teachers | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

teachers

An education funding bill passes in the House.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we dive into a Republican effort to tighten up election laws in Michigan. Plus, the Michigan classrooms where teachers come, teachers go, and students miss out. And we check in with a grocer about what it’s been like for him and the store during the pandemic.

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.

person receives COVID vaccine shot
Adobe Stock

A new survey shows Michigan teachers are ready and willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 22,000 educators responded to a recent survey from the Michigan Education Association.

The survey found that nearly 90 percent of teachers want to get the vaccine.

creative commons

Last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said that she wants all schools to offer at least some in-person learning by March 1. At the same time, she opened up eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations to K-12 teachers, among other “frontline essential workers.”

Michigan Radio spoke with a number of teachers, all of whom said that they—and most of their colleagues—are eager to return to the classroom. But most want to get vaccinated first, and worry about whether educators will be able to get the necessary two doses before that happens.


Green Chameleon / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we look back at the pandemic year in K-12 education. We check in with the superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools about hopes to return to classrooms in 2021 and what else the new year may bring. Also, we talk to two experts about what educational divides that widened during the pandemic. Plus, we’ve gathered voices of teachers who share their first-hand experiences teaching this year.

books with mask
Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced this week that teachers and support staff who worked through the pandemic will be eligible for state grants.

The state’s budget set aside $53 million for teachers and $20 million for support staff to receive payments recognizing their work in the spring.

A young Black child with curly hair writes in a notebook while sitting in the grass
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, we talk to a Michigan Teacher of the Year about how he creates an inclusive learning environment for LGBTQ students in his classroom. We also talk about how educators can challenge white supremacy and advance racial justice within schools. And we'll hear about a project that aims to tell a more complex, nuanced story of Native American communities in Michigan by hiring Indigenous reporters. 

A white sporty car at the Detroit Auto show
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Cornelius Fredrick died after being pinned down by staff members at the residential youth facility where he lived. A Michigan Radio investigation found that there were plenty of warning signs about the facility—and the private company that ran it—in the years leading up to the 16-year-old's death. Plus, the Detroit auto show is being pushed back until the fall of 2021. We'll talk about what that means for the city's economy. 

Courtesy of Owen Bondono

Owen Bondono, Michigan’s newly named Teacher of the Year and a ninth-grade English language arts teacher at Oak Park Freshman Institute, works to create a classroom community in which students feel comfortable sharing their experiences and ideas with eachother. But as a fall semester unlike any other approaches, and some schools lean toward virtual learning to limit the spread of COVID-19, Bondono is having to rethink the way he conducts meaningful class conversations with his students.

a photo of "Beach Finds II" which is a light blue box filled with vials laid out in front
Courtesy of Geo Rutherford

Today on Stateside, we'll talk about the biggest races and issues on the August 4 primary ballot. Plus, a conversation with the Michigan Teacher of the Year about the return to school and what it means for his students to have a transgender adult to look up to in their lives.

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.

Voncile Campbell in green striped shirt smiling
Warren E. Bow School / Facebook

Thousands of Michigan students have been cut adrift from their school communities as the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered school buildings. Their academic paths suddenly depend on their family’s ability to obtain electronic devices or pay for internet service. But teachers are working to find new ways to stay connected with their students—like virtual bedtime stories. 

washed away dunes and a deck perched on the edge
Courtesy of Jim Davlin

Today on Stateside, Great Lakes water levels are at record or near-record highs, leading to dramatic shoreline erosion and threatening lakeshore properties. Plus, the Detroit origins of the spiral cut ham, a holiday dinner staple. 

Kevin Wong / Flickr

The second largest teachers' union in the state has filed an unfair labor practice charge against Utica Community Schools this week. The Utica Education Association states that they have lost $65 million in wages since 2011.

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

“Here’s the question that even I have difficulty with: are you having thoughts of suicide?” Frank King told a crowded room in Lansing on Tuesday. An estimated 500 students, school counselors, and other educators came in from across the state for a Student Mental Health Summit, where the focus ranged from social media to the impact of putting therapists in schools. 

