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United Soybean Board / Flickr

Today on Stateside, we hear from a Michigan soybean farmer on how President Trump's escalating trade war with China is projected to affect the state's agriculture producers. Plus, Stateside's education commentator Matinga Ragatz weighs in on the teacher shortage crisis facing Michigan schools. 

Matinga Ragatz

Currently, there aren’t enough qualified teachers to fill the need in Michigan schools. One way to quickly get aspiring teachers into classrooms is something called “alternative certification.” These training programs don’t require any in-classroom teaching. But is this the answer?

 Reimund Holzhey mugshot
Courtesy of Michigan History Center

Today on Stateside, after a contentious city council meeting, Kalamazoo is moving to meet the demands of homeless protestors camped out in a downtown park. Plus, nationally-recognized teacher Matinga Ragatz talks about why she thinks school reform is hurting, not helping, students.

a collection of glowing rocks known as "yooperlites"
Erik Rintamaki

Today on Stateside, why President Trump's tweets are unlikely to change Ford's decision to move small car production abroad. Plus, why rocks in the U.P. are giving off an alien glow. (No, it does not involve extraterrestrials.)

Listen above for the full show, or find individual segments below. 

Ford won’t be moving production of Focus hatchback to the U.S. Here’s why.

Gretchen Whitmer
Whitmer for Governor

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer says literacy for Michigan's schoolchildren is a top priority.

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan is not doing a good job educating children with disabilities. That’s according to a recent letter from the U.S. Department of Education.

Michigan was the only state rated as needing federal intervention after failing to meet special education standards.

A few weeks before that letter became public, Detroit Public Schools Community District announced it would be doing a massive overhaul of its special education program.

Solutions for Teachers / YouTube

Tracking a student's behavior is a big part of a teacher's job.

Two Michigan teachers developed a new app to make that job a little bit easier.

It's called TABS, Tracking Appropriate Behaviors System.

Along with tracking a student's behavior, it can also be used as a digital hall pass, and assist administrators, teachers, and students during a school lockdown.

kids at a desk
Mr. Ullman's Class / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gay rights, Roe v. Wade, climate change and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). These are just a few of the references that state Senator Patrick Colbeck and a group of conservative leaders hope to eliminate from K-12 public school social studies curriculum.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest teachers’ union is asking state lawmakers to prevent a change in the way teachers are rated on job-performance

Starting in the fall, a greater percentage of an educator’s evaluation will rely on how well students perform on standardized tests.  The percentage will rise from 25% to 40%.  

David Crim is with the Michigan Education Association. He says standardized test scores are not a reliable way to judge teachers.

How can schools tap into a student's passion? How can businesses develop and retain talent?

And how can graduates make sure they have the skills that Michigan businesses, non-profits, and government needs? 

School districts across the state are working hard to answer these questions.

Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids is one of those. 

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti at a Detroit school
Erin Einhorn / Chalkbeat

 

Nikolai Vitti is marking the one-year anniversary of becoming the superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Erin Einhorn, editor for Chalkbeat Detroit, joined Stateside to break down Vitti's first year for us. 

Michigan Dept of Education

The state Board of Education has named an interim replacement for state schools superintendent Brian Whiston, who died suddenly this week.  

Before he left on disability leave last week, Brian Whiston named chief deputy superintendent Sheila Alles to act in his place. He died of cancer on Monday.

Today, Board of Education members voted to name Alles as Whiston’s interim replacement.

Keyboard with a"Jobs" button
Got Credit / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A summer jobs program is providing kids in Detroit with more than just a paycheck.

That's according to researchers at the University of Michigan. They found the "Grow Detroit's Young Talent" program also boosts participants' academic performance.

The program gives Detroit youth a variety of summer employment opportunities including child care, counseling younger peers, volunteering with seniors, and clerical work.

People marching with signs
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Cedar Springs school board last night accepted the resignation of its superintendent, amid calls for her ouster by teachers and community members.

Some of  Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn's critics marched to the school board meeting holding signs that read “#ResignVanDuyn.”

VanDuyn had been accused of using rude or hurtful language when talking to staff and threatening people’s jobs for disagreeing with her.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Some college administrators don't like some of the proposed new standards for Michigan student teachers.

New bills would require student teachers to be better prepared before they enter the classroom. 

But officials at some Michigan universities that train student teachers are concerned about aspects of the bills.  

mike duggan shaking a woman's hand
dugganfordetroit.com

We’ve had such a dearth of leadership in Michigan for so long that it seems amazing when you actually do see it. This is a state, after all, where nobody can seem to come up with a way to fix the roads, despite overwhelming public demand that they do so.

