Stateside

this is the correct one

Jane M Sawyer / morgue file

Michigan's Education Achievement Authority, formed in 2011, was created to help failing schools. It currently operates 15 schools in Detroit.

EAA Chancellor John Covington stepped down with one year left on his contract. What does this mean for the EAA and the students in its 15 schools?

Bridge Magazine education writer Chastity Pratt Dawsey covers the EAA extensively. She said there had been talk for months that Covington was going to resign.

Veronica Conforme was named the interim replacement. She’s from New York City, where she was Chief Operating Officer for New York City public schools. Pratt said it's unclear if they are going to keep Conforme at the helm or if they are going to hire someone new.

Pratt added that the EAA had to do damage control in the media and let everyone know that they are trying to do better.

“There were some misgivings about [Covington's] leadership and whether or not the EAA was going in the right direction,” Pratt said.

Pratt added that the EAA had problems since it was put together hastily in 2011. In its first year, it was supposed to be funded by donations, which has not been done for any school in the United States.

“The first year, the donations did not come in as expected. They get the kids the second year of operations, they don’t get the Title I money that they think they are going to get,” Pratt said.

The EAA had to borrow money, using the Detroit Public Schools as a conduit. They started to lose students. MEAP scores were lower than promised. Their online individualized education plan did not see the success people thought it would. State legislators even complained about a lack of transparency in the system, and that Covington had a lucrative contract.

Pratt said that the EAA needs to turn around their academics. Parents and teachers are saying they want results, not excuses.

“Do something, make it happen. Otherwise, what was the point?” Pratt said. 

*Listen to full interview above.

-Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.

The Cerebral Palsy Swagger / Facebook

To say it was a story that captured the hearts of the world is no exaggeration.

Fourteen-year-old Hunter Gandee was searching for a way to call attention to cerebral palsy and its challenges because he’d seen his little brother, Braden living with it for all of his seven years.

Hunter carried his brother on his back for 40 miles, from their hometown in Temperance, Michigan to the University of Michigan Wrestling Center. They called it the Cerebral Palsy Swagger.

The trip was not easy for Hunter, but he said it wasn’t easy for his younger brother either, who suffered chafing on his inner thighs from being carried.

“We weren’t sure if we were going to make it,” Hunter said. He said the plan was to push Braden in a stroller, but fortunately they didn’t have to.

“We called a few friends and I had a friend pray for me over the phone,” Hunter said.

They also had input from a therapist and physical therapist on how to fix Braden’s sling. After the help, the journey was much easier.

Braden and Hunter’s mother said the real story is not what the boys did, but the people who helped along the way.

“If Hunter would have walked and nobody paid attention, it wouldn’t have made a difference,” Danielle Gandee said. “It’s everybody else that paid attention and wanted to hear more and wanted to learn more that actually made it a story.”

Hunter is now fighting to get Braden's school playground completely reconstructed so that he can play with his friends.  Hunter also said he wants to study biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan and build mobility aids for people with CP or other disabilities.

You can follow Hunter’s effort on the Facebook page the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, or you can follow their blog.

*Listen to full story above. 

Alex Proimos / flickr

April 1 was an important day for many in Michigan. It was the day nearly half a million people in our state became newly eligible for the expanded Medicaid program.

Since then, more than 300,000 people have enrolled. Many have not seen a physician for a long time. Or, they have relied on emergency rooms for their medical care.

As revealed in a study published in the medical journal JAMA Surgery, there's good news and challenging news in all of this.

Certainly it's good that patients will be able to turn to a physician for medical care.

But the challenge is the overall poor health of many of these patients, especially surgical patients, and that has many implications – to the patients, to the hospitals and to the surgeons treating them.

Chief Medical Officer of the University of Michigan Health System, Dr. Darrell Campbell, Junior, talked about the study on Stateside.

Campbell analyzed data on 14,000 patients who had operations in 52 hospitals in Michigan from July 2012 to June 2013. The study looked at the Medicaid population and compared them to people with private insurance but were around the same age. The study analyzed the condition those patients were in prior to their surgical procedure.

“What we found was that they weren’t in very good shape,” Campbell said. “And that has consequences for the results after they have surgery, not only in terms of how well they do from physical point of view but also the cost and resources that are used afterwards.”

user: THEMACGIRL / flickr

Muskegon County ranks 82nd out of 82 counties in health behaviors and 64th out of 82 in health outcomes in Michigan. A health initiative has been organized to raise their ranks. 

