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Stateside 5.22.2018

May 22, 2018

Today on Stateside, we discuss what it takes to get teens from foster care to college. Plus, a new report outlines five ideas to reverse the decline in Michigan education. And, we hear how Minneapolis-Saint Paul built true regional cooperation on the foundation of a powerful Metropolitan Council.

Multi-colored books.
Kimberly Farmer / Unsplash

The Education Trust-Midwest continues its quest to prod our state's leaders to do what is needed to improve our schools.

The nonpartisan research and advocacy organization is out with a new plan containing five specific ideas to reverse the decline in Michigan education and put the state on track to become a top-ten performer in education.

Stateside 5.21.2018

May 21, 2018

Today on Stateside, what's ahead as Detroit's school superintendent marks one year on the job? Plus, sports commentator John U. Bacon weighs in on the settlement between Michigan State and Larry Nassar survivors. And the merfolk are coming to South Haven.

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. 

Thomas Gould

Howell High School's Jason Schrock is Michigan's Principal of the Year for 2018.

In 2000, Schrock joined Howell High School as a math teacher. After seven years, he became assistant principal, and for the last six years has been full on principal.

Leading by example and wanting to create a positive school climate he says, "The more I’ve read and learned and watched other leaders from across the state, in and out of education, I know that the direction and the culture of the organization -- the tone is set by the leader." 

guns in holsters on two people
Lucio Eastman - Free State Project - PorcFest 2009 / CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27373086

A new survey finds only a quarter of Michigan teachers think arming teachers will make students safer from gun violence.

The poll found 95% of teachers and support staff say schools need more funding for mental health services.

Paula Herbart is president of the Michigan Education Association, which commissioned the poll.  

"More counselors and social workers can work with students who are struggling with issues in and outside the classroom, and provide them with the support they need," says Herbart.

Virginia Gordon / Michigan Radio

Students graduating Saturday from a small Michigan college will hear from the Vice President of the United States.

Vice President Mike Pence will deliver the commencement address at Hillsdale College’s graduation.

Hillsdale College is influential in conservative political circles.  So it should come as no surprise that the small liberal arts school should be able to nab the vice president as its commencement speaker.

Pence is no stranger to the Hillsdale campus. 

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University’s interim president, John Engler, says the school is “anxious” to settle lawsuits brought by the victims of Dr. Larry Nassar.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

2,000 Detroit public school teachers are getting a bonus.

It’s part of the district’s plan to attract and retain teachers.

Lawsuit claims UM disciplinary code curbs free speech

May 9, 2018
The Michigan Union
Wikimedia Commons

A new free speech advocacy group, Speech First, has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Michigan, alleging the U of M's disciplinary code is unconstitutional.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims the U of M's speech code and its bias response system chills free speech and expression and violates the First Amendment.

someone writing on a ballot
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

By more than a two-to-one margin, voters on Tuesday approved a nearly $97 million bond proposal for Kalamazoo Public Schools - the largest in its history.  Part of the money will replace a magnet school that was built in 1928. 

Jackson voters approved an $86.74 million bond proposal that will include building a new elementary school building.  The vote was 2,629 to 1,615.  

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.

EMMA WINOWIECKI / Michigan Radio

As awareness of the problem of sexual assault on college campuses grew over five years or so, what's one result?

Many colleges and universities have implemented so called "mandatory reporting" policies.

State superintendent Brian Whiston
Dearborn Public Schools

The Michigan Department of Education has announced that State Superintendent Brian Whiston passed away Monday night at the age of 56.

Whiston was appointed to the position in April 2015, and went on long-term disability leave less than a week before his death. His previous positions included Superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools and Treasurer and President-Elect of the Michigan Parent Teacher Student Association.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

Detroit Medical Center now says it won't terminate its century-old partnership with Wayne State University.

Detroit Medical Center and the Wayne State University Physician Group announced Monday they will extend their partnership for six months.

This comes after Tenet Healthcare, the Dallas-based parent company of DMC, announced last week that it would end its contract with the school.

Under the partnership, doctors from DMC teach at Wayne State, and the medical school uses the hospital system's facilities.

Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

High schools in Michigan might have to add financial literacy to their curriculum. Schools would have to offer a class on personal finance management skills like spending, saving, borrowing and investing to 11th and 12th graders. That’s if a bipartisan bill making its way through the state legislature is passed.

“In the U.S. we’ve just passed a trillion in credit card debt and I just think it’s really important for the young students – 11th and 12th grade – to be prepared for their lives going forward,” said bill sponsor Diana Farrington, R-Utica.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Voters will go to the polls across Michigan on Tuesday.

School millages and bond issues dominate the May ballot.

A few examples of what’s on the ballot:

At more than $96 million, the largest bond Kalamazoo Public Schools officials have ever put before voters is on the ballot.  If approved, the bulk of the money will be used to replace or repair roofs, boilers, parking lots, lighting, windows, and buses.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are debating a change to the way the future teacher retirement fund’s growth is projected.