Nicole Honeywell for Unsplash.com

One year into a state turnaround program, some of Michigan's lowest-performing schools are showing improvement.

a group of students raising their hands
Nicole Honeywill / Unsplash

 


Today on Stateside, the state budget needs to be approved by Governor Gretchen Whitmer tonight to avoid a partial government shutdown. But the governor has been vocal about her displeasure with the bills sent to her by the state Legislature. So what are her options? Plus, how can Michigan do more to recruit and retain a diverse teaching staff? 

A black woman teacher stands at a white board in front of a group of young children
Adobe Stock

There’s a distinct lack of diversity among Michigan’s educators. In districts across the state, just 6% of public school teachers are black. To fix that, you'll need more black students choosing to pursue education degrees in college. So, what is keeping them from doing so? And how can we change that?    

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

 

The school year is quickly approaching. But just one more month of summer may not be enough time for Sunset Lake Elementary School in Vicksburg. Thirty teachers at the school released a statement this week in which they said they cannot “in good conscience” return to school this September without making parents and the public aware of the various health issues the staff has suffered over the past year. They believe these health issues are the result of what they describe as poor air quality in the school building. 

a classroom of empty colorful chairs
Flickr user Frank Juarez / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Teachers from a closing Detroit charter school are relieved to find out they will be paid, after being told there wasn’t enough money for their final paychecks.  

Hamilton Academy is run by Education Partnerships Incorporated, a charter school company that took it over from Detroit Public Schools because of the school’s low performance.

classroom
M Space / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

In the past decade, American education has gone through some major changes. Parents are sometimes shocked by how different schools look from when they were there, and that can lead to friction between parents and teachers.

 

Stateside’s education commentator Matinga Ragatz joins us to discuss how to bridge the gap in understanding between parents and teachers.

child coloring with crayons
Unsplash / Aaron Burden

Today on Stateside, we hear from Kalamazoo’s city manager about the response to protests over homelessness in the city. Plus, parents aren’t the only ones with long lists of school supplies to buy before the year starts—teachers are spending their own money on classroom essentials, too.

City manager addresses protests over homelessness in Kalamazoo

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.

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.

Blue lockers
Flickr user C.C. Chapman

As we debate solutions for gun violence in our schools, teachers and administrators continue to prepare for active shooter situations by holding lockdown drills.

Jasper Nance / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

This week alone, four people were shot and killed by one gunman in Detroit. There was an apparent murder-suicide in Southfield. A Grand Rapids man was killed after being shot ten times. And today, two people were shot and killed at Central Michigan University.

Government leaders in Washington and in Lansing are trying to come up with ways to prevent mass shootings. The main focus is on shootings at schools, such as the one last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Courtesy of Matinga Ragatz

Students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School today in Florida – their first time back after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting two weeks ago.

The Parkland shooting has seemed to galvanize students, citizens, corporations, and politicians into action. Most everyone agrees something must be done to make our schools safer.

A win for teachers, but not for Democrats

Dec 21, 2017
moare / MorgueFile

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that the state has to refund more than half a billion dollars improperly taken from the state’s teachers.

That has to be an extremely welcome holiday present for Michigan’s beleaguered teachers, who for years have felt under siege from politicians who have weakened their unions, their pensions, and made them pay more for health care.

This should also be a political gift to the Democrats, who have in recent years become the party of choice for the state’s teachers, especially since Republicans in the legislature often seem to have declared war on teachers as a class.

Judge's gavel with books on a desk
Pixabay.com

The Michigan Supreme Court says the state must return more than $550 million to school employees who had money deducted for retiree health care.

Courtesy of Dr. Curtis L. Lewis

The Next Idea 

The teaching profession in America remains largely white and female. That means young African American males can go through school without ever seeing a teacher who looks like them.

Not only can this mean a lack of black role models, but it also means teaching doesn’t get held up as a profession that’s desirable for black men to pursue.

Pages