Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

How many kids are in a typical classroom in Michigan?

That’s a tough question to answer. And believe me, we’ve tried

But a new report from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan gives a clearer picture of class sizes in Michigan’s public schools.

Jozef Jason, 7, reads to his barber
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Most kids will head back to school this week ready to learn. But some will have to spend a good chunk of time re-learning things they forgot over the summer. The dreaded “summer slide” has been linked to persistent achievement gaps between kids from lower-income families and their better-off peers.

building missing windows
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Neighborhoods matter.

A big part of the reason why is that good neighborhoods usually have better schools.


A young girl plucks out notes on the violin
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

No doubt you’ve heard by now about Pokemon Go!. It was all the rage this summer. But we did manage to find a group of kids who put down their smartphones and picked up something much more old school.

Seven weeks ago, Kennedy Craig had never held a violin in her hands, let alone play one. But here she was, seven weeks later, plucking out "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a pint-sized violin. She likes the instrument so much she wants "to get one for Christmas!"

woman in cap and gown
Schlüsselbein2007 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

America's public schools have reached a milestone.

The number of students who identify as minorities outnumbered white students for the first time during the 2014-2015 school year.

child at desk

Question: What do Steve Jobs, Whoopi Goldberg, and Steven Spielberg have in common?

Answer: Dyslexia.

The neurologically based learning disability impacts an estimated one in five Americans. And while people with dyslexia have normal intelligence, they face significant challenges in learning how to read and write. As you might imagine, that can have a big effect on academic outcomes.

Isabelle Acatauassu Alves Almeida / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Working parents are often forced to decide between volunteering in their kid's class or chaperoning a field trip, and going to work.

The bills don't pay themselves. So work often wins, understandably.

And as a working parent, I know it's not an easy choice to make.

But one California lawmaker thinks parents shouldn't have to choose between being involved in their child's education and their paycheck.

U.S. Department of Agriculture's photostream / Flickr Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's 3 p.m.

The school bell rings.

For a lot of kids it's a moment of excitement, signaling the end of the school day.

But for many, the end of the school day means the start of an afternoon without direction, without productive activities, and maybe even without supervision.

For kids and families in need, afterschool programs provide essential services like a safe and supervised environment, enriching activities, healthy snacks and meals, and caring and supportive mentors.

woman in cap and gown
Schlüsselbein2007 / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It was February 2006, almost exactly 10 years ago, when then-governor Jennifer Granholm used her weekly radio address to urge state lawmakers to pass a new set of rigorous high school curriculum requirements.

"We have to increase the skill level of our students," Granholm said. "We have to increase our efforts to give our children, who are our future workforce, the math and science education they need to succeed in the 21st century."

The Legislature acted, and the next school year, the Michigan Merit Curriculum went into effect.

Now, nearly 10 years later, we may finally have an answer on whether it worked. 

Detroit kids to get robots and creative writing too

Jan 20, 2016
826michigan is opening the Detroit Robot Factory - along with a tutoring and creative writing center.

826michigan - a free tutoring and creative writing center for kids - is setting up a new shop.  

The group has already helped thousands of school-aged children in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti write poetry or just get their algebra homework done, and now it hopes to do the same in Detroit. 

"My invention is called the Crazy Boom," Mohamed Conde reads from his short story at 826michigan's writing center in Ann Arbor.

"I can go back to prehistoric times.  Like if I wanted to see George Washington or a dinosaur, I could because of my invention.  My brain is bigger than Albert Einstein's.  Ten times bigger."