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Education

Michigan State Capitol Building
Phillip Hofmeister / Wikimedia Commons

The state House narrowly passed a charter school bill Thursday. It would let charter schools qualify for countywide tax millage dollars. That’s money that previously has gone to traditional public schools. The Senate bill has been waiting for a full House vote since last year.

Representative Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, chairs the House Education Reform committee. He said all students should be treated equally.

Michigan's lame duck session ends on Thursday.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. - Legislation nearing Gov. Rick Snyder's desk would let charter schools receive revenue from voter-approved property tax hikes.

The Republican-led House narrowly approved the bill 55-52 Thursday, largely along party lines, after a different version previously cleared a divided Senate.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

State House lawmakers are considering a package of bills that would change how a program originally created to help Michiganders go to college can be expanded for other educational needs.   

People currently use the Michigan Education Savings Program to contribute money to tax-free accounts to pay for college. The revised federal tax law opened the door to expand tax-free college savings accounts to allow for people to pay for elementary and high school expenses. 

creative commons

A report pegs the cost of properly educating a student in Michigan at no less than $9,550. That’s almost $2,000 more than the current minimum.

The report also puts numbers to the costs of transportation, special education, and educating students in small, rural districts. The goal is to create an individualized per-student school funding formula.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In the future, Michigan high school juniors might have one less test to take.

Since 2007, Michigan high school students have spent half a day taking the ACT Work Keys exam.  The exam tests a student’s ability to solve workplace problems and thus assess whether they are ready to enter the workforce.

However, many educators question the value of the half-day test to students and the schools.

sarah cweik / Michigan Radio

Business and educational leaders agree that more needs to be done to encourage Michigan high school students to consider pursuing careers in skilled trades. 

However, they disagree on one possible solution.

An Educational Development Plan (EDP) is a document school counselors develop showing a student's education and career goals, and a way to achieve them.

Lawmakers are discussing two bills that would require schools to provide students with more career information and help create a talent portfolio for every student.

Courtesy of Debra Power

It's never too early to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship. Today's curious kid could be tomorrow's entrepreneurial star.

That's the idea behind the new program, Running Start, a four-part series of mentor-led workshops designed for middle and high school students interested in entrepreneurship.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers passed a bill today that would make it harder for school districts to prevent former school buildings from being used for new education purposes.  

The deed restrictions are often meant to keep competitors from opening schools that would siphon students away from the district.

Michigan parents now have a new tool to vet their child’s school.

The state launched the Parent Dashboard for School Transparency today. It’s an online site with information about public schools in Michigan. The data include things like test results and student to teacher ratios. Parents can use the information to see how their kid’s school is doing and to compare it to other schools across the state.

But state Board of Education co-president, Richard Zeile said the dashboard isn’t just useful to parents.

BCPS Northwestern Middle School
Courtesy Battle Creek Public Schools / Courtesy Battle Creek Public Schools

Early in the morning on a snowy Wednesday, eighth grade student Xzavionna Reed is eating breakfast at a table across from her teacher. She’s the only student in the room. It’s a new type of classroom at Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS); an initiative focused on giving more emotional and social support to students who have struggled with regulating their own behavior, and been in trouble because of it.

Bilal Tawwab, Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Flint's public schools says he wants the state to agree to a comprehensive plan to monitor water in district schools.

Flint school buildings had some of the highest lead levels in their tap water when the city’s water crisis began, but little testing has taken place since.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Later this month, a new report detailing how much it costs to educate students in Michigan will be released.

Nearly a year ago, the governor’s 21st Century Education Commission reported Michigan needs to “invest with urgency” in some “high-yield” education strategies or risk falling behind.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Problems within Michigan’s education system aren’t new. And many factors, including changes in funding and the expansion of charter schools, continue to influence the success of the state's schools.

In 2017, Michigan Radio continued to report on how those changes affect Michigan’s students:

MSU

Researchers at Michigan State University have come up with a way to help "distance learners" get more engaged in the classroom.

More and more students are sitting at home using a computer to connect with teachers and their classmates. But many feel disconnected.  

Christine Greenhow is an MSU associate professor of educational psychology and educational technology. She’s been experimenting with using robots to establish connections between students and instructors.