It's called 1 in 21.

The goal is to raise the county's health behaviors from last to first by the year 2021. 

Linda Jaurez is co-chair of the 1 in 21 campaign and CEO of Hackley Community Care Center. Ken Krause is the director of public health for Muskegon County.

Kruase says the purpose of the initiative is to get the community to commit to changing something in their personal, family, or community life, and move toward healthier habits to create a culture change.

“It’s looking at how do we get people to think of ‘what can you do?’ rather than trying to tell them what to do,” Krause says.

Jaurez says they were able to put together the initiative with little funding.

The campaign has already started some new programs in the county, such as “Bike to Work Week," and had a school participate in an “Eating an Apple” challenge with New Zealand.

The campaign reaches out to those who are health conscious and those who aren’t through health care providers and physicians providing the information to patients about the campaign.

Jaurez and Krause have some advice for all of Michigan on how they can get together to become more health conscious.

“Don’t wait for a big corporation to give money – begin now,” Jaurez said.

*Listen to full interview above.

–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michgan Radio Newsroom. 

Mike Duggan

“Six months from now, you are going to be able to judge for yourself whether the leadership of this city has a sound plan and is achieving it.”

Those were the words of Mayor Mike Duggan when he was sworn in.

His six-month challenge is coming to an end. All this week, The Detroit Journalism Cooperative will look at the changes in Detroit over the past six months and how the city is functioning under bankruptcy.

Michigan Radio’s Detroit reporter, Sarah Cwiek, and investigative reporter Lester Graham spoke with Cynthia Canty on Stateside about Duggan's efforts.

Though emergency manager Kevyn Orr is still running the show, Duggan has shown potential.

“He’s showing some real leadership skills for a guy who has been elected to serve a city with no power,” Graham says.

During Duggan’s campaign, he talked a lot about being involved in the bankruptcy progress and being aggressive with Kevyn Orr. They signed a power-sharing agreement after the election. While Orr continues to manage the bankruptcy, Duggan is focusing on the day-to-day operations of the city.

So far, Duggan has been focusing on blight, public lighting, and putting city buses on the roads. Cwiek says Duggan is building a good reputation with most of the city.

When judging Duggan’s efforts, he has no control over the bankruptcy, police department, or school district.

Duggan has said that he wants to bring in more residents, and he has made a bit of progress. His effort to rehabilitate vacant homes and sell them on online auctions helps a little. But crime and schools remain a key issue for potential residents.

“He really does have a knack for actually interacting with and talking to people,” Cwiek said. “I think while there may remain a few people in the communities who are a little suspicious of him, I think he’s managed to build a pretty good rapport with his constituents.”

Graham says as a white mayor in a city that is 80% African American, Duggan knows that he has to be seen as one of the people to make connections.

“He doesn’t dress like our past mayors; he’s a little more casual about his dress,” Graham said. “He drives himself around, he stops in the neighborhoods, he talks with people because he wants to be seen as a regular guy. And he’s not running around, like in the past, with five bodyguards and an entourage.”

The Detroit Journalism Cooperative will be looking at Duggan’s efforts on blight, mass transit, and lighting. Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett will have a report on crime and Sarah Cwiek will look at the city's schools. Those reports will air on Morning Edition and All Things Considered on Michigan Radio.

*Listen to full story above.

–Bre’Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom. 

Craig Titley / Flickr

“Camp Kitigin is a chance for adults to get outside and be a kid again,” says Stephanie Wirtz, outdoor recreation and events coordinator for the Saginaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.  

There is one condition: The camp is screen-free –which means no laptops, smartphones, or any other devices. It’s a chance for adults to get away from the screens and social media sites and reconnect with nature.

Wirtz says documenting  every moment has become a part of our daily lives, and you'll still be able to do so at the camp. You'll just have to do it the old-fashioned way. 

Camp Kitigin will provide you with a journal and disposable camera, so you can still capture those fun moments.

Activities at the camp will include fishing, hiking, kayaking, campfires, zip-lining, and more.

Wirtz said there will be men's and women's cabins; each cabin sleeps 10 campers.

Just like when you were a kid, except no curfews.

“We want to get people outside and we want them to get excited about being outside again,” Wirtz says.

