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michigan schools

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Michigan high school students could potentially opt out of Algebra II. That’s thanks to a proposed bill in the state Senate.

Michigan laws currently require students to take four credits of math, including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, as well as other elective classes that can be integrated in. The proposed bill would allow students to complete the required four math credits with a course other than algebra II, including a personal finance class or basic statistics. 

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
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Michigan will have two accountability systems in place for K-12 schools this fall. The state system, passed during a lame duck session, puts in place a different system of accountability for schools than the one mandated by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. 

Here’s the rundown on the two systems: 

winter school bus
Pixabay

Michigan students are a signature away from getting four snow days forgiven after a brutal winter left some schools closed for weeks. The state Senate sent the bill to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk Thursday.

This comes after a dust-up between Republicans and Democrats on details of the bill. Earlier this week, Democrats prevented the bill from getting immediate effect – which would have effectively killed the bill.

Pile of children's books
Unsplash

Read at grade level or you could get held back. Those are the options for Michigan third graders starting next year.

That's thanks to a 2016 law aimed at boosting the state's educational performance. It makes Michigan one of 16 states with similar laws that hold students back if they aren't reading by the third grade. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tuesday, state lawmakers plan to consider legislation to help school districts that have to make up snow days.

Severe weather and bitter cold forced many Michigan schools to exceed the number of allowable snow days this year. 

books
Unsplash

In the frantic bill passing of lame duck, the state Legislature pushed through an A-F grading system for Michigan schools. It requires the state to grade K-12 schools in five areas, and then make the grades available for parents to view.

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A bill introduced by Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) passed yesterday with some amendments in the state House. If the education bill is passed in the state Senate, it will create an A-through-F grading system for Michigan schools.

Rep. Kelly joined us to discuss SB 5526 and respond to criticizers of the bill, such as Nikolai Vitti, the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District who called the bill anti-democratic. 

Nikolai Vitti
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, is strongly opposed to an education bill making its way through the state's lame-duck legislature. SB 5526 narrowly passed with some amendments in the state House around 3 a.m. Thursday morning. The bill goes next to the state Senate.

school buses
Juhamanninen / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A 2006 state law says Michigan public schools must start after Labor Day. But this year, a record number of school districts received waivers to start before the holiday -- and tourism officials in the state aren't happy.

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

Michigan schools scored poorly in the latest National Assessment of Educational progress, which tracks math and reading skills in 4th and 8th graders. Detroit schools ranked the worst for student performance.

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry shares the results that stand out to him with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou.

school buses
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State school superintendent Brian Whiston recently announced he's going on medical leave after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

Whiston believes he has put the programs in place to reverse the downward spiral of student scores, and he also has a plea aimed at state lawmakers.

money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder presented his final budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year to the House and Senate this week. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle found things they did and didn't like about the governor's spending plan, which includes increased spending for roads and education.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what else stood out in Snyder's budget.


teacher with student
BES Photos / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some lawmakers in Lansing want to use an A through F grading system to rate schools in some categories.

This isn’t the first time an A through F system has been considered. Lawmakers say it’s an easy way to show how schools are doing.

But recently, the state adopted a system that shows a lot of details about each public school. A new bill would keep that system but include A through F grades for some things.

Brian Love is a parent from Detroit. He says parents need an easy way to determine if a school is good for their kids.

Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

What's happening with the state's poorest performing schools?

The upcoming holiday break kind of marks the half-way point in the school year.

That's especially important for the 37 Michigan schools fighting for their lives.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan schools superintendent can't withhold state aid from school districts with American Indian mascots or logos. Earlier this year Superintendent Brian Whiston proposed cutting up to 10% of a district's annual payment. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Schuette's opinion on the matter.

They also talk about a ruling that temporarily halts state funding to private schools, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen's federal court nomination delay, and whether the an iconic Detroit hat shop is a casualty of rising downtown rents.

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A set of bills passed in the state Senate Thursday would ban schools from suspending or expelling students solely for poor attendance.

