state of opportunity http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org en Do Michigan's charter school rules need big changes, or just more tweaks? http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/do-michigans-charter-school-rules-need-big-changes-or-just-more-tweaks <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">What will it take to fix Michigan's charter school laws?&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p><p>The rules governing charter schools in Michigan were first put into place a little over two decades ago. Since then, there have been revisions – the biggest of which happened a few years ago when <a href="http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/08/with_cap_lifted_advocates_say.html">the state lifted the cap on the number of charter schools that can open in Michigan</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>But after the Detroit Free Press published <a href="http://www.freep.com/interactive/article/20140622/NEWS06/140507009/State-charter-schools-How-Michigan-spends-1-billion-fails-hold-schools-accountable">a blistering investigation</a> into the state's charter schools, the law may be headed for more revisions.&nbsp;</p><p>And some are starting to make the case for a complete overhaul – not just of charters, but of Michigan's entire education system.&nbsp;</p><p>"Let's start over," says Dan Varner, head of Excellent Schools Detroit, and a member of the state Board of Education. "I think it’s time for a complete reset of the way we deliver public education in Michigan."</p><p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:27:19 +0000 Dustin Dwyer 638 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Do Michigan's charter school rules need big changes, or just more tweaks? Paul Ryan signals change in tone on poverty. Skeptics raise collective eyebrow. http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/paul-ryan-signals-change-tone-poverty-skeptics-raise-collective-eyebrow <p>Paul Ryan is arguably the Republican Party's most amplified voice on poverty. He <a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/ryan-budget-looks-cut-food-stamps-again">talks about it often</a> in his role as chairman of the House Budget Committee and<a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/public-vs-private-who-should-help-poor"> spoke famously on Vice Presidential campaign trail</a>.</p> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:42:20 +0000 Sarah Alvarez 637 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Paul Ryan signals change in tone on poverty. Skeptics raise collective eyebrow. Why even the biggest charter school supporters don't love Michigan's charter school laws http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/why-even-biggest-charter-school-supporters-dont-love-michigans-charter-school-laws <p></p><p><em style="line-height: 1.5;"><span style="font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 1.5;">This text is adapted from a segment of a State of Opportunity radio documentary produced by Lindsey Smith and Dustin Dwyer. To hear the full documentary, click the player above. To read more about how Muskegon Heights schools made history by converting to a charter district, go </span><a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-were-trouble-then-district-made-history-twice" style="font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 1.5;">here</a><span style="font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 1.5;">.&nbsp;</span></em></p><div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</div><div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small; line-height: normal;"><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 1.5;">Let's talk about one statewide trend that’s played a significant role in the events of </span><a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-were-trouble-then-district-made-history-twice" style="font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 1.5;">Muskegon Heights schools</a><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; font-size: 14.44444465637207px; line-height: 1.5;">:&nbsp;private companies that run public charter schools.</span></div><div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;</div><p>A recent <a href="http://www.freep.com/interactive/article/20140622/NEWS06/140507009/State-charter-schools-How-Michigan-spends-1-billion-fails-hold-schools-accountable">Detroit Free Press investigation</a>&nbsp;sparked a statewide conversation about why these management companies don’t have to disclose their finances to their charter school boards. The Freep found numerous examples where that lack of disclosure and oversight led to some shady deals.</p><p><a href="http://nepc.colorado.edu/author/miron-gary-0">Gary&nbsp;Miron</a>&nbsp;from Western Michigan University studies charter schools, and has a reputation as a critic of Michigan’s current charter school laws.&nbsp;</p><p>Miron&nbsp;says that original idea for charter schools was to have small, locally controlled, locally operated schools that would be free to pursue new ways of educating kids.<br /><br />But that didn’t happen in Michigan.</p><p>Today, Michigan has more public charter schools being operated by for-profit companies than any other state in the country.&nbsp;<a href="http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/EMO-profiles-11-12">Miron&nbsp;published a study last year</a>, which found that for-profit companies run 79% of Michigan’s charters, twice the share of the next closest state.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">At least a half-dozen states ban for-profit charter management all together. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:56:47 +0000 Dustin Dwyer & Lindsey Smith & Lucy Perkins 635 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Why even the biggest charter school supporters don't love Michigan's charter school laws Muskegon Heights schools were in trouble. Then the district made history. Twice. http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-heights-schools-were-trouble-then-district-made-history-twice <div style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial; font-size: small; line-height: normal;"><p>There are a lot of school districts in trouble in Michigan.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://michigan.gov/documents/mde/June_5_2014_Quarterly_Report_FINAL_458413_7.docx">Forty-five districts</a> are in a deficit. Five districts are <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,4679,7-121-1751_51556_64472-201116--,00.html">currently subject to state oversight</a> under Michigan's emergency manager law. Two school districts completely ran out of money last year, <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/buena-vista-inkster-school-districts-be-dissolved">and dissolved.&nbsp;</a></p><p>Today, in a State of Opportunity documentary, we bring you the story of how one troubled school district survived.&nbsp;</p><p>Two years ago <a href="http://michiganradio.org/search/google/muskegon%20heights?query=muskegon%20heights&amp;cx=010251366440257945544%3Arsebntx2o0w&amp;cof=FORID%3A11&amp;sitesearch=">Muskegon Heights made history </a>by becoming the first school district in Michigan to convert entirely to a charter district and turn the operation of its schools over to a for-profit company. It had never happened before in Michigan, or, as far as we've been able to determine, anywhere else in America.&nbsp;</p><p>But this spring, Muskegon Heights schools were in trouble again. Just two years into a five-year contract, its management company walked away from the district. And, once again, leaders in the community had to work with the state to find a plan to keep the district's doors open.