STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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Charter schools, college sports and juvenile lifers: Here's what to watch for this week

Jeff Stvan

Let's start with some things you may have missed late last week:

The O'Bannon decision: Otherwise known as the case that could change college sports and higher education forever, this case is all about how much control college athletes should have over moneymaking enterprises that swirl around them.

A federal judge just ruled universities can no longer make money from athletes' likenesses (on jerseys and video games, for example) without passing along some of that money in the form of trust funds for the athletes post-graduation. The NCAA is going to appeal the decision

Even if you don't care much about college sports, this decision and other recent concessions by the NCAA will have ripple effects across higher education. 

Now, moving on to things you could spend some time thinking about in the next few days:

Charter school heat: The state superintendent's office just put 11 charter school authorizers (the folks who approve charters) on notice.

The 11 authorizers are at risk of losing their ability to grant new charters unless they can prove to the state they are actually overseeing the schools they've pushed though the system, and that these charters are accountable.  The authorizers have until late October to get it together.

Here's the list of authorizers:

  • Detroit Public Schools
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Education Achievement Authority
  • Ferris State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Highland Park Schools
  • Kellogg Community College
  • Lake Superior State University
  • Macomb Intermediate School District
  • Muskegon Heights Public Schools
  • Northern Michigan University

This  news comes on the heels of more state education folks, this time the state Board of Education, holding charters to account. Jake Neher reports for Michigan Radio that the board will make recommendations  to state lawmakers this week for dealing with charter schools that fall short of expectations. 
Board president John Austin says the board isn't going to recommend a ban on for-profit charter operators, but that they will recommend that the state's charter law be updated. 

(Did you miss that great post by Dustin Dwyer and Lindsey Smith on how exactly Michigan ended up with the charter system we've got now, one that makes very few happy?  Here it is). 

Life without parole for juveniles: We've written about howMichigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is fightingthe recent United States Supreme Court decision that says juveniles can't be sentenced to life without parole.

Michigan's "juvenile lifers," as they've been called, are still in legal limbo. Now, documentary project POV brings a documentary called 15 to Life, focused on the issues surrounding life without parole for juveniles. It's available free online until Sept. 3.