Education

Evaluating teacher effectiveness in Michigan

Aug 27, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

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.

Kitchen Chemistry, Part 1

Aug 26, 2013

This is the first in a series of articles on kitchen activities for kids.

The easiest way to introduce science concepts to children is to answer their questions with “let’s find out” instead of giving them the information they are seeking. Children are naturally curious, with lots of questions about what is happening in the world around them.

Most home kitchens hold the tools to dozens of fun experiments to expand the imagination of the children in your life. Here are three fun experiments to try at home!

Vinegar Volcanoes

The Purpose of Play

Aug 13, 2013

Childhood educator Maria Montessori said, “Play is a child’s work,” basing her entire philosophy about preschool education and caring for children around this concept.

In today’s world of full-day Kindergarten, and increased academic expectations for children, parents may wonder, is play still as relevant and important as it once was?

The Case for Play

Helping Children through Grief and Loss

Jul 29, 2013

During times of grief and loss it is hard to understand what feelings and thoughts children may experience.  If the loss is significant it may be hard for adults to focus specifically on children because they are trying to cope with their own emotions.

Support growing for strengthening preschool education

Jul 16, 2013
Wikimedia commons

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.

Matching and Sorting!

Jul 9, 2013

Adults “match and sort” every time we do laundry. Children start learning this process during infancy, when they begin to notice which sounds they make bring an adult running to them (sounds that aren’t so effective).

The Purpose of Play

Jun 20, 2013

Childhood educator Maria Montessori said, “Play is a child’s work,” basing her entire philosophy about preschool education and caring for children around this concept.

Flickr

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.

Flickr

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.”

WKAR File Photo

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.

Courtesy of Michigan Governor Rick Snyer

Today is the final day of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference.  Michigan education and the economy have dominated the sessions.  

From the island, Gov. Rick Snyder shares his thoughts on the issues discussed at the annual gathering.

Flickr

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.

Michigan developing new model for teaching evaluation

May 28, 2013
Courtsey of Wikimedia commons

Michigan educators and administrators will soon learn more about how their job performances may be evaluated in the future.

Next month, the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness (MCEE) will announce recommendations toward developing a model for “fair and effective” teacher evaluation.

Republican State Senator Phil Pavlov, Chairman of the Senate Education committee and Amber Arellano, Executive Director of the Education Trust Midwest, discuss the commission’s work.

Flickr/Creative Commons

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.

Lansing charter school faces possible closure

May 9, 2013

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.

Flicker

  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.

Kids' Club Member Event! April 19, Fenner Nature Center

Choosing a Quality Preschool Program for Your Child

Apr 1, 2013

This is the fourth in a series of articles on family and education-related issues written by MSU Extension. Today we hear from Carrie Shrier.

Rwandan artist working to build creative economy

Mar 27, 2013

Rwandan based artist Emmanuel Nkuranga moved to Rwanda from Uganda in 1997 at the age of 10. Although he moved after the 1994 genocide, Rwanda was and is a country in transition. Emmanuel’s mission is to help Rwanda continue to heal and grow through art. 

Lansing teachers' union on new contract

Mar 25, 2013
WKAR file phote

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.  

Current State #50 | March 22, 2013

Mar 22, 2013

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.

You may have noticed the new "Family" tab on our web page. We are looking to increase the content we have here on WKAR that is related to families and education.

File photo/WKAR

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.

Literacy Coalition Event Draws Fans

Mar 18, 2013
w.r.richards / WKAR

Combine Curious George, Clifford, storytelling, a stage show and lots of opportunities to pick up information about childhood literacy. These ingredients made the Early Childhood Literacy Event a hit with mid-Michigan families. The event was held Sunday, March 17, at East Lansing's Hannah Community Center.

WKAR was on hand for the well-attended event. Beany Tomber, WKAR's education services coordinator said "People loved the performances, the storytellers, the characters and all the activities. They thought it was an awesome event for families!"

PBS Kids Math Learning Tools -- It All Adds Up!

Mar 11, 2013

“It All Adds Up,” is an effort to help WKAR-area families build kids’ math skills. Through this effort, WKAR aims to boost math learning at home – and everywhere – by providing PBS KIDS resources for parents.

“It All Adds Up” is an awareness effort designed to expand the impact of Ready To Learn, a cooperative initiative between CPB and PBS, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, to support the development of early math and literacy skills in children ages 2-8 from low-income families.

Survey Results

Current State #40 | March 8, 2013

Mar 8, 2013

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. 

A debate on the merits of 'Common Core' education

Mar 8, 2013

Since 2010, Michigan and most other states have been moving toward what are called "Common Core" state standards.  It’s a movement that aims to create consistent learning goals for school kids across the United States.  

Current State #38 | March 6, 2013

Mar 6, 2013

Today on Current State: The latest setback to the Lansing casino deal; Michigan ACLU on "Right to Work" lawsuit; the "Michigan 2020"  plan; Neighbors in Action featuring All Saints Episcopal Church; folk legend Janis Ian; and MSU students and staff in Beijing. 

1pm-3:30pm Sunday, March 17  - East Lansing Hannah Community Center |  Meet Curious George and Clifford in person at the annual Early Childhood Literacy Coalition Event.

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