With just a few days left in the 2013 legislative session, the Michigan House is working its way through a cluster of controversial proposals. One package of bills calls for significant education reforms, including a plan to hold back Michigan third graders who aren’t reading at that level. Another would impose a letter grading system on school districts statewide. Another addresses the regulation of so-called “issue ads.”
Tens of millions of American adults have not graduated from high school. Every year, thousands of these non-graduates take “general educational development” tests – the GED – to be considered proficient at the level of a graduate.
Every 10 years the GED test is updated to meet with current educational standards. Time is running out for individuals planning to earn their GED before the new test is put into place this January.
The Michigan House Education Committee is looking over a controversial proposal that could hold back thousands of the state’s young learners. A measure introduced last week would require third-graders to repeat that year if they did not score “proficient” on the MEAP standardized test.
Today on Current State: count day for public schools; Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps; Voices of Experience with Frank Kelley, Part II; and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra's second MasterWorks concert.
School districts across the state of Michigan are doing their arithmetic this week. Yesterday was the bi-annual “Count Day”. Districts count the number of students attending school each February and October in order to determine their share of per-pupil state funding.
It was great to see so many fans and families at WKAR PBS Kids Day this past Sunday when Daniel Tiger, Martha the Dog and Curious George visited the Capital Area District Library for a free day of activities.
Today on Current State: August's biggest's stories in review; Chicago-based "Wavelength" trains Lansing teachers using humor; 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice; Michigan railroads; and a film commentary on End of the World films.
In two weeks, Michigan legislators will begin hearings on how to improve teacher evaluations in the state. They’ll consider a new plan submitted recently by the Michigan Council on Educator Effectiveness. That's an independent body created by Governor Rick Snyder and the legislature two years ago after the passage of teacher tenure reform in Michigan.
Governor Rick Snyder recently excited bipartisan backers of stronger early childhood education with his approval of a new state budget. The budget seeks to increase early childhood funding for next year by $65 million.
Tanya Wright, assistant professor of education at Michigan State University and Kelly Mix, an MSU early childhood learning specialist, discuss what's needed to educate young children in the state.
Last week, Bridge Magazine highlighted a study conducted by The Education Trust, a Washington D.C.-based education research and policy group, showing Michigan had one of the worst rates in the country for enrollment in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes among low income and minority students. Enrollment in these higher level classes during high school greatly increases a student’s chances for success in college.
Former state schools superintendent Tom Watkins says some of Michigan's 800 school districts would lose $10,000 for each dropout or transfer student. Still, those school districts haven't taken subsequent actions to minimize the revenue loss.
The number of Michigan school districts facing serious financial challenges continues to grow. On Thursday, state schools Superintendent Mike Flanagan reported there are 55 districts across the state operating in the red. That’s up by six since the start of the year.
Flanagan updates the state legislature quarterly on school finances. He commented that the situation requires “more resources.”
Bills to change graduation requirements for Michigan’s high school students have cleared the state House.
Critics of the Michigan Merit Curriculum say it doesn’t offer students enough flexibility.
The bills would loosen math, foreign language, and physical education requirements. Supporters say they would also make it easier for students to design graduation plans tailored to their individual goals.
Bill sponsor Ed McBroom says the changes would promote careers in high-demand skilled trades.
The Michigan economy and education are at the heart of discussions at this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference. Current State's host Mark Bashore caught up with one key participant -- the president of the State Board of Education, John Austin.
A key piece of the 2014 Michigan budget moved forward yesterday. The Republican-held majority of the state Senate passed a spending plan covering Michigan's public schools, community colleges and universities.
A few thousand supporters of early childhood education are gathering at the State Capitol today.
Participants in the annual "Star Power" rally will encourage state lawmakers to approve a proposed $130 million increase to the state budget for families-in-need who want to participate in Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program. Currently, the program can afford assistance for only about half of those eligible statewide.
Administrators, staff and students of one of Lansing’s newest charter schools got some bad news yesterday. The Learn, Live, Lead Academy, launched by local banking executive and former Lansing Community College President Paula Cunningham, was told its contract was being revoked. “L3,” as it’s called, is nearing the end of its first year of operations.
Recently, the Lansing school district announced that it will cut as many as 87 teachers in an effort to address the district’s budget deficit. Many of the teachers expected to be laid off are certified to teach art, music and physical education to elementary school students. The district says it's not eliminating its arts and physical education programs, but “redesigning” them, using existing teachers and outside programming as a substitute.
Last Thursday, the Lansing School District and the city teachers’ union reached a new five-year contract agreement. The deal cuts 87 full-time equivalent positions in art, music and physical education classes. On Friday we spoke with school board president Guillermo Lopez. He assured us that those particular curricula would continue in Lansing schools, but that the method of providing that instruction is going to be restructured. After Mr. Lopez’s interview aired, Current State’s Kevin Lavery caught up with Patti Seidl, the president of the Lansing Schools Education Association, to hear the union’s perspective on the deal.
Today on Current State: contracts for Lansing teachers; a look at the new Financial Empowerment Center; East Lansing high school's theater fundraiser; Michigan's 20-20 plan and reform options; sports check-in; Lansing's historic Albert Kahn building.
Democratic State Representative Sam Singh of East Lansing sits on the House appropriations committee and education appropriation subcommittees. We welcome the first-termer back to Current State to get his thoughts on what’s happening at the state capitol, including a last-minute bill that would make major cuts to universities that do not meet the new union contract rules.
Today on Current State: Gay marriage in Michigan; a debate on the merits of "Common Core" education; MSU men's basketball with the Detroit Free Press' Joe Rexrode; the new realities of the publishing world; Ann Arbor teen named to inagural Carnegie Hall youth orchestra; MSU hockey playoffs; Interlochen Radio at Elderly Instruments this weekend.