Education, schools, and learning

Andrea / Flickr Creative Commons

“Have a great day at school! I love you!”

That might sound like a pretty typical send off from a parent as their kid heads to the school bus. At Lincoln Alternative School, it’s what kids hear when they get off the bus, from their principal.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

After last week's attacks in Paris, President Barack Obama condemned the terrorists and pledged support to France, saying: "We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance the people of France need to respond." You can listen to his full remarks here:

Teachers, you have our sympathy.

The week of Halloween is a difficult time week to keep kids focused on learning. And this week, many teachers told us, there was one extra element making their students act a little crazy: the full moon.


A couple years ago, I was at Congress Elementary school in Grand Rapids. I spent a lot of time there, so I knew the principal Bridget Cheney and the teachers fairly well. At least, I thought I did.

So, one day, it seemed things were a bit off in the building. The kids were just – let’s say squirrelly.

I was talking to Cheney about that. And she said one of the reasons kids were acting weird: a full moon was coming.

I thought it was a joke.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

In Part One of our Connections documentary, we heard from a young mother in poverty who’s struggling to build a network out of nothing. So I thought I’d switch things up for a bit and talk to someone who is a pro at networking. Has one of the best networks around, at least in my circle of friends.

Brittany Bartkowiak / Michigan Radio

Students across Michigan are in their senior year of high school, gearing up for graduation and trying to make plans for what to do next. The popular narrative is that you get your high school diploma, go to college, and then embark on a career in a field related to your degree. 

But it doesn't always work that way. Life after high school now is more complicated than that for a lot of young people in Michigan.

What's the best way for these students to build a future for themselves?


Parents: you’ll find a note soon in your child’s backpack. Or maybe you’ll get a phone call.  A gentle reminder from your child’s teacher that it’s time for parent-teacher conferences.

And, you’ll make the time to sit down some evening to talk. It’s just one of the ways schools and teachers try to keep parents involved in children’s education.

But some parents have a harder time staying involved than others. Not because they don’t want to, or because they don’t care. Often, their work schedule just doesn’t allow it.

Dustin Dwyer

Shortly before 10 a.m., the tall strangers in business suits arrive for their tour.

"Morning," says Denise Brown, who is not a stranger, and not in a suit. She leads this early childhood program at Campus Elementary in Grand Rapids. She's today's tour guide for the tall strangers in suits.

"Wow, I’m overwhelmed with 20 of you," Brown says. 

Two years ago, the state of Michigan made a major new investment in preschool. Since then, state funding to help four year olds attend preschool has more than doubled. About 14,000 more children now have access to preschool.

Many of the tall strangers on this tour were deeply involved in making that investment happen. But they're not done yet. And today's event is, ultimately, about keeping the movement going. 

Papermoons / Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday on The Next Idea, experts joined Cynthia Canty to talk about implementing mindfulness practice in schools. Mindfulness has been known to help both students and teachers deal with stress in the classroom.

Mike Carney / Flickr Creative Commons

With college costs on the rise, more low-income students are questioning whether attending a university is the best direction to go after graduating high school. Does community college make more sense? Is a Job Corps program or the military a better fit? 

flickr user biologycorner

We’ve talked a lot on State of Opportunity about racial achievement gaps - how the average test score for black, Hispanic or Native American kids isn’t as high as the average test score for a white or Asian student.

Now we want to talk about what the real world implications of those gaps might be. We tried to tackle the question by asking: What would the world look like if racial achievement gaps suddenly disappeared?

"There are two possible answers to that question," says Derek Neal, an economist at the University of Chicago. His research is focused on black-white inequality, and he’s studied how test scores play into that.