Education

Education
5:50 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

State supt. pans plan to hold back 3rd graders

Michigan’s top education official is panning legislation that would automatically hold back third graders who fail a state reading test.

“You don’t automatically retain kids. That’s just insane,” said state Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This is up to teachers and parents together.”

Flanagan was speaking on the Michigan Public Television program “Off the Record.”

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Education
2:26 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

State of Opportunity's hour on what it's really like in a "low-performing" school

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

The MEAP test has been used to evaluate kids and schools in Michigan for over four and a half decades.

The test is meant to make sure public schools are teaching kids the basics. But MEAP scores affect where parents decide to send their kids, neighborhood housing prices, city tax revenue, and city services.

Basically, the economics of a city rests on how well 8 and 9-year-olds perform on this single test.

State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer spent six weeks inside Congress Elementary in Grand Rapids, a school with consistently low MEAP scores. Dwyer followed a third-grade class as they prepared to take the test. He interviewed students, teachers, and parents, trying to figure out how much these numbers matter. What he found was, the test scores do not even begin to tell the story.

To hear the documentary now and learn more, visit the State of Opportunity website. 

Education
10:37 am
Wed January 29, 2014

State of Opportunity outtakes: It's lunchtime at Congress Elementary

Credit Melissa / anotherlunch.com

For a new State of Opportunity documentary, Dustin Dwyer spent six weeks at Congress Elementary School in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids. Does that conjure images of a fully grown man crammed into a very tiny desk, watching the traffic to the pencil sharpener?

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Education
5:33 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

A quick preview of our documentary on high-stakes testing

Dustin Dwyer and Kimberly Springer from our State of Opportunity team share "five teasers" about the upcoming documentary on high-stakes testing. The documentary will air (and be online) this Thursday.

Here's one thing that Dwyer will explore in the documentary: How the "bad" label can harm a school in an otherwise wealthy district.

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Education
5:27 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Report shows Michigan's low-income 4th-graders lag in reading proficiency

KidsCount

A new report finds the state's poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.

According to the the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low-income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently.

Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the project director for Kids Count Michigan and she joined us today.

Education
11:36 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Students tell government officials about their high school experience

YouthSpeak forum in Washtenaw County
Credit Virginia Gordan

More than a dozen Michigan and Washtenaw County government officials listened attentively yesterday while students and recent graduates spoke about their experiences in Washtenaw County high schools.

The event, called YouthSpeak, was one of a series of youth public forums organized around the state by youth service organizations.

Some students said school policies do not take into account the poverty, homelessness, and family issues many students face. They said this has a negative impact on their education.

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Education
6:30 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Report: Michigan's low-income 4th-graders need to improve their reading proficiency

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report finds Michigan’s poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.

According to the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low-income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently. Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the project director for Kids Count Michigan. She says fourth grade is a pivotal age, since that’s where children stop learning to read and start reading to learn.

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Education
12:53 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

DTE gives $1 million to Michigan Science Center in Detroit

Detroit Science Center, now known as the Michigan Science Center.
user: Liza Lagman Sperl

The DTE Energy Foundation plans to donate $1 million to the Michigan Science Center in Detroit.

According to their press release, the donation will span a period of five years, specifically funding the science center's STEM educational program (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

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12:39 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

How kids self-select out of technical careers

Lead in text: 
Today in Tech & Opportunity, State of Opportunity asks educators and parents: what is your school doing to encourage students from all backgrounds to pursue educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math?
Two related blog posts on technology and opportunity worth highlighting this week, Tess Rinearson's "On Technical Entitlement" and Philip Guo's "On Technical Privilege."
Education
11:10 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Who is Dr. Mark Schlissel, the next president of the University of Michigan?

Dr. Mark Schlissel, the University of Michigan's 14th president.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

This morning, Dr. Mark Schlissel was named the 14th president of the University of Michigan. Dr. Schlissel most recently served as provost of Brown University.

The university Board of Regents appointed Schlissel unanimously.

According to the university’s press release, Schlissel will succeed Mary Sue Coleman on July 1, 2014.

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Education
10:17 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Dr. Mark Schlissel is the 14th president of the University of Michigan

Dr. Mark Schlissel is the 14th president of the University of Michigan
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

This morning, Dr. Mark Schlissel was named the 14th president of the University of Michigan. Dr. Schlissel most recently served as provost of Brown University.

Schlissel graduated from Princeton University in 1979. He later received his MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. 

Education
7:46 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Next U of M president could be announced today

The next president of the University of Michigan may be announced later this morning. The Board of Regents has scheduled a special meeting at 10 a. m. to vote on the U of M's next president.

Current U of M President Mary Sue Coleman announced last year her plans to retire in July.