Camp Kitigin will be open August 15-17 and again September 12-14 at YMCA’s Camp Timbers in West Branch. Registration is $200 and all proceeds go to athletic programs throughout Michigan. 

*Listen to full story above.

–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom. 

Wikimedia Commons

As Michigan keeps trying to climb back out of the huge hole that was the Great Recession, a new report suggests we might want to take a closer look at one of our Great Lakes neighbors: Minnesota.

A new study done for the nonpartisan think tank Michigan Future examines the policies, priorities and economies of Michigan and Minnesota.

Because Minnesota has the best economy in the Great Lakes, it's worth trying to figure out what they're doing right, and what Michigan might learn from that.

Business writer Rick Haglund authored the report.

Minnesota is one of the top-ten best economies in the country; it is also a high-tax and high-spending economy.

“For so long, the accepted formula is that in order to have a healthy state economy, you have to have low taxes, low spending, and right-to-work laws,” Haglund says. “Minnesota actually has turned all of that on its head.”

Today on Stateside:

  • Mayor Mike Duggan challenged us to "watch what happens in six months' when he was sworn in. The six months is almost up and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative will take the mayor up on his offer.
  • The U.S. Justice Department is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the Detroit-area rap-metal duo Insane Clown Posse, which objects to a report that describes its fans as a dangerous gang.
  • Muskegon is ranked 82nd out of 82 in health behaviors. A health initiative called "1 in 21" is trying to change that.
  • A summer camp for adults is coming this summer to get adults excited about the great outdoors again. There is one catch: no smartphones. 
  • Minnesota is ranked the best economy in the Great Lakes region. What can Michigan learn from them?
  • A study shows overall poor health of patients on Medicaid, especially surgical patients.

*Listen to full show above.

Wikimedia Commons

The word “drone” holds some negative connotations. However, some believe that commercial drones could help boost the economy. Aaron Cook, director of aviation at Northwestern Michigan College, is one of those people. He joined us today on Stateside.

Cook says when people understand what drones are, what they are not, and what they can do, they will realize the many business opportunities and safety opportunities these drones can provide. They could possibly improve the quality of life and increase productivity.

So what is a drone?

It’s basically a flying robot. It is an aircraft that does not need a human on board, but is controlled by people on the ground using GPS communication technology.

Cook emphasized that drones are not armed, specifically ones flying over U.S. soil, and are not intended to be used to invade citizens' privacy.

They are only meant for commercial use. BP was just approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones in Alaska to monitor pipelines, roads, and equipment. Cook said drones can be used for similar options here in Michigan.

Sean Marshall / flickr

It was during the lame-duck session late last year when the state Legislature passed a law blocking insurers from paying for abortions as part of general coverage in company health care plans.

Under the law, women would have to buy extra coverage for an abortion, even in cases of rape or when the woman's life is in danger.

The law was passed without a public hearing on the basis of petitions that had been circulated by Right To Life of Michigan. It took effect in March.

Now two lawmakers are trying to get that law overturned. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, will introduce the measure in the Senate while Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, will do so in the House.

General Motors

General Motors CEO Mary Barra appeared this week before a House subcommittee that is investigating the automaker's ignition-switch debacle.

Barra didn't sugarcoat the fact that GM bungled this terribly. She freely admitted their engineers knew about the switch problems 12 years ago, but didn't connect that to the airbag malfunction linked to at least 13 deaths.

And Barra had a litany of changes she's instituted in response, including firing 15 high-level employees.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this has to go deeper.

“Members of Congress, to put it gently, (are) skeptical that a company like this with the track record that it’s had, particularly in the last five years, would be able to do that,” Howes said.

Howes says with exception of the president of GM, those at the top of the company are longtime General Motors people.

On Stateside today: 

  • An update with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes on the GM ignition-switch debacle.
  • Two Democratic representatives try to overturn a law that makes women buy extra coverage for an abortion. 
  • The last day of Stateside's music series, Songs Save Lives.
  • Mary Erlewine’s seventh studio album was released today by Earthwork Music.
  • There are those who see a wealth of ways drones could help us and boost the economy. And they see Michigan as being a key player in the future of drones. But what are the regulations for commercial drones?
  • Did you know that Jiffy Mix is made in Michigan?

*Listen to full story above. 

