Education | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

Education

Cecilia Zaya

The experience of online learning for special education students in Michigan this spring ranged from better results than expected, to what parents describe as an utter disaster.

For Tanya Haaseth's family, it was a disaster. She lives in West Bloomfield with her three children. Her husband works out of state, so she says she’s basically a single mom most of the time. 

Two of Haaseth's children have autism. The 19-year old, Alex, is severely affected. He's enrolled in a post-secondary program in the West Bloomfield School District.

Courtesy of Owen Bondono

Owen Bondono, Michigan’s newly named Teacher of the Year and a ninth-grade English language arts teacher at Oak Park Freshman Institute, works to create a classroom community in which students feel comfortable sharing their experiences and ideas with eachother. But as a fall semester unlike any other approaches, and some schools lean toward virtual learning to limit the spread of COVID-19, Bondono is having to rethink the way he conducts meaningful class conversations with his students.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District wants parent input about how their students will be learning in the fall.

DPSCD is offering both fully virtual and face-to-face instruction. District officials say they want a parent feedback survey completed by August 4, though the “drop-dead deadline” for responses is August 21.

J. Kelly Brito / Unsplash

Some school districts have already announced they'll be offering remote instruction only in the fall, over concerns it is not safe for teachers, staff, students or their families to have in-person instruction, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

School district leaders in Michigan say a package of online education bills making its way through the legislature sets requirements that are too rigid.

The bills are in anticipation of many students going to school online this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.   

One of the bills requires districts to document a 75% average attendance record; otherwise some state funding will be cut. 

Taylor Wilcox / Upsplash

This story was updated on 7/28/20 

The day after President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Royal Oak Schools was the recipient of unwelcome headlines in the media, after the release of a videotape of middle school students chanting, "Build that wall!"

A couple weeks later, a student placed a noose in a boy's bathroom.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Grand Rapids Public Schools says it plans to have online-only instruction for the first nine weeks of the school year.

Superintendent Leadrianne Roby says the district will follow the state’s guidance and decide whether to return to in-person teaching in October.

teacher pointing at board in front of classroom full of children
Rawpixel.com / Adobe Stock

School districts are rolling out plans for the fall with two main strategies taking form – all online or a hybrid approach that includes some digital learning and some in-person classroom learning. With this information some parents are considering creating learning “pods" with other families. Pulling their kids away from public school options and paying private teachers to come into a home or space and teach just a few kids in person.

Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Officials with Ann Arbor Public Schools say it's not safe to return to in-person teaching in the fall.  

Local public health experts say the COVID-19 case rate in Washtenaw County is up markedly over the previous six weeks, and the Ann Arbor-Detroit area is considered medium to high risk for infections.

They also say the impact of University students returning to Ann Arbor in September is a big unknown.

Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some school districts are in the thick of work devising a plan to return students to the classroom for face-to-face instruction in the fall. 

Many of the plans will likely be a hybrid, two days in school, three days online, for example, in order to reduce class sizes and allow for physical distancing.

But the Lansing School District is taking a different approach.  The district will offer online-only instruction starting on August 26th.

School Board President Gabrielle  Lawrence says the coronavirus pandemic is not under control in Michigan.

kids with backpacks on going back to school
WavebreakmediaMicro / Adobe Stock

As we inch closer to the start of the school year, more and more schools are announcing plans about what school could look like this fall. Detroit Public Schools recently approved in-person instruction, a move that was met with criticism. The Ann Arbor teachers’ union has called face-to-face instruction unsafe. As teachers prepare for the upcoming year, many are worried about what they’ll be preparing to face.

a black boy sits writing in a notebook at a table
Unsplash

After a white police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, protests erupted across the country against police brutality toward Black people in America. In the intervening weeks, a national dialogue has erupted over the many ways American istitutions prop up and proliferate racism against Black people.

This summer, Stateside is conducting a series of conversations on what systemic racism looks like. This week we hear from educators, parents and journalists regarding how systemic racism affects Black children and reinforces white America’s biases against against them.

Adobe Stock Images

Today on Stateside, we spoke with the reporter who broke the story about a Michigan 15-year-old who was sentenced to juvenile detention for missing homework during the coronavirus shutdown. Also, a conversation about addressing disparities in education through connecting with families. Plus, how a Detroit nonprofit founded after the 1967 uprisings is pushing for change today.

school hallway
Detroit Public Schools / Detroit Public Schools

Michigan’s largest school district has approved a re-opening plan that includes in-person learning.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District board voted for the plan Tuesday night. It calls for schools to make a number of adaptations to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti
Detroit Public Schools Community District

Hundreds of Detroit students started in-person summer school programs in Detroit Public Schools Community District buildings on Monday, in the face of some public opposition.

