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schools

Mercedes Mejia

Today on Stateside, COVID-19 and the threat to schools as many districts approach the remaining weeks of the school year. Then, a new PBS documentary about Ernest Hemingway highlights how summers in northern Michigan influenced his writing. And, while transcribing letters about Hemingway, students uncover the unfortunate story of Marjorie Bump.

Teacher at a chalkboard
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

From August of 2020 to February of 2021, 749 Michigan teachers retired. That's a 44% increase from the 519 teachers who retired in the same time period during the 2019-2020 school year.

Those who work in education say the COVID-19 pandemic has likely played a role in retirement numbers increasing, but teachers leaving the profession is an issue the state has struggled with for years.

The Michigan State Capitol.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This is the last week before the Legislature is expected to take its spring break.

The Legislature’s Democratic leaders said that recess should not begin without a vote on appropriating another round of federal COVID-19 response funds.

House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township) said that money could help schools pay for COVID safety measures as they’re being asked to offer at least 20 hours a week of in-person learning.

"This money is what public schools need now, that they should have received by today for a safe return to in-person learning," she said. "Not tomorrow, or a week from now. Today."

Elementary and Middle schools in Kent County have been allowed to reduce their distancing requirements from six feet down to three feet.

The Kent County Health Department changed the recommendation in February as a six-week pilot.

The change also affects which students are asked to quarantine after being exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. Under the recommendation in the pilot, only students who were within three feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more will have to quarantine.

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Today on Stateside, Grand Rapids public schools are back in the classroom. The district’s superintendent discusses the return to in-person learning. Also, writer Rochelle Riley tells us about her new book, which features children dressed up as iconic and influential Black Americans. Plus, a look at the history of Black sailors on the Great Lakes.

gretchen whitmer wearing mask at podium
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is strongly encouraging all K-12 schools in Michigan to reopen for some in-person instruction by March 1. The move comes as the state is set to offer the coronavirus vaccine to teachers starting next week.

kyo azuma / Unsplash

Stateside for Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Today on Stateside, we take a look at the troubling rise in COVID-19 cases in Kent County. Also, a conversation about Jackson County’s history as a birthplace for  Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party. Plus, we talk to two election attorneys about the possibility of contested election results after the presidential election.

back view of four kids with colorful back packs in a line of aother children
note thanun / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, after two weeks of political conventions, we’ll get an analysis about how both parties presented their nominee and what takeaways there were for Michigan voters. Plus, Monroe is making some changes to its monument honoring Civil War General George Armstrong Custer. We’ll hear from one of the people who pushed for the city to acknowledge Custer’s role in the displacement and genocide of American Indians.

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

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 14 school-related outbreaks of COVID-19. The MDHHS did not provide the specific locations of the outbreaks, saying that “infectious disease outbreaks are not commonly announced to the media, unless there is broad risk to the general public and all people exposed cannot be notified.”

An outbreak, in this case, is generally considered to mean two or more cases with a common source of exposure. It is unknown how many cases are connected to the 14 outbreaks.

girl at a laptop
Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we hear from one of the attorneys who helped negotiate a groundbreaking $600 million settlement between the state of Michigan and Flint residents impacted by the water crisis. Then, as school starts up in both virtual and in-person formats, advice for how to talk to kids about the uncertain year ahead. And we meet a comedienne and author who dismantles mansplaining and affiliated acts of conversation fail.

Michigan football stadium
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been vocal about her decision to only reopen schools if public health officials agree it is safe.

What are the discussions happening between the Governor and the Republican led legislature regarding schools and education funding? Plus a conversation with former Detroit Institute of Arts and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit employees about systemic racism in art institutions. Also, we spoke with the reporter who wrote about University of Michigan football star Jon Vaughn’s story of survival in “an ecosystem of abuse.”

Children in the hallway of a school
Unsplash

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.

James Colby Hook III, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Today on Stateside, a new ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court will have major implications on how counties collect money on tax foreclosed homes. As back to school season comes into view, how are teachers feeling about returning to work in uncertain times. Plus, how Sundown Towns across Michigan defined systemic racism in housing and neighborhoods.

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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.

money beside art equipment
Victoria М / Adobe Stock

  

Today on Stateside, developments in the cases surrounding the death of 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks at a youth facility in Kalamazoo. Also, how systemic racism impacts the mental health of Black Americans. Plus, Michigan is challenging how the U.S Department of Education is allocating coronavirus relief money.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, recent developments with Enbridge’s Line 5 have lead Attorney General Dana Nessel to ask for a temporarily halt of operations. Tribes who live and work around the Great Lakes have had an eye on this for years.  Also, Michigan’s legislators have announced funding plans for reopening K-12 schools. What will that look like? Plus, what to expect when you’re expecting to travel this summer.

