education

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.”

It’s been a high-speed first few days on the job for Detroit’s new school superintendent.

Nikolai Vitti began his new job last Tuesday and jumped right in with school visits, and meeting and talking with teachers, parents and staffers.

When a teen is depressed and wrestling with thoughts of suicide, the stigma associated with mental illness can be a huge barrier to reaching out for help.

That's why the culture and climate at school is so crucial. Schools need teachers and administrators who know the warning signs of a mental health crisis and what to do next to support their students. 

At Grand Haven Public Schools, six students have died by suicide since 2011. Those tragic losses have spurred the district to revamp the way they talk about mental health. 

School kids in the 1960s thought it was super cool if they could watch a space shuttle launch on one a TV rolled into their classroom on a cart.

But today, school kids do a lot more than just watch a shuttle launch. They can play an actual role in research being done aboard the International Space Station from their own classroom.

It’s all because of a Michigan-based program called Orion’s Quest.

Children reading books to dogs.

It sounds too cute to be true. But it’s a real thing. Throughout the country, libraries are turning to canines to help children who may be struggling with their reading.

Teachers don’t have to wait if they want to drop out of their union. That ruling was handed downWednesday by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court said the Michigan Education Association can’t force teachers who want to leave to wait until an August “opt-out period.”          

The ruling would also apply to other unions that would want to restrict when members could exit.

 

More and more teachers are posting their resignation letters online and on social media.

A Google search for "teacher resignation letters" returns over 2.1 million results. 

Some of those letters have gone viral by echoing the frustrations that many teachers have with the state of public education. 

The Next Idea

Why is it that you can summon an Uber with one click on your smart phone, but if your child is struggling in school, you might not find out for weeks?

High schoolers: don't want to tackle that required foreign language? How about taking computer coding instead?

A package of bills recently passed by the State House would let high schoolers do exactly that. Under the bills, students would be able to choose more technical and vocational training instead of some of the current courses set out by the Michigan Merit Curriculum, such as foreign languages.

The Michigan State Board of Education is trying to pressure schools to drop team mascots and nicknames that are offensive to Native American tribes.

The board is asking the Legislature to adopt budget sanctions on schools that won’t scrap offensive Native American mascots.

“We want to make sure that students are able to go to school and to learn and be in environments that are conducive to learning, and so that is why it’s quite important,” said Pam Pugh, a Democratic board member.

It's SAT and ACT season.

The high-stakes tests for high school juniors do more than just assign a number to your math and reading skills. There's also a lot of scholarship money available for students who earn high scores.  

NASA

Early Thursday morning, the Space X Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station. The capsule is carrying supplies for the astronauts who live aboard the ISS, but it’s also carrying an experiment devised by students at Traverse City West High School.

The students want to know how quickly blue algae grows in space, and they convinced NASA to send their algae samples.

What do you picture when someone says "typical college student?"

Maybe you pictured a teenage student who recently graduated from high school. He's off to attend college, which is likely paid for by his parents.

That image is mistaken.

Some parents may have to drive their children ten, 20, even 30 miles to school next year. But those parents still aren't sure if that's the case yet, or if any of their options will be much better than their current schools.

All the confusion is because last month, the state School Reform Office (SRO) announced that 38 schools could be closed at the end of this school year.

Are Michigan’s schools improving? According to a new analysis of national testing data, the answer is a clear “no.”

The report, authored by University of Michigan professor Brian A. Jacob, looked at the scores of 4th- and 8th-grade students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The nationally administered test measures for proficiency in reading and math.

Morgan Springer

A school in Grand Traverse County has been working to turn things around. Blair Elementary School is a lower-performing school with a number of challenges. Last fall, IPR reported that the school significantly improved reading scores. Now the school is tackling behavioral issues.

Just look at the racial census makeup of school districts in Michigan. The numbers from the state Department of Education show districts in Michigan are deeply segregated.

In today’s State of Opportunity special Better Together: How School Diversity Makes a Difference, we look at schools, teachers and parents who are working to create, maintain or even boost diversity in the classroom.

Betsy DeVos is facing stiff opposition from teacher's unions in her nomination fight to head up the US Departent of Education.  

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow announced that she would not support DeVos nearly three weeks in advance of the vote by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. (On Tuesday, the committee voted 12-11 along party lines on Tuesday to move DeVos’s nomination to the Senate floor.) And, in DeVos’ hometown of Holland, about a thousand people recently gathered to protest the nomination.

But DeVos also had some devoted supporters in her corner. 

What happens to students and neighborhoods when a school closes?

That question was thrust into the spotlight with word late last week that Michigan's School Reform Office has put 38 low-performing schools on notice they could be shut down. Twenty-five of those schools are in Detroit.

Tomorrow, Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity team will look at school closures in a new documentary called We Live Here.

Betsy DeVos will have to wait another week for her Senate confirmation hearing.

The West Michigan billionaire and education reform advocate is President-elect Donald Trump's choice for secretary of education. The hearing at the U.S. Capitol was originally scheduled for tomorrow in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Now it has been moved to Wednesday, Jan. 17. Why was the hearing rescheduled? 

Michigan Radio's Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta joined Stateside from Washington D.C. to answer that very question.

Professors at college campuses across the state have handed out their semester outlines, reading lists and assignments for the new semester.

A group of Michigan State University students would like to return the favor.

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