Michigan Education

Education is a big issue in northern Michigan, whether we're reporting on school funding issues to breakthroughs in the classroom.

Morgan Springer

Class begins this week for 57 school districts in Michigan, including three districts within the Wexford-Missaukee Intermediate School District. Schools are required to start after Labor Day in Michigan, but these districts applied successfully for a waiver from the Michigan Department of Education.

One district starting early is Manton Consolidated Schools. Their first day is Wednesday, August 24th.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

The group working to save the elementary school on Old Mission Peninsula is ready to go public with its proposal. They began planning after Traverse City Area Public Schools' board held postponed a decision to close the school because of a potential $800,000 donation. TCAPS officials were considering closing the school because they said it was losing the district money each year because there aren’t enough students.

The board will decide tonight if they’re willing to hear the proposal for the first time in a joint meeting with the Peninsula Township board.

Kelly Clark's campaign Facebook Page

There’s a Libertarian in the race for Grand Traverse County’s House seat, Michigan's 104th district.

Kelly Clark is a Traverse City Area Public Schools board member and retired public school teacher.

"The overreach in government right now is at an all time high, and it just keeps expanding," says Clark. "I’m all in favor of minimum government and maximum freedom."

Clark says, to start, there are way too many taxes in Michigan.

Morgan Springer

Two elementary schools in Traverse City are closing. The board at Traverse City Area Public Schools made that decision a few months ago. Parents were torn up about it, but now the kids are dealing with the reality of having to find a new school. Around 70 students from Interlochen Community School, one of the schools that’s closing, visited Westwoods Elementary School last week to get to know their future school.

 

Michigan's K-12 students are among the weakest academically in the U.S., and they're falling even further behind, according to a report released today by Education Trust-Midwest, a Michigan-based non-partisan research education and advocacy organization.

The report predicts that if things don't change, Michigan will rank 48th nationally in fourth grade reading scores by 2030, far from the state's goal of becoming a top ten state in education by that year. 

Kingsley Area Schools

A student in Kingsley who identifies as bi-gender has requested use of the bathroom of the student’s choice. Kingsley Area Schools superintendent Keith Smith says the student spoke at a board meeting in April about having a fluid gender identity between male and female.

Smith says it's his impression that the student wants to be able to use either bathroom. The district is waiting to hear back from an attorney about the bi-gender student’s request before moving forward.

 

From Elk Rapids to Beaver Island, voters have approved tax millages and bonds to pay for school expenses.

Tuesday’s election was one of four dates this year when schools can ask for money.

A bond proposal for Elk Rapids Schools passed by a margin better than two-to-one, according to unofficial results. The bond will pay for technology and safety upgrades over four years.

Teachers at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City say they’re being punished for forming a union. Faculty pay has been frozen while teachers bargain for their first union contract. The group filed a complaint with the state over the issue in late April.

The complaint addresses two types of pay increases that have been typical at NMC for teachers in the past.

It says increases for teachers based on seniority, called step increases, should continue because NMC is required to maintain “status quo” during contract negotiations.  

David Cassleman

Dozens of school districts across Michigan are asking voters to approve tax proposals on Tuesday.

In northern Michigan, Elk Rapids Public Schools has a technology and safety bond on the ballot. Leland Public Schools has a similar bond proposal.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

Traverse City Area Public Schools is closing their two International Baccalaureate elementary schools –Interlochen Community School and International School at Bertha Vos. They're relocating IB to Traverse Heights Elementary School next year.

TCAPS has promoted the IB program as an innovative teaching program with a proven success rate. Statewide the Kellogg Foundation has been funding the creation of these programs in schools throughout northern Michigan. And school officials say the program is very successful with students from economically disadvantaged households.

Republican lawmakers are sending a message to the Michigan State Board of Education: "Remember who holds the purse strings."

That's from Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, who's sponsoring a resolution to replace the board with a Department of Education run by a governor-appointed director.

In the search for a better way to educate our children, many have turned to technology. Virtual schools or blended schools that combine virtual and traditional face-to-face teaching are a national trend. However, according to a study from The National Education Policy Center, these virtual schools – most of which are run by private, for-profit companies, are doing a poor job of educating our kids.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

A large financial gift to the public school system in Traverse City might save an elementary school. The last minute offer from an unknown individual has put Traverse City officials in an unusual position.

Traverse City Area Public Schools district has long been a leader in demanding that support for education in Michigan not depend on where a child lives. But school officials say this offer is one they have to consider.

This isn’t a new issue. Infusing private money into public schools is happening nationwide.

Peter Payette

Students at Northwestern Michigan College are buying fewer books these days. That's because of an effort to use more online resources in place of textbooks, which can cost more than $100 each.

A report on the project suggests the college administration take steps to promote the concept. But college officials say there are no plans for that.

The issue comes up at a time when some instructors at NMC say the administration does not listen to their ideas.


Morgan Springer

The board of education for Traverse City Area Public Schools voted to close two elementary schools Monday night. International School at Bertha Vos and Interlochen Community School will close at the end of this school year.

The vote was unanimous to close Bertha Vos. Board member Megan Crandall was the only dissenting voice in the 6:1 vote to close Interlochen.

Peter Payette

Instructors at Northwestern Michigan College say union negotiations are at an impasse, and at issue is how much say the faculty has in how the college operates.

The faculty formed a union last year and is negotiating its first contract.

Members voiced their frustration on Monday night at a meeting of the board of trustees.

Detroit Public Schools

Two different plans to bailout the massively indebted Detroit Public Schools have emerged from Lansing in recent weeks. The price tag could be upwards of $700 million.

DPS could run out of money as soon as April, according to officials from the state’s largest school system, and state leaders are rushing to find a fix.

State Capitol reporter Jake Neher explains plans in the Senate and House.

 


Morgan Springer

School board members for Traverse City Area Public Schools are set to decide next month whether to close three elementary schools. But right now TCAPS officials are looking into other ways to save money. 

There were more than 25 alternative options mentioned at the last board meeting, but a number of school officials say none of them are viable. That leaves some parents wondering if a look at alternatives is a formality or is actually being taken seriously. 

 


Traverse City Area Public Schools

Some parents on Old Mission Peninsula want to know if they can pay higher taxes to keep their elementary school open. Traverse City Area Public Schools has proposed closing three elementary buildings to save money, including the school on Old Mission Peninsula.

The idea of raising taxes to keep a school open sounds simple but is something school districts are not allowed to do in Michigan. An amendment to the state constitution known as Proposal A made vast reforms to public education funding and prohibits a local school district from asking voters for more money to operate schools.

Parents on Old Mission Peninsula are talking about a way to work around that law.

Peter Payette discusses it with David Cassleman.


School leaders challenge 'gag order' with lawsuit

Jan 28, 2016
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

Local government leaders and school officials in Michigan are challenging a new state elections law in federal court.

The law limits how local government and education officials can talk about local ballot questions, banning them from using public funds to send informational communications about ballot questions – via mass mailings, radio, television, or recorded phone messages - 60 days before an election.

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