Coleman has led the university for 12 years.

The next president will be the 14th president at the University of Michigan.

Education
7:30 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Lansing school buses won't be privatized

Lansing school board president Peter Spadafore (left) talks with Dan Hamilton with AFSCME 25
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing school district will continue to operate its own buses next year.

The school board decided Thursday not to go with a private bus company.

Supporters say privatizing the bus service would save the Lansing school district $5 million over the next five years, primarily because the district would not have to replace much of its aging bus fleet.

But school board president Peter Spadafore says now is not the time to privatize the bus service serving thousands of capital city school children.

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Education
9:13 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Detroit students use media to transform their reality

Boggs School student Ajani DeFreece photographs Jacob Wheeler for a Detroit Future Schools class project.
Credit Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

A program in Detroit is pairing digital media artists with classroom teachers in a handful of city schools.  It’s called Detroit Future Schools. This year they’re teaming up with The James and Grace Lee Boggs School...a K-4 charter on the city’s east side. Reporter Zak Rosen is spending the entire year at the school. He brings us this report on how the program uses media, technology and art to help students understand and shape their worlds.

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Newsmaker Interview
9:45 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Does year-round school mean kids lose out on summer vacation?

Mercedes Meija Michigan Radio

Interview with Dan Quinn, director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

In his recent State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder called for a pilot program for year-round schooling. Since that speech, education advocates and teachers’ unions have been weighing in on the question.

Schools that move to a year-round schedule would still have the same number of vacation days as traditionally structured schools, but those days would be dispersed over the course of the year rather than having a long summer break.

Joining us now is the director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, Dan Quinn. He is also a teacher of economics at Grosse Pointe North High School.  

Education
6:07 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Survey shows more Michigan public schools privatizing support services

A Dean Transportation bus in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Steven Depolo Creative Commons

Two in every three Michigan public school districts contract out at least one major service, like custodial, transportation or food service. That’s according to a yearly survey of districts.

The Midland-based research institute Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which supports privatizing services, has published the survey every year since 2003. Here’s a summary of the center’s survey:

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Stateside
4:17 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Zero tolerance school discipline policies may be doing more harm than good

Detroit Public Schools is offering 45 schools to charter companies.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

It's been a year and a half since state education leaders called for reforms to Michigan's "zero tolerance" discipline policies. Critics say too many students are still being booted out of school because of zero-tolerance measures and the result is the kids who are getting in trouble and being expelled are the ones who most need help. And they point to the statistics: A disproportionate number of the students who are punished are minorities.

Bridge Magazine contributing writer Ted Roelofs wrote a piece in a recent issue titled "Zero tolerance school reforms hit resistance in Michigan.” He joined us today along with Annie Salsich, director of the Center on Youth Justice at the Vera Institute, to explore zero-tolerance policies and what can be done to promote a safe and productive school environment.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:03 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment a suitable replacement for the MEAP?

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will take next spring.

The state has already decided to replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests and educational officials have endorsed the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

In the coming months, you’ll likely be hearing a lot about the politics of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Some lawmakers say the test takes away control from local curriculum because it’s being developed by a national consortium.

Public Sector Consultant’s Michelle Richard joined us today to discuss the new test.

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
4:30 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

University of Michigan administrators boost efforts to improve racial climate on campus

The Trotter Multicultural Center at the University of Michigan may move closer to the university's central campus as part of an effort to improve race relations on campus.
MESA/Trotter University of Michigan

Administrators at the University of Michigan are “doubling down” on efforts to improve race relations at the university’s Ann Arbor campus.

Minority enrollment is down at the university: In 2008, black students made up about 6.8% of the university’s freshman class. In 2012, that number dropped to 4.6%.

A recent Twitter campaign caught the attention of administrators, as students took to the Web to express their frustrations with race relations on campus. The #BBUM campaign – Being Black at Michigan – went viral, with more than 10,000 tweets using the hashtag in November.

As MLive’s Kellie Woodhouse reported, the university is now launching a campus-wide effort to increase enrollment of underrepresented students and improve the campus climate.

One plan in the works is to renovate the Trotter Multicultural Center, a hub dedicated to providing a safe working environment for students on campus.

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Education
9:41 am
Mon January 20, 2014

MSU to pay out bulk of $7M health reimbursements

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University soon will pay out the bulk of $7 million in negotiated health care reimbursements to thousands of union workers.

School spokesman Jason Cody says the payments of more than $1,000 each will show up Friday in paychecks for employees paid every other week, and Jan. 31 for those paid monthly.

The Lansing State Journal reports the employees include roughly 5,800 mid-level managers, police officers, cafeteria workers and others represented by eight unions.

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