Faustin Tuyambaze / Unsplash

How can Michigan attract and retain new talent? That's a question we've been hearing from Governor Snyder's office and executive suites on down for years.

Earlier this month, a General Motors executive told a roomful of automotive engineers that the autonomous vehicle revolution will bypass Detroit unless the region addresses its talent deficit.

College graduates in caps and gowns
Photo by Caleb Woods / Unsplash

Almost four out of five Michigan residents support a substantial increase in state spending on higher education to keep tuition low for in-state residents.

That's according to a recent survey conducted for the Michigan Association of State Universities.

"Thirty years ago, the state paid for about 80 percent of the tab for a pubic university education," said Daniel Hurley, president and CEO of the Michigan Association. "Today, it's down to about 22 percent."

Hurley says the survey shows state residents think public higher education should be a state budget priority.

Solar panels
Ford Motor Company / Flickr

Mott Community College will use a $20,000 grant from Cypress Creek Renewables to help develop a solar energy training program.

The grant will support curriculum development for electric workers and construction workers who specialize in commercial solar installations.

Kevin Borgia is Cypress Creek Renewable's Midwest Policy Director.  He says Mott's new program will reach out in particular to women, minorities, and veterans.

Daniel Ernst / First in Michigan

The robots are coming! 

The world's biggest robotics competition is happening in Detroit this Wednesday through Saturday, bringing some 40-thousand students, mentors, coaches and their families to Ford Field and Cobo Center. This is the first year that this world robotics championship is being held in Michigan.

Low-income Grand Rapids preschoolers are catching up. Will Lansing notice?

Apr 24, 2018
In a neighborhood in southwest Grand Rapids, teacher Lorena Lopez leads a group of 4-year-old students.
Photo courtesy of Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

In some of the poorest neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, in places inured to academic failure, children are grasping at a chance to defy the odds.

So it was one recent spring day, in a pre-K classroom on the city’s southwest side. In a poor, largely Hispanic neighborhood, where more than half of adults over age 25 lack a high school degree, a group 4-year-olds watched a classmate draw a “2” and a squiggly “0” on a whiteboard.

Their teacher, Sadie Kovich, asked: “What is it if the 2 is in front and a 0 is in back?”

Students in the hallway looking at ducks
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

It might not be Pamplona, but the annual "Running of the Ducks" at Ken-O-Sha Park Elementary School in Grand Rapids is its own time-honored tradition. 

This Friday, students and teachers gathered in the hallways to watch as a mother duck marched her ducklings to water for the first time.

The mother duck nests in the school's courtyard every year. When spring comes, she leads her babies through the school and into the woods a few hundred yards away.  

Michigan State University sign
Michigan State University

Interim Michigan State University president John Engler has appointed two long-time MSU professors, Bonnie Knutson and Michael Kaplowitz, as the school's new faculty athletic representatives. 

Their appointments come as MSU finds itself under fire for its handling of the sexual abuse scandal involving former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

A boxcar used to transport victims during the Holocaust.
Courtesty of the Holocaust Memorial Center

A recent New York Times story published on Holocaust Remembrance Day bore a striking headline: "Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey Finds."

That survey found many people don't have an even a basic understanding of how six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.

That lack of knowledge is especially pronounced in millennials, or people between the ages of 18 and 34.

Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO of the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, joined Stateside Wednesday to talk about these recent findings.

The washing machine at A.L Holmes Academy of Blended Learning
Courtesy of Tammy Mitchell

 


 

It's no secret that kids who aren't sitting in class aren't learning, and Detroit has the highest rate of chronic absenteeism in the country, according to a 2016 Associated Press report

 

We hear policy recommendations and deep-dive discussions about how to boost school attendance, but, as first reported in Chalkbeat Detroit, one Detroit school has a different solution: a washing machine. 

University of Michigan students wait for a bus
The University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1f2P1w6

In January, the University of Michigan’s Central Student Government (CSG) released their anticipated “Campus Affordability Guide.” The guide was meant to help lower income students save money.

Some of the advice included canceling cleaning or laundry services, selling your car for some extra cash, and buying fewer snacks.

Courtesy of Michigan ACLU

In a letter to its principal this week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asked Utica Academy for International Studies to lift its prohibition against political signs at student demonstrations.

UAIS principal Shaun Greene-Beebe announced the ban to the school community leading up to the March 14 National Student Walkout that took place in response to the Parkland, Florida school shootings. 

guns in holsters on two people
Lucio Eastman - Free State Project - PorcFest 2009 / CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27373086

Governor Snyder released a plan yesterday to improve safety in Michigan schools following the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

His $20 million plan calls for boosting security at hundreds of schools, setting up a task force to come up with more ways to improve school security between now and the end of the year, more training for school administrators and school resource officers, and expanding the OK2SAY tip line.

The governor says he intentionally stayed away from guns.

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