University of Detroit Jesuit, Detroit, Michigan
Orchard Lake St. Mary's Preparatory, Orchard Lake, Michigan
Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Novi, Michigan
Brother Rice High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Birmingham Public Schools, Birmingham, Michigan
Westwood Community School District, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Michigan
The Roeper School, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Academy of the Sacred Heart, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Mercy High School, Farmington Hills, Michigan
Notre Dame Preparatory, Pontiac, Michigan
Regina High School, Warren, Michigan
Lincoln Consolidated Schools, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Grosse Pointe Public School System, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Oakland Accelerated College Experience, Oakland County, Michigan
Oakland Opportunity Academy, Oakland County, Michigan
Oakland Schools Technical Campuses, Oakland County, Michigan
Virtual Learning Academy Consortium, Michigan
Bloomfield Hills Schools, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Comprehensive education at its finest.
Everest Collegiate High School and Academy. Clarkston, Michigan. An Authentic Catholic School of Distinction.
Oakland Christian School, Auburn Hills, Michigan. Oakland Christian School engages students in a rigorous and relevant education
Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Academic foundation for success.
Utica Community Schools, Image the Potential.
Lake Orion Community Schools, Lake Orion, Michigan. Providing an exemplary education for all learners
Shrine Catholic Schools, Royal Oak, Michigan. Faith. Family. Future.
Berkley School District, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Michigan. Engage. Inspire. Achieve.
AIM High School, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Aim High is a 6th-12th grade, tuition-based private school that provides an educational alternative
Parkway Christian School, Sterling Heights, Michigan. Challenging Minds. Capturing Hearts. Cultivating Gifts.
Franklin Road Christian School, Novi, Michigan. a K-12, coeducational, college-preparatory school with a nondenominational Christian philosophy.
Southfield Christian, Southfield, Michigan. Pursuing Excellence for the Glory of God.
Plymouth Christian, Canton, Michigan. A non-denominational, college preparatory Christian school

School boosters cancel raffle that included AR-15 as prize in South Lyon

A "Wild Game" charity dinner to raise money for a high school football team in western Oakland County has been cancelled after community backlash over a raffle whose prizes included an AR-15 rifle — the same semi-automatic weapon that was used to kill 17 people at a Florida school this past week. "Due to the recent tragic events earlier this week, the South Lyon Football Booster Organization has decided to cancel their second annual Wild Game Dinner. The sensitivity of the issue coupled with the untimely tragedy has led to the decision," a statement posted on the team's website said.  The statement, written by the South Lyon Football Boosters, explained that the area has "an abundance of hunters and sportsmen," the event was attempting to take these interests into account. (Detroit Free Press)

Related stories:

> Deadline Detroit: Wrong Prize: Football Team Cancels Fundraiser with Raffle for AR-15 Rifle

> Detroit News: After Fla. school shooting, South Lyon boosters cancel AR-15 raffle

 

Michigan K12 boost contingent on cutting state aid in other areas

Gov. Rick Snyder's bid to boost base K-12 funding by the largest amount in years is contingent on Republican lawmakers agreeing to cut state aid in two areas they favor: cyber charter schools and the use of public funds to teach private or homeschool students. Spending on online charter schools and shared-time instruction has grown rapidly in recent years. Snyder said more than a quarter of the money —$93 million — should be reinvested in the per-student foundation grant that goes to all K-12 districts and charter schools statewide. Without the GOP-led Legislature backing the proposals, it will be difficult to raise per-pupil aid by between $120 and $240 — which would be the biggest hike to the minimum since the 2001-02 fiscal year, benefiting 84 percent of districts, including all traditional charters. (US News)

 

Republican state board member says A-F school letter grades would hurt poor students, but lawmakers aren’t convinced

A representative of the state board of education spoke strongly against a House bill to evaluate school performance with an A-F report card, but charter supporters argued it was the best way to hold schools accountable. In the second day of House testimony for the proposal, Tom McMillin, a Republican on the board who represents Oakland Township, strongly expressed his dismay. “I can tell you which ones will be tagged D and F,” he said, pointing to a graph of the poorest schools. “The ones down here.” (Chalkbeat)

 

After Amazon, Michigan needs more students educated beyond high school

Opinion: Michigan is at a crossroads, and Detroit’s failed Amazon bid should serve as a wake-up call. The message from Amazon to Michigan was clear — our state needs to prioritize talent. Even more sobering? Detroit and Grand Rapids didn’t even make the short list of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters. The need to increase postsecondary attainment in Michigan — meaning increasing the number of residents who hold degrees or certificates— has never been clearer. The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has been working to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates. (Bridge)

