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Stateside: Toxic cleanup bill; teachers talking race; help for MI kids aging out of foster care

Teacher standing in front of a classroom of children.
How can teachers start productive conversations about race in the classroom? Our education commentator weighs in on this question.

On today’s show, a toxicologist shares his concerns over a bill moving through Michigan's lame-duck legislature that would restrict what information the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality uses when determining standards for toxic contamination cleanup. Plus, our education commentator Matinga Ragatz on why it’s important that teachers not shy away from talking about race in the classroom.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

A toxicologist warns of a lame-duck legislative effort to change toxic cleanup criteria in Michigan

Stateside’s conversation with Richard DeGrandchamp

  • Scientists and public health advocates are concerned about a billcurrently making its way through Michigan’s lame-duck legislature. They say it would hamstring the state when it comes to determining safe levels of pollutants, including PFAS.
  • Richard DeGrandchamp is a toxicology professor at the University of Colorado.  He told Stateside why he’s concerned about the bill, and what he would say to the lawmakers that are considering it.

Rep. Kildee responds to MDHHS creating civil service job for defendant in Flint water crisis 

Stateside's conversation with Dan Kildee

  • Last week, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells was charged with involuntary manslaughter, obstruction of justice, and lying to police investigators in connection with the 2014-2015 Legionnaire’s disease outbreak that killed at least 12 people. On Tuesday, it was announced that Wells had been hired for a high-paying “advisory physician” position, set to begin on January 1, within Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Dan Kildee is Flint’s Democratic Congressman. He joined Stateside to share his thoughts on the decision to hire Wells for the new position.
  • A spokesperson for the state's Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement: "MDHHS determined there was a need for an advisory physician to the Population Health Administration, as we already have with other administrations within the department. This position will advise the administration on public health issues such as HIV, Hepatitis C, environmental health and more given the increasing focus on these and other public health issues in Michigan."

Ragatz: Teachers shouldn't be scared to talk about race in the classroom 

Stateside’s conversation with Matinga Ragatz

  • How can teachers start productive conversations about race in the classroom? Matinga Ragatz is Stateside’s education commentator. She joined Stateside to talk about why it’s important for teachers to talk about race with their students, whether students themselves are pushing for these conversations, and how approaches to the topic of race may differ from school to school.   

Celebrating the life, and soon to be death, of the Joe Louis Arena on its 39th birthday 

Stateside’s conversation with Mark Harvey and Bob Berg

  • On this day 39 years ago, the now-vacant Joe Louis Arena opened its doors. Mark Harvey is State Archivist with the Michigan History Center, and Bob Berg served as the senior public affairs advisor to Detroit’s longest-serving Mayor, Coleman A. Young. They told us about the history of “the Joe,” and why the city of Detroit decided to close down the longtime home of the Red Wings.

State struggles to connect kids aging out of foster care with educational, vocational opportunities

Stateside’s conversation with Matt Gillard

  • A new national report  found that Michigan is far behind the rest of the country when it comes to supporting young people in their transition from the foster care system to adult life. Matt Gillard is the president and CEO of Michigan’s Children, an advocacy group that works to improve Michigan’s child welfare system. He talked to Stateside about where Michigan is falling short, and how the state can do better.

Turning talk about "diversity and inclusion" into concrete action 

Stateside’s conversation with Skot Welch

  • Skot Welch has spent three decades crafting diversity and inclusion initiatives for Fortune 500 firms around the world. He’s turned his strategies into a new book titled 101 Ways to Enjoy the Mosaic: Creating a Diverse Community Right in Your Own Backyard. Welch discussed the message of his book, his background in inclusivity work, and how improving diversity can better both people and organizations.

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