Steven Davy / flickr

Michigan singer and songwriter May Erlewine’s seventh full-length album “Where We Are” was released today on Earthwork Music.

May tells Stateside that writing the album was a bit of a challenge, as life threw her many curve balls.

May and her husband, Seth Bernard, lost two close friends and a grandmother, and then discovered they were pregnant with now four-month-old Iris Betsy, 

“The album is sort of a time capsule of that experience and that time,” May says. “I just sort of sat down with the feelings each day and just let it flow through."

Andrew Filer / flickr

When you think of Jiffy Mix, you may think biscuits and corn muffins. But did you know they are also Michigan made?

Howdy Holmes is the president and CEO of Jiffy Mix. His grandmother is the one who started it all.

When Howdy’s father and uncle, Howard and Dudley, were young, they had a friend who was being raised by a single parent. The young boys invited their friend over for lunch, and he arrived with a bag lunch made by his dad. Howard and Dudley’s mother was concerned about what the father had made for his son.

“She opened the bag and right on top was a biscuit, which she said looked more like a white hockey puck,” Howdy said.

Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities / University of Michigan

*Want to see how climate change will impact the economy of the Great Lakes region? Check out this interactive map from the Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities at the University of Michigan.

The most recent report on the world’s climate from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that no one will be untouched by the effects of climate change. Henry Pollack is one of the contributors to the IPCC report.

Pollack said the most important message from this report is that climate change is real. Humans are the principal factor, the consequences are not pretty, and the window for fixing the issue is getting smaller and smaller.

The report is a compilation of reports from experts all over the world.  

Pollack says climate change will affect everyone in different ways depending on where they live. In Michigan we can expect to see lower water levels in the Great Lakes. Earlier growing seasons may eventually occur, which could be problematic if there were an unexpected freeze. The two principle crops in Michigan, corn and soybeans, would also be very vulnerable to high temperatures.

AP Photo

Headlines and images emerging from Iraq have put a spotlight on warfare between Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam.

But these are uneasy times for Christian Iraqis – or Chaldeans.

Since 2003, about a million Iraqi Christians have fled their home country since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein caused other groups to see the Chaldeans as U.S. allies.

Many of those Chaldeans have found new homes in Michigan.

*Listen to full interview above. 

General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
Dave Pinter / flickr

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was back on Capitol Hill today.

She was there to offer more testimony on the growing ignition switch recall problem which has been linked to 13 deaths and the recall of some six million GM vehicles.

Mary Barra was not alone. She came with independent investigator Anton Valukas and his 300-page report.

Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson says Valukas was able to answer questions about the report while Barra could focus on what GM was going to do in the future.

“Overall, the questioning was a lot gentler than last time, because the committees didn’t express frustration with Mary that she was not able to answer so many different questions,” Shepardson said.

“There are really no questions they could answer with the exception of the why.”

*Listen to full interview above.

sun rays shining through clouds
Piccolo Namek / Creative Commons

Summer will officially arrive Saturday.  

MLive and Farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa says the coming summer looks really nice, despite the thunder and rain we've been seeing.

Torregrossa says there is a hot dome of air creating a stationary front over Michigan, which is bringing in the storm system that spawned tornados in Nebraska, and he says the storms could continue over  the weekend.

He also says El Nino may have an effect on our summer.

El Nino is when a large part of the Pacific over South America and Australia begins to warm up more than normal – which could help the second half of our summer stay cooler and lead to a warmer and drier winter.

Torregrossa predicts overall precipitation this summer will likely be normal.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Today on Stateside: 

  • Mary Barra was back on Capitol Hill with independent investigator Anton Valukas and a 300-page report. 
  • European car sales are on the rise after a six-year slump.
Peter Ito / flickr

The state Senate failed to pass a road repair plan.

Drivers who vote have been clear that they want these roads fixed, yet Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says the failure was "not that big a deal, really."

Chris Gautz, the Lansing reporter for Crain's Detroit Business, explained what Richardville was trying to say.

Gautz said Richardville was trying to point out that the money budgeted for road funding would be in next year’s budget, and that money wouldn't start being generated until January.

“All of the big, monumental changes they were trying to make in the state’s transportation funding system were long-term fixes, and weren’t going to fill a pothole on your street this summer,” Gautz said.

*Listen to the  full interview above. 

