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Education

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Students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School today in Florida – their first time back after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting two weeks ago.

The Parkland shooting has seemed to galvanize students, citizens, corporations, and politicians into action. Most everyone agrees something must be done to make our schools safer.

Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University announced Wednesday that its president, Thomas J. Haas, plans to retire in 2019.

Haas became the fourth president of the university in 2006. Since then, Grand Valley has grown considerably, adding 30 undergraduate programs and 16 graduate programs. With over 25,000 students, it's now the fourth largest university in Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Teachers in Michigan’s second-largest school district are taking big cuts in their new contract.

The two-year contract approved this week includes wage and benefit concessions from Utica teachers of more than $9 million.   

The agreement includes:

·         Five furlough days

·         Benefit change to high deductible health insurance

·         Dental insurance carrier change

·         Step freeze for the first year of the agreement (2017-2018)

·         Half-step freeze for the second year of the agreement (2018-2019)

Pension paybacks for Detroit district employees may show up in March

Feb 27, 2018
A person writing a check
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Thousands of Detroit district school employees may reap the benefits of a lawsuit over pension funding as soon as March.

School employees who worked for Detroit’s main district between 2010 and 2011 can expect refund checks in their mailboxes soon, district leaders say, but making sure the money ends up in the right place will be difficult.

The reimbursements are the outcome of a controversial move during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration to withhold additional money from employees’ paychecks to pay for retiree health care benefits.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers will roll out bills today designed to combat sexual misconduct on college campuses. It’s part of the Legislature’s initial response to issues at Michigan State University.

The measures would require coaches and trainers to report suspicions of abuse. They would also ban the governmental immunity defense Michigan State University has tried to use to fend off sexual assault lawsuits filed by victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

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Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants to spend his last year in office focused on creating a workforce to fill more than 800,000 current and future openings.

He calls it a “Marshall Plan” for developing talent, borrowing the name of the massive effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.  It aims to invest in training for jobs in skilled trades, information technology, and health care.

Snyder said he’s made filling positions in sought-after high-tech fields a priority already.

“But we need a capstone accelerator. That’s what the Marshall Plan is – to accelerate this.”

Former Michigan Gov. John Engler will donate his salary while serving as Michigan State University's interim president amid fallout over now-imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually assaulted female athletes.

The university's Board of Trustees said Wednesday that Engler's annual salary will be $510,399. His contract was finalized this week, but he agreed his salary would go back to the school in East Lansing.

His predecessor, Lou Anna Simon, resigned in January amid criticism of the university's handling of issues related to Nassar.

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Researchers at Michigan State University are gathering every scrap of information they can to develop a huge database on the African slave trade throughout the centuries. The project is called Enslaved.

University of Michigan alters "Michigan Time" policy

Feb 20, 2018
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The University of Michigan is set to end a long-standing tradition on May 1.

"Michigan Time" is the practice of starting classes, meetings, and events 10 minutes after the designated start time to allow for travel time across campus. In a release by the University Record, the practice will be updated at the start of the spring semester, although the majority of students will see the change for the fall term.

Henry Ford College

A Detroit-area college will use a virtual cadaver to teach students how to perform human dissections.

The biology department at Henry Ford College in Dearborn will use an Anatomage Table as part of its curriculum for the winter 2018 semester.

The Anatomage Table cost $80,380 and was funded by a grant through the HFC Technology Investment Fund.

Solar panels
Michael Mazengarb / Flickr

Consumers Energy plans to become more environmentally friendly – while keeping customer bills stable.

The company rolled out its “Clean Energy Breakthrough Goal” Monday. It plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% and use zero coal by 2040. The company also plans to have more than 40% of its energy come from renewable sources and energy storage by that same deadline.

“In the past, people believed that we had to choose between affordable and clean energy,” said Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe. “We don’t subscribe to that sucker’s choice.”

The "Sparty" statue on the MSU campus
Betsy Weber / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University’s major governing body held its first official public meeting with interim president John Engler today.

The Board and Engler tried to keep the meeting "business as usual," although several members acknowledged calls by students and faculty to step down. 

At the end of the meeting, several students stood up with posters condemning the board and Engler.

kate wells / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s two U.S. Senators want universities that receive federal funding to certify they are properly handling sexual abuse investigations.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced “The Accountability of Leaders in Education to Report Title IX Investigations (ALERT) Act" this week.

Children in a classroom
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law a change allowing charter schools to receive revenue from certain voter-approved property tax hikes.

