2017 M-STEP/MME results.

The Michigan Department of Education released its annual M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) results Tuesday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An odd combination bicycle built for three and a piano is making its way from Flint to Mackinac Island this weekend.

Organizer Mark Braun plans to spend some time playing the piano as he and volunteers pedal their odd contraption north this weekend.

“When we swap out riders on the back every ten miles, I like to thank them by giving them a quick tune while people get off the bike and on the bike,” says Braun, “If we happen to roll through town when people are out active, we’ll stop occasionally and play a quick tune for somebody.”

A yellow school bus driving down the road
Like_the_Grand_Canyon / flickr

A free market think-tank says the use of private contractors in public schools has grown over the last decade and a half.

Seventy percent of public school districts in Michigan forgo the search for janitors, bus drivers and cafeteria staff. Instead, those schools rely on private contractors for at least one of those services. In 2001 only about 30% of school districts outsourced services.

James Hohman is with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which conducted the study. He said no school can provide public education by itself.

The Old Main building at Wayne State University
Wikimedia Commons

Many states across the country cut funding for public higher education during the Great Recession. A new report shows the money hasn’t been replaced in most states – including in Michigan.

A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report looks at how states have slashed funding for public universities over the last decade. Michigan ranks in the middle. However, experts say that doesn’t paint the whole picture.

Palace Entertainment Vice Chairman Arn Tellem (left) and CMS President Patti Poppe (right) hand $1 million checks to Community Foundation President Isaiah Oliver.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting in 2018, Flint high school students will get some help to pay for college.

The Consumers Energy Foundation and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores are pledging $1 million each to start of Flint Promise program.  The Promise is patterned after similar college scholarship programs in other Michigan cities.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last year, when Michigan Technical Academy needed money for capital improvements and operations for its elementary and middle school, it turned to private bondholders for a loan.

The contract gave bondholders the right to all but 3% of the district's state school aid money in the event of default. 

So when Central Michigan University revoked the district's charter this spring, CMU got its 3% cut of the July and August school aid payments, and bondholders got the rest.

That left nothing for teachers. 

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
User alkruse24 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Education has announced it will reduce the overall score students need to receive on an English-proficiency test after an earlier change made it more difficult for students to transition out of English learner status.

Emmanuel Smith / MrEintheD.com

The Next Idea

If you’re old enough, you might remember Schoolhouse Rock, a series of musical films that helped kids learn.

Emmanuel Smith is “Mr. E in the D,” and he’s updating that concept by using hip-hop to teach kids math.

Money
Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

We have an update on the efforts to get Detroit area charter school employees paid for time worked during the school year.

Many employees at Michigan Technical Academy spread their paychecks out over the year, but late last month, the charter school's board had to divert those summer paychecks to creditors. 

Matchbook Learning is the nonprofit charter management company that directly employs MTA staff. Today, the company's CEO Sajan George sent a letter to MTA employees saying the charter's board gave its approval last night to appoint an independent "receiver" to review the payroll issue. 

Andrew Stein, executive director of City Year Detroit, says Americorps members help at-risk students, and teachers who have to manage large class sizes.
Detroit Public Schools

Detroit public school students could soon be spending a lot less time on testing during the school year.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is moving to cut the number of assessments they give students across the district by 70 percent — from administering 186 tests down to 57 tests.

RANDOM HOUSE, PENGUIN RANDON HOUSE LLC, NEW YORK

A decision to join Teach for America brought then 22-year-old Michelle Kuo to the Mississippi Delta. Her hope was to teach American history through black literature. It was a very different life than the one she'd had growing up as the daughter of parents who’d emigrated from Taiwan to West Michigan. 

stevendepolo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We reported last week that a Detroit area charter school used state money to pay its bondholders instead of its teachers.

Many employees at Michigan Technical Academy spread their paychecks out over the year, but late last month, the charter school's board had to divert those summer paychecks to creditors. 

pile of one  dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More than 460 Michigan college students who say they have been defrauded by their for-profit schools filed federal claims this year to try to get their student loans forgiven. But the Trump administration has not approved any so-called borrower defense claims yet.

Students from Detroit's Neighborhood Educational Center Program in 1970.
American Library Association

In the wake of Detroit’s 1967 rebellion, and similar unrest nationwide, a group called the Kerner Commission dug into the underlying causes.

Their main finding was that America was heading toward two separate, unequal societies: one white, one black. One of the deepest inequalities was in education.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A literacy program is hoping to get more Genesee County children reading this summer. 

Ja’Nel Jamerson is the director of the Flint & Genesee Literacy Network.

He says it’s important for children everywhere to maintain their education levels during their summer vacation.  

But Jamerson says it’s especially important in Flint, where thousands of children were exposed to lead in their drinking water which can negatively affect their neurological development.

group of students facing away from camera
Courtesy of The James & Grace Lee Boggs School / Facebook

 


Fifty years after Detroit’s 1967 rebellion, conversations about what the events of that summer so long ago mean for our society today have been everywhere.

But kids, who generally prefer cartoons to the evening news, might not have many opportunities to engage with the history of what happened in the city 50 years ago. That is, unless, they to go the James & Grace Lee Boggs School

tables in a classroom
Frank Juarez / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Charter school employees at Michigan Technical Academy in metro Detroit are not getting paid for time they worked in the classroom.

The charter school’s license was revoked last month for poor academics and financial problems -- it owed roughly $16 million in long-term debt and $50,000 in short-term loans, according to Central Michigan University officials. CMU authorized the school and issued its charter.

Whether teachers get their $550 million back from the state depends on the Supreme Court's decision.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Nearly every school district in the nation uses the same type of salary schedule to pay its teachers -- a schedule with "steps" and "lanes" that pays based on years in the classroom, and you automatically get paid more if you have a master's degree or higher.

Photo courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute

Our first post in this series looked at the state's "average salary" for teachers and how that number can be misleading since it doesn't account for years of experience.

Results of our teacher survey.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

We put out a non-scientific survey earlier this summer asking teachers in the state how they've seen their pay change over the past several years. (You can check out the survey questions here.)

 

We heard from 390 teachers across more than 115 districts, which is awesome. (Thanks, teachers!)

 

We'll go through the six main themes that emerged, but first let's get up to speed on the basics.

 

A primer on teacher pay

 

Public school teachers in Michigan and most of the country follow a salary schedule that doles out automatic and relatively small incremental raises for each year of service (these are called "steps") and gives a bigger pay bump for additional educational attainment, like a master's degree or PhD (these are called "lanes").  

 

The number of "steps" and "lanes" varies from district to district. It can take seven steps to reach the top of the teacher pay ladder in one district and 30 steps in another district.  There are no more yearly step increases after a teacher reaches the top step, but some districts offer "longevity" bonuses for veteran teachers.

crowd of people in chairs
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

Give us back our schools.

That's the message some Albion residents have for state lawmakers.

The south central Michigan city voted to let Marshall Public Schools annex its school district last May. But now some community members are asking for a do-over.

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