COURTESY OF MICHELLE HUDACK

There are more than three-quarters of a million people in Michigan over age 23 who never graduated high school.

Now, there is a way for them to get not a GED, but a high school diploma. There are also job-training courses in construction trades and health care available.

Just think: a high school diploma and training for jobs that are going unfilled in Michigan — and it’s all absolutely free.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll shows most Michigan parents have doubts about the education their children are getting.

Ed Sarpolus, with Target Insyght, says pollsters asked the opinions of 1,000 parents of children in traditional and charter public schools, private schools and home schools. 

He says only 12% say current teaching practices in Michigan are meeting the needs of their children.

“They’re not confident that the methods being taught now do help their children succeed. Not only in class but also in life,” says Sarpolus.

Sarah Kerson / Michigan Radio

Seventeen-year-old Madison Horton is a student at the International Academy of Macomb. She’s also endured multiple surgeries to remove skin cancers.  As a result, sunscreen is a big part of her life.

But Horton says she was surprised to learn other Michigan students are not allowed to apply sunscreen at school.

When she testified last week before the House Education Reform committee, Horton equated sunscreen with Epi-pens, which are allowed.

More than a dozen state senators have sponsored a bill that would eliminate Michigan's income tax by 2022.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Last week I talked about the fact that Michigan is headed for a serious budget crisis that threatens everything from education to foster care to public safety.  

We’ve been cutting state government spending on programs that give people a chance at a better life for years. We’ve been neglecting the vitally important public sector of our economy, which is why so many of our roads and bridges are falling apart.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio/NPR

Later this month, a new report detailing how much it costs to educate students in Michigan will be released.

Nearly a year ago, the governor’s 21st Century Education Commission reported Michigan needs to “invest with urgency” in some “high-yield” education strategies or risk falling behind.

MSU

Researchers at Michigan State University have come up with a way to help "distance learners" get more engaged in the classroom.

More and more students are sitting at home using a computer to connect with teachers and their classmates. But many feel disconnected.  

Christine Greenhow is an MSU associate professor of educational psychology and educational technology. She’s been experimenting with using robots to establish connections between students and instructors.

In Albion, school choice led to school closures

Dec 5, 2017
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

In May of last year, residents of Albion stepped into the voting booth. 

On their ballots, they saw this question:

"Shall Albion Public Schools be annexed to Marshall Public Schools to be effective July 1, 2016?"

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
User alkruse24 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan lawmakers are closer to exempting police officers from rules governing how unruly students can be handled in school.

State law requires public schools adopt policies on using seclusion and restraint and special training for school staff. 

However, State Representative Daniela Garcia says school resource officers, who are local police officers, should be exempt from those rules.

cover of the book
The New Press


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.

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved the state of Michigan’s plan to meet new federal education standards.

Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 to replace the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.  The new law gives states more authority in overseeing public schools.  

Michigan originally submitted its proposal in April. The state’s most recent revisions to the plan were filed two weeks ago. 

Michigan’s plan includes less student testing, focuses on student academic growth and gives schools more flexibility.

Courtesy of Matinga Ragatz

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.

Michigan to launch a new online school evaluation tool

Nov 16, 2017
Lead Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

In early January, the public will have a new online resource to vet and compare public schools.  

The so-called "school transparency dashboard" will have information about every school in Michigan. That includes things like graduation rates, test results, student/teacher ratios, advanced coursework, post-secondary school enrollment, and disciplinary data. 

According to Chris Janzer of the Michigan Department of Education, parents are a key audience.

Krissy Venosdale / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

One of the best ways to help close the education gap for low-income kids is Head Start.

Up to 36,000 children around Michigan, and their families, rely on Head Start for free early childhood education, meals, and support services for parents, all of which are funded by the federal government.

But Chalkbeat Detroit reports  11 Head Start centers in Southwest Detroit are closing by the end of the year. That means some 420 children will have to be transferred to other centers, and 122 employees will be laid off. The affected centers are run by Southwest Solutions, a social service organization.

What happened? And are other Head Start centers in Michigan on shaky ground too?

Howard County Library System Follow / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

The key to a successful future for Michigan includes turning out graduates with skill sets needed to fill the jobs of the future. It also includes increasing access to postsecondary education for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students.

The upcoming Michigan Pre-College and Youth Outreach Conference will explore these challenges, and will focus on the urgency of college access.

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