A small group of protesters blocked the exit to a school bus depot on the city’s west side, preventing the buses from picking up more than 200 enrolled students, said DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

Illustration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Today on Stateside, summer school started for students in Detroit. We check in with the superintendent of schools in the city to find out how summer instruction will work, as well as the district’s plans for the fall. Also, a parent reflects on how systemic racism in the U.S. demands that Black children grow up far too fast. Plus, the COVID-19 virus image as an artifact of design.

Empty classroom
Kevin Wong / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In just six to eight weeks, Michigan’s K - 12 students will be returning to school for the fall semester. 

Most districts appear to be planning for at least a limited number of days of in-person teaching.

But cases of COVID-19 are increasing in the state, and teachers are anxious about the risks for them, their students and their own families. 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Michigan schools could face an even worse substitute teacher shortage because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state released guidelines last month outlining students’ return to in-person learning in classrooms, which specifies face coverings and physical distancing requirements.

Dana Nessel
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Michigan has joined four other states and Washington, D.C. to challenge how the U.S. Department of Education is allocating money for schools.

The funds come from the CARES Act to assist schools with their COVID-19 responses.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan colleges and universities are scrambling to figure out what a new federal government rule means for their international students.

That comes after the government’s announcement this week that the government will no longer issue student visas to foreign students whose universities go to online-only classes.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
State of Michigan

The state's much-anticipated pandemic road map for returning to in-person K-12 instruction was released Tuesday.

The plan includes requirements that all school districts must follow, along with recommendations.  Districts will be permitted to institute stricter measures if they wish.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan Regents approved a slight tuition increase Monday night.

The regents approved a budget, including a 1.9% tuition increase, on a five to two vote. The board deadlocked on a similar proposal last week.

The budget takes effect Wednesday. 

University of Michigan near Rackham and Michigan League
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge ordered the University of Michigan on Wednesday to immediately stop communicating with alumni who could be potential plaintiffs in class action litigation against the school.

The order came after Judge Victoria Roberts learned that in April, U of M had contacted more than 300,000 former students in connection with its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse by the late Dr. Robert Anderson. 

University of Michigan
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

After cancelling face-to-face classes this spring due to COVID-19, universities across Michigan are gearing up to bring students back to campus this fall.

Although the state of Michigan is doing relatively well with containing the outbreak, the epidemic is still far from over. Universities are trying to balance public health risks with the massive financial costs that would result from not reopening.

Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

A note: In this episode we talk about school lockdown drills, which may not be appropriate for our younger listeners.

Gen Z is growing up in a world changed forever before they were even born by events like September 11 and Columbine.

They’ve also been hit with two defining events that will shape their lives in ways we can’t even anticipate: the looming threat of climate change, and the more immediate threat of COVID-19.

Michigan State University
John M. Quick / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University is cutting the salaries of non-unionized faculty and academic staff because of the budgetary impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

MSU President Dr. Samuel Stanley, Jr., announced in a letter Monday to all university employees that the pay cuts will start on September 1 and last at least one year.

kids with backpacks on going back to school
WavebreakmediaMicro / Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to roll out her plans next week on re-opening schools in the fall. Tuesday, the Legislature’s Republican leaders outlined their proposed back-to-school plans.

Kindergarten-through-fifth graders would have to have some classroom time, while more resources would also be devoted to at-home learning. But it’s still a work in progress, especially when it comes to paying for back-to-school plans. Some of the money would come from the federal government.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The union representing non-tenure instructors at the University of Michigan is upset that dozens of lecturers are losing their jobs because of budget cuts.

The staff cuts are hitting particularly hard on U of M’s Flint and Dearborn campuses.

U of M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald says the main reasons for the layoffs are declining enrollment and a change in teaching approach. 

a young black boy reading a workbook
Unsplash

Protests continue across the country in response to police brutality against Black Americans. But while systemic racism might be most visible in the criminal justice system, it touches every aspect of American society. That includes our education system. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic is raising concerns among some University of Michigan students in Dearborn and Flint about whether they are getting the same financial help that students on the Ann Arbor campus receive.

Alysia Trevino is with the group One University.

Trevino says the pandemic is adding to the burden of students with fewer financial resources.

Pages