education

5th-grade teacher to open for Eddie Money

May 25, 2016

Rock stars like Gene Simmons and Sting used to be teachers, not long before having sold-out concerts across the world. For Crashing Cairo, this serves as a good omen as they prepare to open for Eddie Money at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Friday.

The Michigan pop-rock group's lead singer, Robert Wax, is a fifth-grade teacher at Norwood Elementary in Royal Oak. Drummer David West is a software engineer who also advises future engineers.

Big changes are coming to students in Albion. 
 
Voters have approved Marshall Public Schools' annexing of the struggling Albion School District. 

Marilyn McCormick only expected to stay in Detroit for a year or two before moving to New York to live the “bohemian lifestyle.” Then she got a teaching job at her alma mater, Cass Technical High School. “I was totally enjoying what I was doing…[and] I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing,” McCormick said. Now forty years later, the performing arts teacher will be retiring.

Michigan's K-12 students are among the weakest academically in the U.S., and they're falling even further behind, according to a report released today by Education Trust-Midwest, a Michigan-based non-partisan research education and advocacy organization.

The report predicts that if things don't change, Michigan will rank 48th nationally in fourth grade reading scores by 2030, far from the state's goal of becoming a top ten state in education by that year. 

In the search for a better way to educate our children, many have turned to technology. Virtual schools or blended schools that combine virtual and traditional face-to-face teaching are a national trend. However, according to a study from The National Education Policy Center, these virtual schools – most of which are run by private, for-profit companies, are doing a poor job of educating our kids.

You may have seen the internet meme floating around social media. It says, “Someday us old folks will use cursive writing as a secret code.”

To protect yourself from assault, be aware of your surroundings. That’s what twelve women and girls learned last weekend at a self-defense class at The Rock of Kingsley. 

The class was in direct response to sexual assault statistics.

Instead of being the vehicle to join the middle class that it once was, higher education is now an obstacle that actually prevents access to knowledge and reinforces existing privilege.

The annual Kids Count Report has a gloomy view of the well-being of the state's children.

Kids Count in Michigan is part of a broad national effort to measure the well-being of children at the state and local levels and use that information to shape efforts to improve the lives of children.

The report for 2016 reflects data from 2014.

It says the state's efforts to keep children safe, healthy, and educated are falling short.  From the introduction:

The Detroit Public Schools have a new interim superintendent appointed by state emergency manager Judge Stephen Rhodes.

Alycia Meriweather is now in charge of academics for DPS. Unlike a lot of previous top administrators, she’s actually from Detroit and a DPS graduate. She’s also a long-time Detroit teacher.

DPS has been closing  schools, ending programs, losing students and losing money, a downward trend that has continued under the string of state-appointed emergency managers.

For teachers in Detroit, Meriweather says it’s been an exercise in creativity.

Rick Joseph is the Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2016. Joseph recently wrote a piece for Bridge Magazine that asks, “Who am I to judge Detroit teacher sickouts?”

For weeks, Detroit teachers have been using rolling sickouts to help focus attention on the crushing challenges they face in the classroom, from dilapidated, dirty conditions to huge class sizes.

Today the sickout tactic ballooned to new heights: 88 out of the 100 Detroit public schools had to close. 

The Next Idea

When most people think of university researchers, they think of scientists. They imagine people wearing white coats and plastic goggles, conducting experiments in a lab or making observations in the field, often working with a team of colleagues and students. Eventually, the results of that research might go into producing new computer technologies, performing life-saving medical treatments, or passing informed environmental policy.

Public schools in Detroit are looking at a rough year ahead.

Debt payments for Detroit Public Schools are already the highest of any school district in the state, but things are going to get even more dire next month.

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News' Lansing Bureau tells us that DPS will owe $26 million every month through 2016 to pay back this year’s operating debts, as well as debts carried over from previous years.

David Cassleman

Kids struggle to learn to read in Michigan. Nearly 70 percent of students reach fourth grade without being proficient in reading, according to national standards.

Governor Rick Snyder has said that fixing this problem will be an "overwhelming task." But state Republicans have a solution in mind that includes holding back more third graders.

Teachers call that retention.

Linda Stephan

More eight and nine-year-olds would be held back in school as a result of legislation meant to boost the reading skills of kids before they reach fourth grade. House Bill 4822 passed the state House earlier this month, and largely split the chamber along party lines.

Democrats and other opponents argued that holding back more third-graders would create lasting social problems for kids.

But Republicans supported the bill, like co-sponsor Rep. Lee Chatfield. He is a former high school teacher who represents Emmet, Mackinac and Chippewa counties.

"The fundamental principle of this bill ultimately is that reading is a building block to learning," Chatfield says. "Studies show that children who are not proficient in reading by the fourth grade end up struggling for the rest of their lives in school."


More third graders would be held back under legislation

Oct 19, 2015
Linda Stephan

Kids in Michigan are struggling to read, compared to students in other states. Nearly 70 percent of students are not proficient in reading when they begin fourth grade, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Our state used to boast a pretty strong education system, but just about any measurement given these days suggests that’s no longer true.

Case in point: the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nation’s report card, finds Michigan is in the bottom third of all states in fourth grade reading, fourth grade math and eighth grade math.

Instead of letting the adults decide how to overhaul a school playground, why not go to the consumers?

Why not ask the kids who will be using it?

That’s the idea behind the design and upcoming construction of a new playscape at Ann Arbor’s STEAM at Northside school, and the organizers think what they’ve learned can help other schools.

Morgan Springer

 


Grand Traverse County could be forced to decide whether to spend $1 million to fix Easling Pool in the next year. Financial concerns about the only public pool in the area have sparked debate about whether water safety is the county’s responsibility.

There are plenty of places to swim up north, but until recently school kids didn’t get any water safety training. Now the county might get out of that business.

Beer is big in Michigan. The state is fifth in the nation for its number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs. This growth is creating a demand for workers to brew, serve and market all of that beer.

Schoolcraft College is launching a new brewing program this fall to help turn out those workers.

Rich Weinkauf is the Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Schoolcraft College in Livonia. And he’ll be teaching one of the courses in the new brewing and distillation technology certificate program.

NMC board votes to raise tuition

Jun 23, 2015
Northwestern Michigan College

Students at Northwestern Michigan College will pay more for classes next year. The NMC Board of Trustees voted last night to raise tuition by six percent across the board. 

Two years ago, county voters rejected a millage increase to help fund the college. NMC President Tim Nelson says the college will not be asking for another millage increase.

“Take into consideration the notion that voters are viewing college more as a personal expenditure (and) less of a public expenditure," says Nelson. "We’ve not had good luck in this state with colleges passing additional millage.”

Voters believe providing education for Detroit students is the state's duty, but don't think Governor Snyder's recent proposal is the way to do it, according a recent poll conducted by Public Sector Consultants and Michigan Radio.

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