The taxes go to counties' traditional school districts on a per-student basis, on top of their state funding. The new law lets charters get a share of the extra local funding. Charters will only benefit when existing millages are renewed or new millages are approved.

michigan state university sign
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Michigan State University wants to change up its health systems structure. In an effort to streamline the school and increase communication among colleges, the university plans to create two new oversight positions.

Norman Beauchamp is currently the dean of the College of Human Medicine. He is expected to become the newly created associate provost and assistant vice president for health affairs. That job will be focused on finding ways to improve safety and quality practices across all of MSU’s health care services.

Belmont Tower at MSU
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State University Faculty Senate passed a vote of no confidence in the schools’ Board of Trustees Tuesday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state House may vote this week on a package of bills that would expand the state’s college savings program to include some K through 12 expenses.

Michigan’s Education Saving Program was created to help families save for college, with tax-free accounts.  

But the proposed changes would allow money to be spent on primary and secondary school costs, including some expenses at non-public schools.

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.

teacher with student
BES Photos / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some lawmakers in Lansing want to use an A through F grading system to rate schools in some categories.

This isn’t the first time an A through F system has been considered. Lawmakers say it’s an easy way to show how schools are doing.

But recently, the state adopted a system that shows a lot of details about each public school. A new bill would keep that system but include A through F grades for some things.

Brian Love is a parent from Detroit. He says parents need an easy way to determine if a school is good for their kids.

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Student loans help millions get their college degrees.

But critics say our rigid, outdated system for paying back those loans is causing too many people to fall behind or default. 

People borrow for higher education all over the world. Who's doing it better and how?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The business leaders who unsuccessfully pitched Detroit to Amazon are now being asked to make a similar commitment to public education.

Billionaire Dan Gilbert and top Michigan businessmen made every effort to convince Amazon to put its second headquarters in the Motor City.  They failed.

Amazon left Detroit off its short list.  The web giant cited problems with Michigan’s “talent” pool pipeline, including Kindergarten through 12th grade. 

But a coalition consisting of students, educators and civic leaders see an opportunity.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are considering dropping one requirement for a professional teaching certificate in Michigan that everyone agrees is a needed skill.

In order to get their professional certificate, veteran Michigan teachers need to pass a reading disability diagnostics course. The intent is to train teachers to assist struggling students to read at grade level.

DETROIT MUSIC FACTORY

DETROIT  - Detroit philanthropist Gretchen Valade has given more money to boost jazz studies at Wayne State University.

The Detroit school announced Monday that Valade, a board member of Carhartt Clothing and granddaughter of its founder, pledged $2 million for an additional performance space in the future Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. Wayne State is using the money to update its current Studio Theatre in the Hilberry Theatre.

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Gov. Snyder rolls out his final budget plan.

He’s promised more money for K-12 education.   

In his State of the State address last month, Snyder promised the largest increase in minimum per pupil funding in 15 years. We’ll find out exactly how much that will be when his budget plan is delivered to state lawmakers on Wednesday.

Michigan teachers will be closely watching.

The Michigan Education Association calls news media reports saying the governor will propose a $233 increase “promising.”

michigan state university sign
Branislav Ondrasik / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University has yet to comply with a week old demand from Special Counsel in the Attorney General's office for physical evidence.

Last Saturday, the Special Counsel investigating how MSU handled sexual abuse allegations against former sports doctor Larry Nassar demanded immediate production of physical items belonging to William Stampel.

Stampel was dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine where Nassar worked, and reached and agreement with Nassar on new protocols the doctor must follow after complaints in 2014.

Hundreds gather to voice opposition to MSU

Feb 2, 2018
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

The pressure on Michigan State University to overhaul its administration continued last night. Hundreds gathered to voice their opposition and frustration with the school in a townhall-style event.

Students, especially, yelled and cried as they told a Board of Trustee member that the school isn’t listening to them. That they don’t feel safe on campus.

Stateside 2.1.2018

Feb 1, 2018

Today on Stateside, we hear why Michigan nurses are pushing back against understaffing and mandatory overtime. And, we discuss a Detroit Free Press report that the University of Michigan invests billions in firms run by alumni and advisers.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan is not just a leader in educating its students. It’s also a leader in raising money.

The school has raised billions of dollars, to the point where its endowment stands at about $11 billion right now.

T.Halle Library, Eastern Michigan University
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The heads of  Eastern Michigan University's faculty and lecturer unions are blaming bad management decisions for the school's multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

They are criticizing the more than 60 non-faculty job cuts that EMU President James Smith recently announced to deal with this year's unanticipated deficit.

Smith said this year's budget gap is estimated to be between $4.5 and $5.5 million, and is due to the number of actual student credit hours being lower than had been projected.

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