Stateside: Whitmer’s budget options; teacher of color shortage; the controversial zipper merge

Sep 30, 2019

 


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? 

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


To veto or not to veto: Gov. Whitmer’s plan on eve of budget deadline remains a mystery

  • This is the last day of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Governor Whitmer has until midnight tonight to sign the budgets for the 2019-2020 FY. But she calls the $59.9 billion dollar budget sent by the GOP-controlled legislature "a mess." Bridge Magazine's Jonathon Oosting and Michigan Radio's Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta join us to talk about the governor's options and the politics of this budget.


What districts and universities are doing to boost the number of teachers of color in Michigan schools

  • In districts across the state, there is a distinct lack of diversity among teacher ranks. Just 6% of all Michigan public school teachers are black. We talk about why this is happening and strategies districts can use to recruit and retain a more diverse staff with Regina Fails Nelson, professor and chair of the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Education Studies at Western Michigan University. We also hear from Sheila Dorsey-Smith, who is the assistant superintendent of Human Resources for Kalamazoo Public Schools. KPS has more than double the percentage of black teachers than the state average, and is working to increase that number by recruiting from within the Kalamazoo community.


Detroit replaced all drinking fountains to avoid exposing students to lead. Can other districts do the same? 

  • Lead and copper exposure poses a significant health risk to children’s developing brains and nervous systems. Governor Whitmer asked lawmakers in her budget proposal for $60 million to replace old drinking fountains with new “hydration stations” in 33,000 aging school buildings across the state. Meanwhile, Detroit public schools have already installed filtered hydration stations in all of their district schools.
  • Nikolai Vitti is the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District. He breaks down the impetus for the decision to replace the drinking fountains, and how he would advise other districts to move forward if lawmakers won't fund drinking fountain replacements with public money.


Love it or hate it, the zipper merge is the most efficient way to deal with traffic back-ups

  • There's a conundrum Michigan drivers face with all the construction around the state: how and when to merge on the highway. It seems like everyone's got their own style, which can cause frustration on the road. Lieutenant Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police gives us a refresher on basic traffic rules so drivers stay safe in our construction-saturated state. 

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