Education
7:00 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Detroit kids go to camp to do things they can't do in the city

Detroit students get to practice archery at Camp Burt Shurly.
Credit Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

This week on State of Opportunity, we’re going to summer camp!

I spent this past Monday with about 100 elementary school students at Camp Burt Shurly, a 250-acre campground near Chelsea. The week-long, overnight camp is run by the Detroit Public School district. Each Sunday a new set of campers arrives by bus. There's tons to do here – everything from boating and swimming to arts and crafts, nature hikes and archery. And because the camp is run by a school district, the campers have to take math and English classes, too, to help combat the "summer slide" many kids face.

Camp is paid for with Title 1 funds, so it's free for DPS students, many of whom might not be able to afford camp otherwise. 

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Families & Community
4:43 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

How does Michigan stack up when it comes to child well-being? Are you sure you want to know?

Credit User: Guillermo Ossa / Stockvault

The Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at statistics that should tell us something about how kids are faring across the country and in Michigan.  

The foundation looks at things like poverty, teen pregnancy and health insurance coverage to name a few.

If it seems like these reports are always coming out, well, that's partly true. The sheer number of indicators to analyze means that reports trickle out throughout the year. 

Update: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yesterday, we looked at 2012's statistics for Michigan.

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Infowire
11:01 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Getting rid of a juvenile record is now easier in Michigan, but you should still probably read this

Credit Stanley Forthright / flickr

Having a juvenile record can crush the job prospects of a young person exactly the same way having a criminal record does.

Last year it got easier to set aside a juvenile record in Michigan. Setting aside your record, sometimes called expunging, means it will no longer be public and won’t show up on a background check.

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Education
11:00 am
Fri July 18, 2014

The Boggs School's message to kids is, 'I'm so glad you're here'

Credit Andrea Claire Maio

Over the last year, Zak Rosen and Andrea Claire Maio have been following students and educators at the James and Grace Lee Boggs School. 

Maio and Rosen have done pieces in the series about control in the classroom, two young students at the Boggs School who are best friends, and about making school more human

For the series' last piece, Maio focused on the Principal of the Boggs School, Julia Putnam -- a cornerstone of the school.

Julia from andrea claire maio on Vimeo.

Putnam met Grace Lee Boggs, the school's namesake, when Putnam was 16 years old.

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Opinion
9:37 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Some thoughts on race and speech from Michigan Radio's Jennifer White

We've recently dedicated a fair amount of time on State of Opportunity talking about voices and bias and code switching, so I thought it'd be cool to check in with Jenn White about what it's like to be one of the few minority voices on public radio. Below are a couple excerpts from our chat.

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Education
7:00 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Teaching students how to switch between Black English and Standard English can help them get ahead

Credit user: frankjuarez / flickr

Last week we did a story about whether people judge others based on how they speak. (Spoiler alert: Yep, they do.) One African-American high school student we spoke to said he hated how often teachers corrected him when he spoke. "Every time you try to say something they gotta correct every line you say. It's like ... I don't want to talk to you now."

University of Michigan education professor Holly Craig says that type of "correctional" teaching style is a sure-fire way to turn African American students off from education, and the results play out time and again in standardized test scores for African-American students. 

Across the country, black students consistently lag behind their white peers on standardized tests. Experts have been trying to come up with ways to shrink the achievement gap for decades, but it’s still there. Craig and a team of researchers thinks teaching kids how to code switch at an early age can go a long way reducing the gap. 

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Families & Community
3:38 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Read nice things about Detroit

Downtown Detroit
Credit flickr/sbeebe

Today is a big day in the bankruptcy proceedings for the city of Detroit.

Votes are due from creditors on whether to approve the city's restructuring plan. The Detroit Free Press reports the results of those votes should be made public in about 10 days. 

In the meantime, you can expect plenty of think-pieces reflecting on the anniversary of the bankruptcy filing, and what it all means. 

Aaron Foley, of Gawker Media, officially fired the starting pistol yesterday, with a piece that began: 

Get ready, folks! It's time for another progress report on America's most forlorn and depressed city, now even deeper in the throes of bankruptcy than ever before.

July 18 marks the day Detroit filed for bankruptcy, which means you'll likely be inundated with one-year anniversaries on the topic in the next week. The Freep's going to do it. The News is going to do it. Rumor has it you're going to read about it in The New York Times Sunday magazine this weekend. So we decided to get our analysis out a little early.

Foley's take is worth a read, if for no other reason than that he actually lives in Detroit, which is often not the case with other journalists writing about the city (ahem).

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Education
7:00 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Do we judge people on the way they speak?

Credit user dbphotography / flickr

It’s not hard to find an example of people being judged because of the way they speak.

Take the George Zimmerman trial. The primary witness for the prosecution was a young African American woman named Rachel Jeantel. She was Trayvon Martin’s friend and was on the phone with him the day he died. You can listen to some of her testimony here.

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Families & Community
6:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

A Michigan library lives the "it takes a village" idea

Ypsilanti library branch library manager Joy Cichewicz passes out free lunches to the her young patrons. In this youth section, everybody is always in motion.
Credit Sarah Alvarez / Michigan Radio

“I’m here all day,” eleven year old Charlie told me proudly.

Charlie and dozens of other kids have set up camp in the youth section of the Michigan Avenue branch of the Ypsilanti District Library. The space, a self-contained set of rooms down one flight of stairs just to the right of the main entrance of the library, challenges the idea of a library as a quiet and orderly place.

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2:19 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July from SOO

Lead in text: 
Safe and happy weekend to all of you! If you're in the mood to listen to something over the holiday we'd recommend the series Michigan Radio put together last Independence Day on the experiences of immigrants in the United States. We'll see you on Monday.
In 2004, Koffi Itito fled his home country of Togo, leaving behind his family and life as he knew it."I left to save my life," Itito said.While the West

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