Wikimedia Commons

Did you know one cow can produce 10,000 gallons of manure each year?

Now do the math: A large farm with a thousand cows means about 10 million gallons of manure every year.

Now, thanks to research from Michigan State University, that cow poo could become the source of, believe it or not, clean water.

Steve Safferman is an associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Michigan State University.

Safferman says 90  to 95% of cow manure is water.

There is a multi-step process used to retrieve the water. First the manure goes through pretreatment, then filtration, air stripping, and reverse osmosis.

Research shows that from 100 gallons of cow manure, 50 gallons of water can be retrieved.

The water is just like fresh water that comes out of the faucet. This water even has higher quality of drinking for the cows than well water.

Within a year of commercializing, there has been a lot of interest from farmers who are interested in the water-extraction system.  

Safferman said the system could be very useful for farmers who may have to sell their livestock because there is not enough water. It could also cut their water use potentially in half. 

*Listen to full interview above.

user paul (dex) / Flickr

The recall notices just keep coming.

The ignition-switch crisis took a big new turn Monday as General Motors recalled 3.4 million cars.
That's on top of the 2.6 million small cars already called back for ignition switches that can slip out of the "run" position if the key is carrying extra weight and is somehow jarred. That could cause the engine to stall and kill power steering, power brakes, and air bags.

The problem has been linked to at least 13 deaths and over 40 crashes. However, GM sales have not been greatly affected.

This latest recall comes as CEO Mary Barra prepares for what will undoubtedly be a rough session tomorrow on Capitol Hill before the House Energy and Commerce's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

*Listen to full interview above.

Here's what we talked about on Stateside today:

  • State lawmakers say "yes" to the MEAP and "no" to the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests in Michigan school. What happens for students next year?
  • Just the way students end their school year with a report card, so should our elected representatives be measured in how effectively they tackled issues important to Michigan. Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray breaks it all down for us in terms of pass, fail, or incomplete.
  • Stateside’s Emily Fox reports from the Upper Peninsula to see if the region has what it takes to develop a new wine region in the state.
  • With soccer, there's a lot of credence put into national identities and how teams play. But our guest Andy Markovits challenges us to think differently.
  • Stateside’s Kyle Norris talks about stories she heard when she asked this question, “Do you have a song that saved your life?”
  • Also, a Michigan traveler describes her 1,000-mile Great Lakes island adventure.

*Listen to full show above. 

You get a taste of a bigger story as people mention the songs that saved their lives, such as this one - Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams.
User: Klaus Hiltscher / flickr

Today we’re starting a new series about music. We’re calling it "What’s the Song That Saved Your Life?"

Stateside’s Kyle Norris asked a lot of people that question. She found that sometimes they have an immediate answer. And other people really have to think about it.  Kyle talked with folks at a bowling alley in Wayne, Michigan, and shares their responses.

*Listen to full interview above.

All this week we’re going to hear from people who say one song saved their life. And we want to hear from you. Do you have a song that saved your life? Tell us the story! Call us and let us know at 248-962-3806. And you can also use #song-saved-me on twitter. Stateside's Kyle Norris produced our series, and she may even use your story on the air.

Loreen Niewenhuis at Manitou Passage (Lake Michigan) with the Manitou Islands visible offshore.
User: Loreen Niewenhuis / Facebook: Loreen Niewenhuis Fan Page

After hiking some 2,000 miles around the Great Lakes, Loreen Niewenhuis is headed to the islands of the Great Lakes for another thousand-mile adventure of hiking, boating, kayaking, and bicycling.

First, she hiked completely around Lake Michigan, her "1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach." Then she decided to hike the shorelines of all five Great Lakes, another 1,000-mile adventure.

She has turned both of those into books.

Now she is working on her third journey: A 1,000-mile Great Lakes Island adventure. This month, she'll be visiting Isle Royale to help out with wolf and moose research.

Niewenhuis joined Stateside today to talk about the environmental issue she observed on her island journeys and recount her amazing experiences, including searching for moose bones on Isle Royale and hiking Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior.

*Listen to the full interview with Loreen above.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons

One of the many decisions made by state lawmakers during their budget actions last week was to keep the MEAP in place for another year.

