The trees are starting to look very stark in Michigan these days as autumn digs in. Many “snowbirds” are thinking about escaping to more pleasant climates, including a team of young engineers from rural Stockbridge in Ingham County. Stockbridge High School has a robotics team which for the past three years has traveled to the tropical island of Palau to use their machines to search for lost history.
Education officials in Michigan are crunching the numbers this month, following the statewide student “Count Day” back on October 1. The bi-annual count determines the state’s per pupil funding allocation. Obviously, it’s in every school district’s best interest to turn out as many students as possible on that single day. But teachers and administrators across the state continue to struggle to fund mandatory programs. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of rhetoric on the campaign trail about school funding. But what story does the data show?
From expanding charter schools to implementing high-stakes teacher evaluations, states across the country are testing out new reforms to improve student outcomes. Many of those states are seeing results, but Michigan isn’t one of them. It’s scores on national assessments have flatlined, and in some areas, fallen below the national average.
According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 40-percent of adults with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression received no treatment in the previous year. This comes at an enormous cost to the sufferers and their families, as well as to society at large, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Federal funding for scientific research, in everything from energy to biomedical science, has flatlined in recent years. Some scientists worry that means the U.S. will fall behind other countries in scientific and technological advancements. But it also means an increasing share of the nation’s research is done by industry.
The 3-million member National Education Association has a new president, and she was in East Lansing yesterday. Lily Eskelsen Garcia took office on September 1st. Her trip to East Lansing was devoted to pushing for not only organized labor, but also for making higher education affordable.
Higher education has long been seen as a ticket out of poverty for low-income students. And in today’s competitive work environment, a college degree is more important than ever for securing a place in the middle class. The number of low-income students enrolling at four year schools has grown around 20-percent over the past several decades. But while more of those kids are making it to college, graduating is still a struggle.
The downtown Lansing branch of the Capital Area District Library opened 50 years ago. To celebrate, there’s a 50th birthday event Sunday afternoon at 1:30. You’ll be able to meet with staffers past and present, learn about its architecture, and see what’s been changed over the years if you haven’t been there in a while.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette unveils 'OK2SAY,' a new statewide student safety initiative. It's a 24-hour reporting system that allows people to make anonymous tips that may prevent acts of school violence. It's modeled after a successful program in Colorado.
Public school students in Michigan have been back in class for three weeks now. Some kids have been back even longer. Educators and law enforcement groups are capitalizing on the fresh school year to launch a new statewide safety initiative. It’s called “OK2SAY.”
Dr. Hakan Yildiz is an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business. He's the first guest in Current State’s new Profiles series, a monthly extended interview feature with educators, artists, actors and other cultural figures in our community.
This is usually the time of year where recent college graduates are beginning to settle into their first job after graduation. For many, if they’re lucky, the job is a stepping stone or an entry into a lifelong career. But more recent graduates are now taking a gap year after they graduate college and are getting involved with international volunteer opportunities, a practice also referred to as “voluntourism.”
Stakeholders in the Lansing School District are looking over an interesting and potentially important new study. A national real estate firm, Jones Lang Lasalle, has just submitted an analysis of key buildings in the district. It will be used to determine how to right-size and modernize school facilities in Lansing.
Michigan State University is currently building a 130,000 square foot bioengineering facility. It's scheduled to open in 2015. Scientists across the U.S. are competing harder for tight federal grant funding, particularly from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Bioengineering facility is planned at MSU.
Universities across the U-S are settling into the fall semester. Here in Michigan, a large amount of their research focuses on biomedicine and life sciences. The bulk of federal funding for these pursuits comes from the NIH, the National Institutes of Health. But the NIH has had its budget squeezed in recent years, and times are tough for scientists facing intense competition for dwindling dollars.
In more and more career tracks, from sales to journalism to finance, an internship is required for young and new employees looking to break in. And following this trend, more colleges are now mandating internships as part of their degree requirements. But many of these internships are unpaid, which leaves these workers at the bottom of the pecking order with few workplace protections, including from a boss’s inappropriate advances and unwanted attention.
Today is September 11th, the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America. Observations to honor the victims and first responders are being held in places like Wentworth Park in Lansing, where “Lansing Remembers” started at 8:30 this morning, “Mason Cares” at the fire station on Ash Street from 1 to 7 p-m today, another at the Williamston fire station tonight at 6 p-m, and probably others in your town. While we reflect on what happened that day 13 years ago, we also consider how the effects of the 9-11 attacks linger in the world today. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the beheadings to two American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, bringing to light the danger faced by journalists around the world today.
Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon recently welcomed the 12th Freshman class to East Lansing since taking over the top spot at MSU. In what’s become a late summer ritual, she spent much of the weekend travelling the campus in a golf cart, greeting, assisting and talking with new and returning students and their families.
If Lansing School Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul has her way, students, faculty and staff returning to Eastern High School are in for a year of “seismic change.” Recent test scores put Eastern among the bottom 5% of Michigan schools in reading, writing, math, social studies and science. District leaders fear a state takeover unless scores improve.
Michigan’s charter school authorizers have been in the news a lot recently. They’re the roughly 40 institutions, often colleges, that ensure oversight and accountability at the state’s 300 publicly funded charter schools. About 130,000 young people will attend a charter school in Michigan in the 2014-2015 school year.
Michigan’s charter school operators are coming under closer scrutiny. On Monday, State Schools Superintendent Michael Flanagan released a list of 11 charter school authorizers that he says need to improve oversight of their schools.
It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the Michigan College Access Network, which is a statewide organization dedicated to increasing access to higher education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students in Michigan.
The Lansing School District has a new road map. After several months of opinion and data gathering and more than a dozen public meetings, the nine-member school board recently adopted a new five-year Strategic Plan. The plan includes goals and a framework to reach those goals. Specifically, it lists five broad priority areas.
Michigan education stakeholders met with state officials this week, including Superintendent Michael Flanagan. Discussions included toughening the oversight of the state’s charter schools. On Monday, Flanagan met with charter school authorizers.
Several Michigan charter school authorizers from around the state journeyed to Lansing yesterday. They met with state schools Superintendent Michael Flanagan about more vigorous oversight of the state’s charter schools.
In April, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees approved the appointment of June Pierce Youatt to the position of provost. As provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, she’s in charge of academic initiatives at MSU. She had served as interim provost for more than a year before succeeding Kim Wilcox, who now is chancellor of the University of California-Riverside.
As the importance of China’s influence grows, so does the need for people who understand Chinese culture and the Chinese language. To foster that sort of understanding, universities across the United States, including Michigan State University, have established Confucius Institutes.