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. 

Teacher standing in front of a classroom of children.
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Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer says schools should prepare for in-person instruction this fall. We’ll talk about what those plans could look like, even as the governor cautioned that things may change. We’ll also hear teenagers from Michigan Radio's newest podcast, Kids These Days, about how they are thinking and talking about race with their families. Plus, a Michigan musician and producer talks about a new song simmered in the same elements that have brought so many Americans to protest in the streets in recent weeks.

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that Michigan schools may reopen under Phase 4 of the state's Safe Start Plan. 

The governor says she is optimistic schools will be able to reopen in the fall, with proper safety measures.

“Our students and educators have made incredible sacrifices these past few months to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” said Whitmer in a statement. "Schools must make sure to enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families."

Back of a school bus
Pixabay

Oakland County is bringing some new employees on board for when schools re-open this fall—nurses.

The Oakland Together School Nurse Initiative calls for hiring 68 nurses. Each nurse would be assigned a school district to work with through December.

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Today on Stateside, thousands have evacuated Midland County after dam failures led to an emergency. We check in with a hydrologist about what causes dam failure. Also, the superintendent of the West Bloomfield Public School District discusses why waiting for state guidance about this fall is not an option. Plus, a Michigan business’s quick pivot from hotel to front-line food provider during the COVID-19 pandemic.

no gun sign on glass door
Bumble Dee / Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, plant managers are making plans to restart some of the biggest manufacturing operations in the state. We talk to Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes about what has to happen first. Plus, a protest on reopening the economy gives way to a discussion about guns at the state Capitol—and the politics around who is allowed to carry them.

An empty lecture hall
Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we’ll talk to a graduating high school senior about what’s on her mind as she prepares for a freshman year at college that looks very different than what she expected. Plus, we’ll hear from author Michael Zadoorian about his new novel and the death of the book tour. 

a ventilator
Adobe Stock Images

Today on Stateside, we take a look at the toll the coronavirus pandemic is having on farmers and farm markets. Plus, we hear from the team at Planet Money about the economics of ventilator production in America.

A blackboard sign that says "we thank the community for all the support and business #why didn't you stay in mexico"
Courtesy of Adrian Iraola

Normally, a video of a school board meeting would not be viral content. But a short exchange from a meeting in Saline this week has captured the world’s attention and sparked a conversation about the racism students of colors face in school.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Education is getting an “incomplete” on its assignment to assign a letter grade to every Michigan school.

The state Department of Education will miss a September first deadline to provide "A to F" grades on Michigan schools.

The law requiring the new accountability system was passed during last year’s lame duck legislative session. But education department officials have struggled to compile all of the necessary data to meet the legislative timetable.

Multi-colored books.
Kimberly Farmer / Unsplash

A new report maps out which neighboring Michigan school districts are the most segregated by race, poverty, and revenue. It comes 45 years after the U.S. Supreme Court told white families in Michigan (and by extension, the nation) if they wanted to avoid mandatory school integration, all they had to do was move to a whiter district.

“As if quarantining students of color, we have forced them into racially dense and underfunded systems, and then built walls around them,” reads the report from EdBuild, an activist group aimed at disrupting “the status quo of illogical and inequitable school funding.”

School’s out for summer, as Alice Cooper once sang. But in Flint that summer vacation is about to get a lot shorter. The city’s public schools are switching to a balanced school calendar that will start on August 7. Those lost summer vacation days will be converted into shorter breaks throughout the year.

The goal is to reduce so-called summer brain drain. But does it work?

snowy owl in flight
Chris Neri

Today on Stateside, we talk about Michigan's third-grade reading law, which starting next year will require schools to hold back third graders who aren't reading at grade level. Plus, we talk about the Broadway hit "Hamilton" as it makes its Detroit debut tonight.

Judge's gavel with books
Pixabay.com

Today on Stateside, a federal judge in Detroit has ordered the government to release more than 100 Iraqi nationals, many of them Chaldean Christians. They were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement nearly a year-and-a-half ago. We get reaction from a leader in Michigan's Chaldean-American community. Plus, religious communities have a long history of offering support and asylum to refugees, but that seems to be changing among some white Christians. 

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

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