The more than 40-year-old MEAP exam stays put even though Michigan adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. And the state's education department has been working for the past three years to bring in the new testing that is aligned to the Common Core. That new test is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

The state lawmakers' recent decision could mean that educators and students have to hit the reverse button and go back to MEAP. But State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in April that the MEAP was simply “not an option."

Brian Smith has been reporting on the Common Core and Smarter Balanced vs. MEAP tussle. He said that as the issue moved forward, the Department of Education started to talk to testing vendors and see what could possibly be done.

Playing styles of these soccer players from Brazil and Croatia might not reflect their national characteristics.
User: Diário do Nordeste / flickr

Last Thursday afternoon, the 2014 World Cup began as Brazil and Croatia ran out onto the pitch in Brazil. And with that, fans of Association Football (aka “soccer” here in the USA) plunged into a month of the High Holy Days: World Cup action.

Many fans of “the beautiful game” get downright nationalistic as they cheer on their favorite team, whether it be England, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Ivory Coast ... and of course, the U.S., which opens its World Cup bid this evening at 6 against Ghana.

With soccer, there's a lot of credence put into national identities and how teams play. But, if you think the playing style of your favorite team somehow reflects some deep cultural trait of that country, Stateside guest Andy Markovits says think again.

Markovits is a University of Michigan political scientist and lifelong soccer fan. He joined us today to talk about how generalizations of national characteristics can be superficial and dangerous. 

*Listen to the conversation above. 

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

We've all heard of Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. Those wines have been around for centuries.

But what about Frontenac, Marquette and La Crescent? Those grapes have only been around for a decade or two and they can withstand harsh winters, and thrive.

I went to the Upper Peninsula to see if it has what it takes to develop a new wine region in the state.


pixabay.com

As school ends and summer gets underway, the challenge in many Michigan households is teens trying to find a summer job.

The unemployment rate for teens is expected to hit 26.5% this summer, somewhat better than last year's level.

It certainly matters to parents who aren't thrilled about a 17-year-old sitting around all summer playing X-Box. But how much does it matter to Michigan's economy and to the teens?

Charles Ballard is an economist with Michigan State University.

Ballard says teen unemployment has always been higher than adult unemployment, which isn’t surprising, when teens have the least experience and skills.

One thing to remember is that the unemployment rate is the rate of people who are actively seeking work. A lot of teens may have an unpaid internship, studying abroad, participate in athletics, or are in summer school and are not considered unemployed.

Ballard said that the statistics are not always entirely reliable, as they don’t accurately measure those who are earning money in other ways, such as babysitting or yard work.

The state figuring showed about 170,000 teenagers from ages 16-19 will be working, leaving almost 64,000 actively looking teenagers unemployed.

One of the problems that may be keeping teenagers out of the workforce is adults who are taking jobs from teens due to the recession.

Ballard said another reason more teenagers are not working is also because of the different options available for earning money. It does not mean that all those who are considered unemployed are not just twiddling their thumbs.

However, not having a job in your teenage years may have negative effects for some, such as those who dropped out of school and did not work. They would have a harder time finding employment as adults.

Ballard said that he would like to see Michigan try to improve the educational outcome by having a longer school year. Though it may limit the time students have to work in the summer, it will provide them with a better education and skills which they need in order to get some of these jobs.

Ballard added that he will keep making the case for longer school years.

“When we look at all the other developed countries in the world, they have a longer school year than the U.S. And in an awful lot of cases they have much better educational outcomes,” Ballard said. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

-Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom. 

Wikimedia Commons

The United States has lagged way behind other nations in high-speed rail – which includes trains with top speeds of up to 180 miles an hour. What would it take for us to catch up?

Those are some of the questions being tackled in a study digging into Americans' thoughts on high-speed rail. Wayne State University, in partnership with the University of Michigan and Drexel University, has launched this two-and-a-half-year study.

The study looks into the future of transportation and how high-speed rail in the United States will fit into that future.

The study focuses on how people feel about high-speed rail and how they envision the future of transportation.

Allen Batteau is the leader of the study. He is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor of anthropology at Wayne State University.

Batteau’s hope for the study is to move the discussion of high-speed rail away from "how much will it cost" to forming a vision of how high-speed rail can help bring us together.

Susan Zielinski is the head of the Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation (SMART) at the University of Michigan.

Zielinski says transportation is evolving into many different options and it is important to look into those options as our society evolves with it. 

*Listen to full interview above.

– Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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