Education, schools, and learning

free parking / flickr

 Late last summer I came up almost empty while trying to find out more about how racial differences between students and teachers affect student achievement

In Michigan  about 97% of teachers are white, while more than a quarter of all students are not. We need to understand whether this matters for student achievement, and how it plays out in a classroom more generally.

The school bus drivers in Hartsville, South Carolina used to do two things: pick up kids and drop them off. But now they do a whole lot more and are an integral part of the school community. In this New York Times piece, we learn about how this S.C. district utilizes school bus drivers to help identify students at risk. "As the literal transition guides between home and school life — and the first and last adults with whom children interact before and after school each day — bus drivers can help recognize how children are faring emotionally, respond to behavior problems in thoughtful ways and set a welcoming tone for the day."


If you want to make it in America, the standard advice is, go to college. People who get at least a bachelor's degree are more likely to be employed, they have higher wages on average, and they're more likely to make it out of poverty. 

But the benefit of a college degree may be reaching a plateau. 

Last week, The Hamilton Project (part of the Brookings Institution) held a conference on the future of work. The conference was meant to be about how technology may change employment opportunities in the years to come. But along the way, education came up again and again. 

Renato Genoza

Michigan is on yet another list of dubious distinction. This time, the state has some of the highest rates of school suspensions in the country.  

A recently released report by UCLA's Center for Civil Rights Remedies looks at state and even district-level data to see where kids are most likely to get suspended. It also takes a look at which kids are suspended most often. Michigan doesn't suspend the most kids overall (that's Florida's achievement), but the state does have the fourth-largest gap in the nation between the number of black kids suspended and the number of white kids disciplined in the same way. 

Michigan districts also have among the highest rates of suspension in the entire country.

Brittany Bartkowiak / Michigan Radio

Earlier this week – mid-polar vortex, of course – more than 2,200 people filled Saginaw Valley State University’s stadium to hear transgender activist and Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox talk about her life.

She came to Michigan with an important message for everyone: “Trans lives matter." Then she said, “black trans lives matter,” too. The entire arena exploded with cheers and applause.   

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

It’s a frigid Thursday morning in Jonesville, a small town southwest of Jackson. Bob Drake is trying his best not to make a mistake.

"It has to be exact from what you put on your taxes," Drake explains. 

Drake is a counselor at Jonesville High School. He’s helping a parent, Joy Sutton, fill out her son’s FAFSA.

"Yeah, it’s kind of finicky," Drake continues.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

We've talked a lot about what it's like to be a first generation student at the University of Michigan, and what it's like to be a first generation student at Grand Valley State University. Now let's take a look at what it's like to be one at Michigan State University.

How Michigan is stopping adults from going back to college

Feb 12, 2015
Brock Boland / Flickr

We know that if you want to make a livable wage in Michigan, you’ll need a college degree -- no matter what your age.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Here is a fact you might not know: In the decade between 2003 to 2013, no other state cut its spending on college scholarships as much as Michigan. Only six states had cuts at all. But Michigan cut the most. And it wasn’t even close.

The state-by-state comparison comes from a little-noticed annual report released by the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs.

But the reason behind Michigan’s cut is well-known. 

Plugging Michigan's brain drain with a tax credit

Feb 6, 2015

Every year, thousands of the state's best and brightest collect diplomas from Michigan colleges and universities ... and then leave for Chicago, New York and other cities. However, two lawmakers think tax credits could help keep the brain drain at bay.

State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, says he believes more young people would choose to stay in Michigan if there were a little something extra to sweeten the pot.