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K-12

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Two universities in Michigan are now each reporting more than 1,000 cases in ongoing COVD-19 outbreaks, according to weekly data released Monday by the state health department. Meanwhile, pre-K-12 schools in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are being hit especially hard as those regions remain hot spots for the virus. 

 

Trice Clark

Today on Stateside, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says Michigan students need to take standardized tests this year. We check-in with an educator and an administrator who have thought a lot about the role of testing. Then, Detroit's creative pros talk about what design has to offer during a time of crisis. And, Michigan State takes stargazing to high heights.

Kids wearing masks at computers
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Some school districts that are teaching online only are adding limited enrollment drop-off programs this fall to help ease the burden on working parents.

The students can be dropped off at school buildings, or in some cases, community centers, where they will be supervised by non-teaching staff as they attend online school, just like the students at home.

Fees typically range from about $30 to $60 a day. At Lake Orion Community Schools, the fee will be $40 a day for K-5 students.

Empty classroom
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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. 

kids with backpacks on going back to school
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When schools closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the way students were taught had to shift on a dime. Online platforms like Zoom became the new classrooms. These sudden changes have also highlighted the shortcomings and inequities of our current school system. That has some educators thinking about whether this crisis could be an opportunity to reinvent what school looks like this fall and beyond.

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Today on Stateside, what will the impending re-opening of Michigan’s economy mean for public health. Plus, how the pandemic could allow districts to reshape learning in the fall.

Today on Stateside, summer vacation plans up in the air— places like Mackinac Island likely won’t reopen until late June, if at all. Plus, we talked to two high school students on how they are adjusting to online school and being home.

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

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan school districts will soon be allowed to apply for millions of dollars of federal aid tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $13.2 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund is meant to address the impact the COVID-19 public health crisis has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the United States. ESSER funding was included as part of the $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the doors to school buildings are locked for the rest of this school year. This is not a surprise. It just makes permanent an earlier order that temporarily closed schools. That was to buy time to come up with plans to address the rapid spread of the coronavirus. But the governor says it won’t be safe anytime soon for students and teachers to return to school. 

gretchen whitmer sitting at table
State of Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Thursday morning that ends all face-to-face K-12 schooling for the 2019-20 academic year. 

Instead of meeting in person, the order establishes guidelines for distance learning, which will continue.

people at the detroit auto show
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Today on Stateside, it's hard to keep up with the daily rush of news about COVID-19 in Michigan. We talk with two reporters about some stories you might have missed.  Plus, writer Desiree Cooper offers perspective and advice about coping with uncertainty and loss. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools Community District officials are changing the way the district provides free meals to children in response to the governor’s order to “stay at home” during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Kelly Mickel is alone, in her office, at four p.m. on a Tuesday.

 

It’s a freaking miracle. 

 

Most days, the principal at Erickson Elementary in Ypsilanti barely gets a moment to breathe, much less eat lunch (unless she’s eating a school lunch with a student, “either as a reward or sometimes as a consequence”). Usually, lunch is a piece of fruit, or something from home that sits on her desk most of the afternoon.

 

School desks
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Michigan is not on track to be a top ten state in K-12 education by 2030, according to a report from the Education Trust-Midwest found.

The annual report Opportunity For All says that Michigan is currently 35th in the nation in fourth grade reading and 33rd in eighth grade math.

Teacher standing in front of a classroom of children.
Unsplash

This week, the public can start weighing in on the latest draft of revised social studies standards for Michigan's K-12 schools.

The standards lay out guidelines on what content should be covered in social studies classes and lessons for different grade levels. State officials have been working on revising them for the past five years. 

children sitting on floor
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new University of Michigan study finds African-American boys are three times as likely as whites to be suspended or expelled from school before the fourth grade.

The study suggests a lack of alternatives to suspending or expulsion may be a reason.

Detroit schools chief: District can now pay for counselors, art classes, and gym in every school

Mar 14, 2018
Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

After months spent talking about expensive new programs he’d like to see, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says he’s found money in the Detroit district’s budget to hire a slew of educators who’ve been missing for years from city schools.

The budget framework he presented to a school board committee Friday calls for every city school to have a guidance counselor, an arts or music teacher, a gym teacher, and a “dean of school culture” who would be in charge of student discipline and creating in-school suspension programs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state House committee has approved a bill creating an “A thru F” grading system for Michigan schools.

The bill approved by the House Education Reform committee would use existing criteria to create a letter grade system for evaluating schools. HB 5526 now moves to the full state House.

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.

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has approved the state of Michigan’s plan to meet new federal education standards.

Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 to replace the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.  The new law gives states more authority in overseeing public schools.  

Michigan originally submitted its proposal in April. The state’s most recent revisions to the plan were filed two weeks ago. 

Michigan’s plan includes less student testing, focuses on student academic growth and gives schools more flexibility.

Empty classroom
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What happens to a school's biggest so-called troublemakers when they get lengthy suspensions or are kicked out altogether? Where can they go?

One place is Lighthouse Academy in Kent County. It's mission statement: "Creating hope through academic success in spite of life's storms."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan: We are failing black college students. We can do better.

That's the warning from Kim Trent, a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors. She laid out her concerns in a piece for MichiganFuture.org where she's a policy associate. It's titled "How Michigan fails black college students."

The state says 38 schools with persistently low test scores might not have to close by the end of the year. At least, not yet. These schools now have 60 days to come up with a turnaround plan using what the state calls a "partnership" model. We wanted to know a little bit more about what that partnership strategy might entail, so we took a trip to Dearborn to find out. 

Rafael Soto / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan's K-12 students are among the weakest academically in the U.S., and they're falling even further behind, according to a report released today by Education Trust-Midwest, a Michigan-based non-partisan research education and advocacy organization.

The report predicts that if things don't change, Michigan will rank 48th nationally in fourth grade reading scores by 2030, far from the state's goal of becoming a top ten state in education by that year. 

Broken piggy bank
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A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranks Michigan 12th worst in the country when it comes to education funding cuts.

The report says Michigan has cut per-pupil K-12 funding by 7.5 percent since 2008.

The Michigan state capitol building
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The Legislature has approved budgets for the coming fiscal year.

The K-12 schools budget was enthusiastically endorsed by Republicans and Democrats. Every school district in the state will see a funding bump of $70 to $140 per student under the new K-12 budget the Legislature just sent to Governor Rick Snyder.

classroom
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Most people in a Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll would give Michigan a "C" when it comes to the state's education system.

Six-hundred likely voters in Michigan were polled from February 2 through February 5, 2015. Thirty-five percent gave Michigan's school system an A or a B - 49% gave Michigan a C, D, or an F (16% were unsure or didn't offer an answer).

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO – Gov. Rick Snyder is more forcefully countering what he calls "the big lie" in his re-election bid – charges that he cut $1 billion in education funding in 2011.

His opponent, Democrat Mark Schauer, isn't shying away from the claim.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report gives Michigan failing grades for student academic progress.

During the last decade, Michigan’s fourth-graders lost ground in math and reading, according to a new report out today from Education Trust-Midwest.

Amber Arellano is with the trust. She says Michigan now ranks among the bottom five states in student academic progress.

She says the state must raise the bar for students and teachers.

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