WUOMFM

Jennifer Guerra

Reporter/Producer

Jennifer is a reporter with Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and worked as a producer for WFUV in the Bronx. 

Her stories and documentaries have won numerous regional and national awards, and her work has aired on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace and Studio 360.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan and received her master's in broadcast journalism from Fordham University in New York. When not working on a story, you can find Jen practicing her tap steps and hanging out with her husband and their two hilarious kids.

Ways to Connect

A photo of 10-year old Justice, aka "Batman"
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Week after week for five years, we’ve played the same clip at the start of every State of Opportunity story. You hear three kids telling us what they want to be when they grow up: a firefighter, a ballerina, and a Batman.

We’ve heard from countless listeners, friends, and even colleagues over the years. And they all want to know: where’s Batman now?

So, as my last story for State of Opportunity, I set out to track him down.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Charter schools are public schools, which means they’re supposed to educate any kid that walks in the door.

But a new bill making its way through the Michigan legislature could make it so that charters can give enrollment preference to certain students.

Which ones? Well, the answer might surprise you. 

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

President Donald Trump said he wanted to go after “bad hombres,” but his immigration policies affect more than just those who are here and have committed crimes. Undocumented immigrants with no criminal history are also being deported. That's the case with a Michigan father of four who's been told he has to leave the country by the end of the month. 

Antonio Thomas and Julieaunna Clark are students at Muskegon Heights Academy high school
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Students in Muskegon Heights are very familiar with uncertainty. They’ve been threatened with school closure many times over the past several years—first because of finances, now because of failing test scores. 

Muskegon Heights Academy high school is one of the 38 schools the state School Reform Office says could close by the end of year if some kind of turnaround plan isn’t put in place.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

With award-winning restaurants and lofts going for half-a-million dollars, Detroit's midtown and downtown areas are hot right now. But the view is different out in the neighborhoods.

Rev. Jill Hardt Zundel's church in Detroit provides sanctuary to undocumeted immigrants.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Eight places of worship in Michigan – in metro Detroit and near Kalamazoo – have officially joined a growing number of churches and synagogues across the country that have agreed to house and protect unauthorized immigrants who fear deportation.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The state says 38 schools with persistently low test scores might not have to close by the end of the year. At least, not yet. These schools now have 60 days to come up with a turnaround plan using what the state calls a "partnership" model. We wanted to know a little bit more about what that partnership strategy might entail, so we took a trip to Dearborn to find out. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents making arrest in Dearborn.
U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

Miguel and Angel are brothers and they pretty much disagree on everything: TV shows, music, games, even the way they dress. But that stuff’s all pretty minor compared to the big disagreement they have over where they should go if their mom is deported back to Mexico.

Miguel is 14-years old and a proud mama’s boy. He says he never wants to separate from his mom and will go with her to Mexico even though he’s only visited there once, when he was three.

Big brother Angel, who's 15, says he wants to stay here in the U.S. and finish studying.

A picture of Law Elementary, one of 38 schools in Michigan slated for possible closure.
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

You may have heard that the state is planning to close as many as 38 schools by this summer, the bulk of which are in Detroit. That’s a big deal for a whole lot of families, and so far, the state isn’t giving them much guidance about what to do. So let’s walk through where things stand.

Betsy Devos was confirmed as U.S. Education Secretary on Feb. 7, 2017.
BetsyDeVos.com

Michigan's own Betsy DeVos is now the most powerful education official in the nation. So what does that mean for Michigan? Let's start our story in Detroit, where DeVos played a big role in pushing for more school choice in the district.

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