education

It is the most challenging time in the history of Michigan State University.

As MSU becomes the focus of a cascade of allegations regarding sexual abuse on campus, including accusations against members of the football and basketball teams, the school is also on a high-speed search for an interim president following the resignation of Lou Anna K. Simon.

This week is National School Choice Week. But is school choice in Michigan cause for celebration?

Gary Miron is a professor of evaluation, measurement and research at Western Michigan University. He evaluates school choice programs and other educational reforms nationally and internationally. He joined Stateside to discuss Michigan’s school choice program.

There are a lot of bright, accomplished high school students in Detroit who see college as out of reach. They’re never told about student aid. They’re not aware of courses to help them do well on SAT or ACT tests. They might not be aware of the Detroit Promise, a program to set aside tax dollars to fund two-year college scholarships.

A fight between school employees and the state ended today – in favor of the employees.

The state took money from their paychecks between 2010 and 2012. That was after a law was passed allowing the state to take three percent of their pay for retiree health care costs. The Michigan Supreme Court said the law was unconstitutional, but that didn’t resolve the question of what to do about the money, some 550 million dollars, that had already been handed over to the state.

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.

The long-held image of a teacher standing in front of a classroom holding a piece of chalk or a dry-erase marker has to die, so says teacher Matinga Ragatz​. 

Ragatz was Michigan Teacher of the Year in 2011 and earlier this year, she was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. Now, as a consultant, she's working to help teachers innovate and rethink their roles in the classroom.

Colleges and universities are seeking ways to reach more students, and bring in more money.

One way to do that is to hire an outside company to market and support online programs. That company recruits students for online degrees branded with the name of that university.

How do we keep eager young teachers eager? And keep them in the profession?

The future of our children’s education rests on that answer. One big way to keep young teachers working is to prevent burnout.

The Next Idea

“There ought to be a law.” It’s easier said than done.

The truth is that making policy is an incredibly complex process. For each bill there are multiple stakeholders, and they all demand different things from the outcome.

Teachers can illustrate that complexity for their students through role-playing simulations around policymaking, but even simulations can be too much for one instructor to organize.

There’s a bill going through the state legislature right now that would require traditional public schools to share money raised by regional enhancement millages with charters.

Senate Bill 0574 was passed by the Senate last week after it was introduced by Representative David Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, in September.

The bill has caused a lot of controversy and complicated the ongoing debate about charter schools in Michigan.

So what would the bill change, and how would it affect schools?

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has been through its first count day of the school year. It’s an important day, because the number of kids in attendance helps determine the amount of money the district receives from the state.

Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD’s new superintendent, joined Stateside to report how the day went in Detroit and to explain what the district is doing amidst teacher shortages and other challenges.

People in Grass Lake, in Jackson County, are arguing about their school district’s decision to allow a transgender boy in elementary school to use the boys’ restroom.

The district has plans to build privacy stalls around urinals in school buildings.

Supporters and opponents of the policy, including people who don’t live in Grass Lake, have been showing up at school board meetings even when the issue isn’t on the agenda. 

Steve Carmody, Michigan Radio

A bill in the state Legislature would change how schools teach sex education. The new curriculum would focus on “changing the culture” around sexual assault.
 
“Under the current system, my daughter will be taught where not to walk, what not to wear, where not to leave her drink, while my sons will never be taught not to be perpetrators,” said bill sponsor, state Senator Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing).
 

Today (10/4)  is Count Day. For school districts in Michigan, it’s crucially important to have as many enrolled kids sitting in their seats as possible. That’s because this is one of the two days during the school year when attendance determines how much state aid schools will get.

There’s much work to do in boosting attendance, not just on Count Day.  A recent report from Johns Hopkins University finds Michigan's chronic student absence rate of 18-percent is well above the national average of 13-percent.

There are 100,000 unfilled jobs right now in Michigan.

Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, said this is due to a career awareness gap rather than a talent gap in the state.

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.

Test scores for Michigan’s students showed some improvements, but declines in crucial subjects.

The state’s M-STEP scores were released Tuesday. The M-STEP tests third through eighth and eleventh grade students in various subjects, including math, social studies and English language arts.   

Scores for math and social studies were up – but fewer students were proficient in English language arts than last year.

The state shouldn’t be satisfied, even where there was progress, said The Education Trust Midwest’s Director of Public Engagement, Brian Gutman.

Take one 385-pound piano, and strap it onto a tricycle. Add a piano player and then hit the road from Flint to Mackinaw City.

Plop that piano on a barge, tie it to your ankles, and then swim all the way to Mackinac Island. 

That's the gist of the memorable fundraiser Sprint for Flint that's taking place this weekend.

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

70 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 percent 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 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.


Think back to grade school. Remember that one kid who was always disrupting the class? The one who talked out of turn, cracked jokes, and was always getting sent to the principal’s office. In other words, the class troublemaker.

Well, it's exactly those kind of kids who are the subjects of the new book Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School. Author Carla Shalaby, a research specialist at the University of Michigan School of Education, spoke with Stateside about the book.

The Michigan Supreme Court says religious schools cannot claim a blanket exemption from being sued for violating anti-discrimination laws.

A family sued a Catholic high school in Oakland County. They say the school violated an anti-discrimination law by refusing to admit their daughter because of a learning disability. Among other things, the school argued its operations are protected by religious freedom rights.

The state's experiment in running a school district ends this week: the Education Achievement Authority will cease to exist as of Friday.

Its 15 schools will be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District. So, did anything actually work under the EAA?

Michigan's experiment in running a school district ends this week.

The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) will cease to exist as of Friday. Its 15 schools will be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Nir Saar, the principal of the Mumford Academy in Northwest Detroit, joined Stateside to look back at the EAA's legacy and what we can learn from it.

Leaders from some of the world’s most prestigious universities gathered for a meeting of the minds today at the University of Michigan.

They are taking part in the UM President's Bicentennial Colloquium, which includes a session titled “The Evolving Bargain between Research Universities and Society.”

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