Michigan Education

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

A record number of Michigan schools are struggling to stay in the black and a law put in place this summer allows state officials to dissolve and consolidate small schools with big problems. So far the headlines have been from some of Michigan's more populated counties, but some schools in the north that are paying close attention to changes from Lansing.

A Success Story

Tri-District Virtual School To Compete This Fall

Aug 16, 2013

Three small northern Michigan school districts are teaming up next year to form a new cyber school. Suttons Bay, Manistee and Crawford AuSable all had their own online programs before joining forces for the Great Lakes K12 Virtual School. The consortium will serve all of the northern Lower Peninsula but it will have to compete with two statewide cyber schools.

  

This story continues our summer series looking back over the last 50 years in northern Michigan as we celebrate IPR’s birthday.

Few events reverberated as loudly as a decision made in Kalkaska in 1993. Then, as now, public schools were making cuts to get by. But Kalkaska decided it would be better to close early than do without band, buses and art. The decision sparked dramatic change in the way schools are funded in Michigan.

Traverse City Area Public Schools ran afoul of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act during the last election, according to a letter issued Thursday by the Secretary of State. It says a district mailer advocated a “yes” vote for a school bond proposal. The district is not allowed to do that with taxpayer funds and other resources.

“We didn’t intend to violate the act or mislead folks and I think I need to apologize to Mr. Gillman, to our parents and our staff and community for any confusion the mailer caused,” says TCAPS Superintendent Steve Cousins.

svadilfari/Flickr

School districts across Michigan are making cuts again as lean times continue for public education.

Yet this week also marks the anniversary of a revolution in education that started in Kalkaska. Twenty years ago, Kalkaska Public Schools started their summer vacation in March. It was a protest against cutting more programs to stay open.

The decision led to dramatic change in the way schools are funded in Michigan. But now there’s a feeling that schools are back where they started.

Traverse City's "Gun Safe Mom"

Dec 21, 2012

With every school shooting, Missy Smith is reminded of the tragedy her own family once suffered at the hands of a child with a gun. Her 12-year-old brother was shot and killed decades ago while visiting the home of a classmate.

Years later, as a new mom in Traverse City, Smith was uncomfortable sending her children to play in homes where guns were left unlocked. But there was an irony; Smith had married into a hunting family and there were unlocked firearms in her own home. She left gun safety to her husband at first.

The Blues Just Can't Be Beat

May 23, 2012

The Blues haven't lost a game in 3 years. And scores like 40, 50 or 60 to nothing aren't unusual. Jim Kehrer and his wife coach the Blues. Jim says that the Blues are drilled – and drilled hard – in the basics of rugby. And that they're relentless in moving the ball.

Jim says, “And the other team, you’ll see them just crumble, they’ll keep the pace for a little bit but they get so frustrated that they’re not able to do anything. They never give them a chance to breathe, never give them a chance to get any space and they eventually just crack.” 

IPR News: Baldwin Cafeteria

Apr 30, 2009

This week IPR has taken a peak at Baldwin from inside the classroom. Even in good times, unemployment is consistently high in Lake County, as is illiteracy, and poverty. But this is also a community with a rich sense of identity tied to a special history – as a once-booming vacation spot for wealthy Black Americans. Listen in to the high school cafeteria, a racially diverse place with a bit of an inferiority complex, and a whole lot of school pride.

IPR News: Baldwin Early Education

Apr 30, 2009

Times are tough all over Michigan, but times always seem to be tough in Lake County. This week IPR travels to Baldwin, to a community school where nearly all the students are poor, and one-in-five adults in the community have no high school diploma. The dream in Baldwin is to make the school district the exception: a school that’s both high poverty, and high performing. There are no silver bullets – just high hopes, and well-researched trial and error. IPR’s Linda Stephan produced this report.

IPR News: Baldwin Adult Education

Apr 30, 2009

Times are tough all over Michigan, but times always seem to be tough in Lake County. This week on Interlochen Public Radio we travel to Baldwin, a community with literacy rates estimated to rival Detroit. In Lake, the number of people in poverty mirrors the number of people who don’t have a 12th grade education. IPR’s Linda Stephan starts the series by visiting a group of adults determined to rise above those statistics. They’re going back to school.

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