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Grand Rapids School Board wants to send every high school student in the city to college tuition-free.

The school board applied for Promise Zone designation with the Department of Treasury this week.

Courtesy of Dr. Curtis L. Lewis

The Next Idea 

The teaching profession in America remains largely white and female. That means young African American males can go through school without ever seeing a teacher who looks like them.

Not only can this mean a lack of black role models, but it also means teaching doesn’t get held up as a profession that’s desirable for black men to pursue.

F DELVENTHAL / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There is growing concern on the campus of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) about the school's future.

Tomorrow, EMU's two faculty unions are planning a protest over the university's decision to sign a contract with a for-profit company called Academic Partnerships (AP). The goal of the arrangement, administrators say, is to better market EMU's online degree programs and recruit more students.

classroom
Woodley Wonder Works / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last year, a survey of more than 11,000 Michigan teachers revealed that a lot of teachers are unhappy with some aspects of their job. Michigan's two biggest teachers’ unions conducted the survey.

Stateside talked to two schoolteachers in California who used to live and teach in Michigan. We asked them to reflect on some of the challenges they faced when they were educators in this state.

Jeff Bohl, principal of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, joined Stateside to respond to some of their comments, and to give us more insight as to why so many teachers are frustrated.

University of Michigan

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel says the school is in good shape for the next century.

Speaking Monday at the Detroit Economic Club to celebrate U-M’s bicentennial, Schlissel addressed topics ranging from its research budget and financial aid, to sexual harassment policies and a pending on-campus speaking request from well-known white supremacist Richard Spencer.

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

What's happening with the state's poorest performing schools?

The upcoming holiday break kind of marks the half-way point in the school year.

That's especially important for the 37 Michigan schools fighting for their lives.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new early childhood education center in Flint is intended to help children exposed to the worst of the city’s lead-tainted water.

“These nook areas are going to be further developed to be interactive,” Educare Flint Director Denise Smith said as she led a tour of the new $15 million facility.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Michigan lawmakers this week may discuss changes to a law that prevents school districts from having a say on what happens to former school buildings.

A charter school operator wants to turn a former Detroit public school building into a new school. But there’s a problem: a deed restriction on the property says they can’t. 

The district no longer owns the school, but the deed restriction gave it control over the future use of the building. 

April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

In May of 2016, residents of Albion voted to have their school district annexed by neighboring Marshall.

This week, Michigan Radio examined the impact the annexation has had on students, families, and the community in the three-part series, UN/DIVIDED.

In case you missed it, check out a summary of the series here:

Courtesy of Sheryl Mitchell

On the first day of school, more than 100 men lined up outside of Harrington Elementary in Albion, Michigan.

They were all dressed to the nines. Most had on dress shirts and ties, some were wearing three-piece suits, and a few veterans were dressed up in their military garb.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A coalition of Detroit leaders is calling for major improvements in the city’s schools.

Today, the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren outlined six goals, including decreasing absenteeism, improving third grade reading scores, and fully funding special education.

In Albion, school choice led to school closures

Dec 5, 2017
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

In May of last year, residents of Albion stepped into the voting booth. 

On their ballots, they saw this question:

"Shall Albion Public Schools be annexed to Marshall Public Schools to be effective July 1, 2016?"

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

Michigan lawmakers are closer to exempting police officers from rules governing how unruly students can be handled in school.

State law requires public schools adopt policies on using seclusion and restraint and special training for school staff. 

However, State Representative Daniela Garcia says school resource officers, who are local police officers, should be exempt from those rules.

Wanda Kemp and her son, Zy’Airh, a third grader at Harrington Elementary School.
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

The past few years have brought change after change for students in Albion, Michigan.

Today on Stateside, the Lansing State Journal's executive editor explains the front-page editorial that calls on Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University, to resign over her handling of sexual assault and harassment problems. And, the former vice chairman of General Motors explains what he believes self-driving cars will mean for Detroit's future. Also today, we give you the first installment of our series UN/DIVIDED, a look Marshall's takeover of Albion schools and what it's meant for families.

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

A new analysis has found that Michigan's schools are extremely segregated.

Jennifer Chambers and Christine MacDonald with the Detroit News report that the Associated Press analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics enrollment data from the 2014-2015 school year.

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