It's no secret that Detroit schools have been failing their students for a long time.
In 2009 Detroit's public schools racked up the worst scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, and the scores haven't really improved since then.
Charter schools were launched to offer Detroit parents a choice. But my next guest believes the unregulated environment for charter schools has wound up hurting the kids who most need help and a sound education.
Robin Lake is director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Seattle. She recently visited Detroit and came away with some unsettling views of the condition of Detroit's charter schools.
The list of Michigan school districts that have budget deficits is shrinking, and the list of districts that are getting in the black is growing. That was the report today (Thu.) from the state Department of Education to the Legislature.
There are 46 districts on the deficit list today, compared to 50 at the end of last year.
And that was good news to state Senator Howard Walker (R-Traverse City), who chairs the Senate K-through-12 budget subcommittee.
Shakepeare’s “Coriolanus” is a play that can easily be set in modern times. Its themes of political ambition and social struggle are timeless. The Interlochen Arts Academy Theater Company stages its up-to-date production of “Coriolanus” Friday and Saturday. The director is David Montee. He says “Coriolanus” reminds him of the TV show “House of Cards.”
The state of Michigan is ending its exclusive contract with the Education Achievement Authority to oversee the worst-performing schools in the state.
State School Superintendent Mike Flangan sent a letter to the EAA saying the state will pull out of its exclusivity agreement with the Authority one year from now.
Martin Ackley is with the Michigan Department of Education. He says the state still intends to use the EAA to help turn around struggling schools.
“Now, this is in no way a statement or an indication of a lack of confidence in the EAA or its academic strategies. This is just an action that needed to be taken in order to provide flexibility and to provide options other than the EAA in which to place these most struggling schools.”
So, what are the other options that the State might use to help failing schools? And what's ahead for the controversial EAA?
Jake Neher, who covers Lansing for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.
Last November, almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at getting voters to approve their bond proposals. That included Kalkaska, Traverse City and Elk Rapids, all of which lost by a narrow margin. Elk Rapids Public Schools is back with the exact same proposal—$10.9 million over 20 years—on next week’s ballot.
Seventh grader Rebecca Marolf is excited about the idea of a new gymnasium. She’s with her dad at the Elk Rapids High School boys’ basketball game. The Cherryland Middle School student thinks the district needs another gym.
This time next year, the Education Achievement Authority will no longer be the only entity that can take over failing schools in Michigan.
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has notified the EAA that the state is ending its exclusive contract with the authority. That means Michigan education officials could also place schools under the control of neighboring school districts, local intermediate school districts, or other entities.
With many Michigan schools racking up snow days, what's the best way to make up lost time? Adding minutes onto the school day? Or adding days at the end of the school year? Should local districts be allowed to decide for themselves or should Lansing make the decision for them?
Bridge Magazine contributing writer Ted Roelofs dug into these questions for his story in this week's Bridge.