Stateside: Chatfield on state budget; an “unschooler” all grown up; M-STEP scores stay mostly flat | Michigan Radio
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Stateside: Chatfield on state budget; an “unschooler” all grown up; M-STEP scores stay mostly flat

Aug 29, 2019

Today on Stateside, we talk to Republican state House Speaker Lee Chatfield about the ongoing negotiations between Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature over road funding and the state budget. Plus, the forgotten history of how a Grand Rapids high school became the birthplace of vocational education.

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

House Speaker responds to criticism from governor, says road funding deal “not far away”

  • Just about one month to go before the start of the 2020 state fiscal year. But agreement on a new budget has so far eluded Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the GOP-led Legislature, hung up on the major snag of how to fund road repairs. The Democratic governor says she won't sign a budget that doesn't include a "real plan" to fix the roads. She says Republican lawmakers have yet to offer up a viable option.
  • We talk to Republican state House Speaker Lee Chatfield about his take on how negotiations are doing, what he sees as the best way to raise enough money to fund road repairs, and why he has said he’d be willing to pass a state budget now, and save the road funding conversation for after the October 1 budget deadline.

Jackson woman who grew up “unschooled” shares how her unconventional education shaped her life

  • In 2007, Michigan Radio gave a recording kit to a 12-year-old girl, and asked her to describe her life and learning as someone who was “unschooled.” Alyse Guenther was homeschooled in a child-led learning, textbook-free environment until she went to Jackson High School. Today, Guenther lives and works in Thailand. We checked back with her about how her untraditional education prepared her for life in college and beyond.

The forgotten history of how a Grand Rapids high school transformed education in America

  • One of the earliest experiments in vocational education happened in a Grand Rapids high school more than 100 years ago. At the time, it was a novel philosophy that the purpose of school was to prepare students for jobs. Few people in the city today know its history. But Michigan Radio’s Bryce Huffman reports its tradition of vocational education is still alive and well.  

Another federal court deadline to change state sex offender laws has come and gone without action. So what happens now?

  • In May, a federal judge gave Michigan lawmakers 90 days to overhaul the state's sex offender registry law. That ruling came after a 2016 federal appeals court decision that found the sex offender registry law was unconstitutional. That 90-day deadline has now passed, but the law still stands.
  • We talk to Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan, about why the court ruled the sex offender registry law unconstitutional, and why there are yet to be any concrete changes to the law.

Latest M-STEP scores show mostly flat progress for Michigan students 

  • Results for the 2019 M-STEP are out today. That's the statewide test designed to gauge how well students are mastering state standards. So how did Michigan students fare? And what does that tell us about how our students and schools are doing?
  • To answer those questions, we talk to John Yun. He’s an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. Yun shares what he thinks are the most important takeaways from this year’s scores, and what important learning standardized tests fail to capture.

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