&nbsp;</p><p>This, ultimately, is the story of how they succeeded, at least for now. And what lessons we might take for the other school districts in Michigan that are facing financial problems.&nbsp;</p></div><p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:20:02 +0000 Dustin Dwyer & Lindsey Smith & Lucy Perkins 634 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Muskegon Heights schools were in trouble. Then the district made history. Twice. Detroit kids go to camp to do things they can't do in the city http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/detroit-kids-go-camp-do-things-they-cant-do-city <p>This week on State of Opportunity, we’re going to summer camp!</p><p>I spent this past Monday with about 100&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">elementary school students at <a href="http://detroitk12.org/content/2014/06/19/free-summer-camp-awaits-dps-students/">Camp Burt Shurly</a>, 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&nbsp;</span>–<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;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 <a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/term/summer-slide">"summer slide"</a> many kids face.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Camp is paid for with Title 1 funds, so it's free for&nbsp;DPS students, many of whom might not be able to afford camp otherwise.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 632 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Detroit kids go to camp to do things they can't do in the city How does Michigan stack up when it comes to child well-being? Are you sure you want to know? http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/how-does-michigan-stack-when-it-comes-child-well-being-are-you-sure-you-want-know <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Annie E. Casey Foundation</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;looks at statistics that should tell us something about how kids are faring across the country and in Michigan.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The foundation looks at things like poverty, teen pregnancy and health insurance coverage to name a few.</span></p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:43:01 +0000 Sarah Alvarez 631 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org How does Michigan stack up when it comes to child well-being? Are you sure you want to know? Getting rid of a juvenile record is now easier in Michigan, but you should still probably read this http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/getting-rid-juvenile-record-now-easier-michigan-you-should-still-probably-read <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Having a juvenile record can </span><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/young-offenders-say-database-marks-them-scarlet-letter" style="line-height: 1.5;">crush the job prospects of a young person</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> exactly the same way having a </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">criminal</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> record does.</span></p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:01:49 +0000 Sarah Alvarez & Lucy Perkins 630 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Getting rid of a juvenile record is now easier in Michigan, but you should still probably read this The Boggs School's message to kids is, 'I'm so glad you're here' http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/boggs-schools-message-kids-im-so-glad-youre-here <p></p><p>Over the last year, Zak Rosen and Andrea Claire&nbsp;Maio have been following students and educators at the James and Grace Lee Boggs School.&nbsp;</p><p>Maio<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;and Rosen have done pieces in the series about&nbsp;</span><a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/order-classroom-new-school-works-craft-meaningful-discipline-policy-works" style="line-height: 1.5;">control in the classroom</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, two young students at the Boggs School who are&nbsp;</span><a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/helping-kids-boggs-school-step-their-best-selves" style="line-height: 1.5;">best friends</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and about making school&nbsp;</span><a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/making-school-more-human" style="line-height: 1.5;">more human</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.&nbsp;</span></p><p>For the series' last piece, Maio focused on the Principal of the Boggs School, Julia Putnam -- a cornerstone of the school.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/100701840" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/100701840">Julia</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/andreaclairemaio">andrea claire maio</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Putnam met Grace Lee Boggs, the school's namesake, when Putnam was 16 years old.</span></p><p> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 15:00:00 +0000 Lucy Perkins 629 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org The Boggs School's message to kids is, 'I'm so glad you're here' Some thoughts on race and speech from Michigan Radio's Jennifer White http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/some-thoughts-race-and-speech-michigan-radios-jennifer-white <p>We've recently dedicated a fair amount of time on State of Opportunity talking about&nbsp;<a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/do-we-judge-people-way-they-speak">voices and bias</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/why-teaching-kindergartners-how-code-switch-could-be-good-thing">code switching</a>, so I thought it'd be cool to check in with&nbsp;<a href="http://michiganradio.org/people/jennifer-white">Jenn&nbsp;Whit</a>e about what it's like to be one of the few minority voices on public radio. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:37:00 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 628 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Teaching students how to switch between Black English and Standard English can help them get ahead http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/teaching-students-how-switch-between-black-english-and-standard-english-can-help-them-get-ahead <p>Last week we did a story about <a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/do-we-judge-people-way-they-speak?nopop=1">whether people judge others based on how they speak</a>. (Spoiler alert: Yep, t<span style="line-height: 1.5;">hey 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 </span>gotta<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> correct every line you say. It's like ... I don't want to talk to you now."</span></p><p>University of Michigan education professor <a href="http://www.soe.umich.edu/people/profile/holly_craig/">Holly Craig </a>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.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Across the country, black students consistently <a href="http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org/post/race-tale-two-gaps-achievement-and-discipline">lag behind</a> their white peers on standardized tests. Experts have been trying to come up with ways to shrink the <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20140708/OPINION05/140707003/Michigan-student-test-scores">achievement gap </a>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.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:00:00 +0000 Jennifer Guerra 627 at http://stateofopportunity.michiganradio.org Teaching students how to switch between Black English and Standard English can help them get ahead