The legislation, which passed on 28-9 and 35-2 margins, requires schools to notify parents to attend a meeting in regard to a child's irregular attendance. The bills would also require school boards to include sufficient data about truancy, chronic absences and disciplinary absences in their annual expulsion reports.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
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On May 9, State Representative John Kivela was found dead in a Lansing home from an apparent suicide. The Marquette democrat's death marks the third time in the past year a House member has died. Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss reactions from the Michigan State House. 

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

On May 2 Ann Arbor voters approved a new millage that will be used to renovate the city's public schools. The millage will raise more than $200 million over 10 years. The majority of the money will be used to repair infrastructure on all 32 of the city's school buildings. The rest will be used for playgrounds, athletic facilities and additional classroom space.

More than 70% of voters in Ypsilanti approved the Ypsilanti Community School's operating millage proposal. It will provide about $9 million annually, which the school district can use for employee salaries and curriculum.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich.  - A key senator is proposing to repeal Michigan's school-turnaround law and to overhaul a system that potentially could lead to the closure of academically failing schools.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov said Tuesday he will introduce repeal legislation Wednesday, the first day of the two-year legislative term. His bill comes as Michigan prepares to soon release its latest school rankings list.

CPR training
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Michigan students would be required to learn CPR before they graduate from high school under a bill that's on its way to Gov. Snyder's desk.

This week, the state House voted in favor of legislation that would require students that students receive CPR instruction at least once between 7th and 12th grade. It would be up to school districts to decide when and how to incorporate the training into their curriculum.  

Michigan kids deserve better school discipline policies

Dec 6, 2016

One of the most frightening, haunting and horrible stories I heard this year had nothing to do with politics. In September, an eight-year-old autistic child in Lake Orion was supposedly misbehaving in class.

So his teacher locked him in a padded room by himself for three and a half hours – a barbaric, medieval punishment called “seclusion and restraint.”

United States Department of Education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As Michigan kids get settled into this new school year, there's one group that can use some extra support: children who are immigrants or refugees.

United States Department of Education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

What happens when you're the parent of a child with special needs, and your view of how you want your child to be educated clashes with the school district's?

Bryan McDonald / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan ranks third in the country for having the most school districts with chronic absence rates at or above 30%. 

Nationwide, chronic absenteeism is about 13%. In Michigan, it's 18%.

That's according to a report released today by Attendance Works and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.

When you go to vote this fall, you'll have a chance to weigh in on education.

Amidst mounting calls for the state to do a better job educating its students, state Board of Education candidates are up for election, as well as trustees and governors of Michigan's major universities. 

Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry joined us today to talk about the myriad issues at stake in the upcoming education races. 

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Michigan’s School Reform Office has warned failing schools that they could be shut down by next June – more than 100 of them.

Erin Einhorn, editor at Chalkbeat Detroit, published an article breaking down the effects of closing schools with poor testing results, including more than 40 in Detroit.

Using recent state exam scores as their metric, the office will inform each school by the end of 2016 if their doors will close.

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

 

Michigan school boards are facing a dearth of candidates in the November election. Nearly 1,600 seats will open up in 540 districts across the state. Yet, in the 2014 elections, approximately 70 seats remained empty. Why are people so reluctant to serve on their school boards?

The 2016 M-STEP results come out Tuesday morning
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's school system could get an overhaul. 

Governor Snyder's creating a new team to try to figure out how to make this state's schools more like the top-performing states.

The 25 people who’ll staff the “Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission” haven’t been appointed yet, but they’ve already got a big task: figure out what the best school systems do right, and what’s keeping Michigan from being more like them – and then, by November 30, tell the governor what to change.

Michigan superintendent Brian Whiston
Michigan Department of Education

Across the state, many Michigan schools are struggling to keep pace with national averages. The U.S. as a whole is struggling to keep up with other advanced countries.

It’s a major challenge, and in response, Michigan Superintendent Brian Whiston has announced the Top 10 in 10 Years plan. He aims to make Michigan one of the top 10 states for education within the next decade.

Broken piggy bank
Images Money / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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.

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