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Michigan Department of Education

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The Michigan Board of Education approved controversial new social studies curriculum standards Tuesday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Michigan Board of Education is scheduled to consider new social studies curriculum standards. 

The path these revised social studies standards have taken could be a civics lesson in itself.

Back in 2018, educators and liberal groups rallied against a proposal drafted with strong input from conservative groups. The proposal called for dropping references to “gay rights,”  "Roe vs Wade” and "climate change.” It also called for replacing the phrase “democratic values” with “core values.”

Under pressure, the Michigan Department of Education pulled the proposal.  

picture of Michigan superintendent Michael Rice
Kalamazoo Public Schools

 


Michigan has a new state superintendent: Michael Rice

Rice began his teaching career as a high school French teacher in the Washington D.C. public school system. For the past 12 years, he's been the leader of the Kalamazoo Public Schools district. And last week, he was chosen by the State Board of Education to assume the state's top education job. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new study finds Michigan is doing well in educating very young children. 

But the report’s authors are concerned about the future.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a bill in the Michigan legislature which could lead to teachers getting special mental health training.

State Sen. Sylvia Santana’s bill directs the Departments of Education & Health and Human Services to develop a professional development course for teachers on “mental health first aid.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Board of Education is launching the search for a new state School Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The board has hired the executive search firm Ray & Associates to conduct the search.

The job of Michigan’s top educator has been in limbo since the death last Spring of former state school superintendent Brian Whiston. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State Education officials are using a $5 million federal grant to improve early childhood programs for Michigan children under five.

Scott Koenigsknecht is a Deputy Superintendent in the Michigan Department of Education.

He says Michigan has a variety of early childhood education programs for kids from birth to five years old.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s third graders will need to meet a new reading standard in 2019.

But there is concern the state’s educational system isn’t ready.

Under the Read by Third Grade law, a student’s performance on the state English language arts assessment will help determine if they will be promoted to fourth grade.

Students at computers
User: Extra Ketchup / creative commons

When it comes to standardized testing, Michigan’s students don’t seem to be performing any better than in recent years — or too much worse.

The Michigan Department of Education released the results of the 2018 M-STEP test Wednesday.

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

 


Summer is winding down. Parents and kids are out doing their back-to-school shopping. But many school districts in Michigan are still trying to find enough teachers to fill their classrooms.

The issue of understaffing seems to be impacting almost all schools — whether they are small, large, public, or charter.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

A report released by the Government Accountability Office earlier this week says that only 43% of school districts nationwide tested for lead in their drinking water in 2016 or 2017. Only eight states mandate such testing from schools, and Michigan is not one of them.

School desks
Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Michigan is the only state failing to meet enough special education requirements to need intervention, according to a recent evaluation by federal education officials.

The Department of Education breaks its annual evaluation on special education down into three categories: meets, needs assistance, needs intervention, and lastly “needs substantial intervention.” The state of Michigan spent the past four school years in the “needs assistance” category.

creative commons

The Michigan Department of Education has added two "listen and learn sessions" about proposed social studies guidelines amid growing outcry over the changes.

Students sitting at desks in a classroom with a teacher at the front of the room
NeONBRAND / pixabay

Standardized testing may become less standardized for Michigan students.

The Michigan Department of Education recently asked federal department to allow up to 5 percent of Michigan school districts to create what they are calling "locally-determined innovative assessment systems."

In their proposal, the department says qualifying districts could essentially create their own test, and then choose to use these new systems in place of the statewide assessment, the M-STEP.

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.

Ann Arbor's Skyline High School. Ann Arbor Public Schools has been on the state's "significant disproportionality" list for over-suspending black students for five years, but says it's taken aggressive steps to correct that disparity.
Wikimedia Commons

Twelve Michigan school districts made the state’s 2017 list of schools that disproportionately suspend students of color.

The Michigan Department of Education puts out an annual “significant disproportionality list” in three areas: student discipline, students with identified disabilities, and educational environment.

drinking fountain
jasongillman / pixabay

There’s still a lot of money on the table for Michigan schools that wish to test their drinking water for lead. Far fewer school districts have taken advantage of the grant program than the state expected. So the state is trying to tweak the lead testing program so more schools could or would apply for the money.

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The 2017 scores for the M-STEP — the standardized test that most students in Michigan take — have been released.

It’s a mixed bag of results, with some promising signs of growth and other areas that clearly need work. M-STEP (the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) replaced the old MEAP test in 2015. The test is administered online, and it's designed to measure students' knowledge in math, science, social studies, and English language arts.

kids at computers
U.S. Department of Education

Math and social studies scores are up among Michigan’s students, but English and reading scores are lower, according to the state’s spring 2017 M-STEP/MME results.

The Michigan Department of Education released its annual M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) results Tuesday.

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
User alkruse24 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Education has announced it will reduce the overall score students need to receive on an English-proficiency test after an earlier change made it more difficult for students to transition out of English learner status.

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Livingston County schools could soon adopt a program that gives their students some community college experience.

Early Middle College School is a five-year program that allows students to earn a high school diploma and either a technical certification or up to 60 transferable credits.

Mike Hubert is the Superintendent of the Livingston Educational Service Agency, which spurred the early college proposal, says the state foundation allowance covers the cost of the program.

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

The heads of most of the 38 schools facing closure for low academic performance are drafting agreements that would allow the schools to stay open and collaborate with the state.

The state offered the agreements as a sort of olive branch after major backlash to the closure announcements in late January.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

In case you needed more proof that politics makes for strange bedfellows, a coalition of religious leaders and casino owners have united to oppose new legislation that would legalize online gambling in Michigan. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether the legislation is a good bet for the state.

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The Michigan Department of Education is offering a reprieve for the 38 schools in danger of being closed for poor performance.

The reprieve is laid out in a letter from Michigan Superintendent Brian Whiston to the eight school districts with schools on the possible closure list.

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State boards of education across the country are issuing draft plans on how to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2015 federal education law that set new national standards for K-12 schools.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently released its plan for complying with ESSA. The plan aims to make Michigan “a top 10 education state within 10 years.”

A new House bill looks to make "Common Core" no more

Feb 10, 2017
test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan would dump the controversial "common core" education standards under a bill in the state House.

State representative Gary Glenn, R-Midland,  introduced the bill, which calls for adopting a set of standards developed by the state of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts has the best standards in the country, according to Glenn.

He said the new standards are more rigorous and will better prepare students for college and work.

“Why would we give Michigan students anything less than the best in the country?” Glenn asked.

classroom
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It wasn’t one thing that put Litchfield Community Schools’ elementary school on a path to becoming a “priority” school.

When Mary Sitkiewicz started teaching at Litchfield in the mid 1990s, she remembers there being more than 800 students. According to state data from last school year, the student count was down to 248.

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan may soon be making changes to student testing. 

The state's Department of Education is considering adding  a standardized test that would go beyond what's included on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (or M-STEP), which was implemented during the 2014-2015 school year. 

Ryan Stanton / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

UPDATED: 8:35 am on 10/22/2015 The federal government paid at least $1.7 million to 25 Michigan charter schools  that never opened, according to a report released this week by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).

The Wisconsin-based media group "conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy," according to their website.

Feds renew Michigan's No Child Left Behind waiver

Aug 14, 2015
Taking a multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The federal government has renewed a waiver that gives Michigan some wiggle room when it comes to school improvement requirements under No Child Left Behind.

Under the renewal, the state won't have to identify additional struggling schools until 2017.

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