 

Students, parents: Racism prevalent at this Michigan school

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It was standing room only at the Forest Hills school board meeting Monday night. Dozens of parents, students and others wanted to voice their concerns after they say a student portrayed blackface earlier this month at Forest Hills Northern High School. More than 200 people attended the meeting, including members of the NAACP. And for more than two hours, students, parents and community members shared their experiences at Forest Hills.  "When I first saw this blackface thing, I wasn't surprised," said one student. "It wasn't shocking and that should mean something that there is a problem at this school that needs to be fixed. The things I hear in the hallways I shouldn't be hearing--racial slurs. I hear people saying that segregation should still be a thing." (WZZM)

 

Gull Lake schools to ask voters for nearly $65 million over 30 years

Gull Lake Community Schools will ask voters for nearly $65 million over 30 years to upgrade facilities, add classrooms and build a new high school auditorium. Most of the construction would begin this year under a two-phase bond proposal up for a vote May 8. The second phase would begin in 2022. “Gull Lake Community Schools has reached a point in its history where upgrades to current facilities would be appropriate to bring our teaching and learning forward into the current century,” Superintendent Chris Rundle said Friday. “Requests such as continued support for technology, modernized classrooms and auditorium would help meet the needs of our students going forward.” (Battle Creek Enquirer)

 

Williamston residents must let go of fear and bias

Opinion: Parents suing Williamston Community Schools are using religion to justify the bullying of students who simply wish to fit in. The lawsuit alleges recent updates – to add sexual orientation and gender identity to anti-bullying and equal opportunity policies – show that school board members “seek to silence and punish Plaintiffs’ sincerely held religious beliefs.” This is public school. Students of all religions and all identities have the right to feel safe in schools. The beliefs of one student do not supersede those of another. (Lansing State Journal)

 

Getting kids to class may be harder than some lawmakers think. A new study casts doubt on how big a role educators can play.

Michigan and other states are focusing more on how often students are absent as a factor in determining a school’s performance. But a new study calls into question whether that’s a good idea. Two Wayne State University researchers, Sarah Lenhoff and Ben Pogodzinski, said in a report published last week, that when it comes to whether a child will get to class, some schools have more influence over attendance than others.   Among factors that can influence attendance are how much families trust their teachers, whether the kids feel safe, and response to the school’s discipline policy.  Michigan is one of 36 states that plan to use chronic absenteeism to measure school performance under the federal education law. But the Wayne State study indicates that it is unreliable to use attendance as an mark of quality to compare schools when the effect of these influences can vary so much. (Chalkbeat)

 

Michigan charter schools to share certain tax revenues

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law a change allowing charter schools to receive revenue from certain voter-approved property tax hikes. The taxes go to counties’ traditional school districts on a per-student basis, on top of their state funding. The new law lets charters get a share of the extra local funding. Charters will only benefit when existing millages are renewed or new millages are approved. The biggest impact is in the Detroit and Grand Rapids areas. The legislation was backed by many Republicans but opposed by Democrats. (Monroe News)

 

Did Flint’s Water Crisis Damage Kids’ Brains?

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley recently noticed a startling fact about kids in the lead-poisoned city of Flint, Michigan: They have become increasingly bad at reading since the water crisis began in 2014. A state government report showed that, from the year 2014 to the year 2017, third-grade reading proficiency in the city dropped from 41.8 percent to 10.7 percent. “That’s nearly a three-quarters drop in third-grade reading proficiency among children whose lives were affected by lead poisoned water during the Flint water crisis,” she wrote. Other factors were involved in this decline. The test changed to become more difficult in 2015, which led the third-grading reading proficiency statewide to fall from 70 to 44 percent. But Flint’s decline was much worse than the state’s average. (New Republic)

 

State education officials prepare 0 to 100 index to measure schools, slam push for A-F grades

State education officials are preparing to roll out a new tool for parents to quickly learn which schools are succeeding and which ones are struggling. They’re also lashing out at another school measurement approach that’s been proposed in the legislature. The dueling options are part of a national debate about the best way to measure schools. Michigan’s elected board of education last year scrapped plans to assign letter grades to every school in favor of providing parents with a dashboard of information about test scores, graduation rates, and other measures of success such as attendance rates and student discipline. (Chalkbeat)

 

Academic State Champs: Poverty doesn’t always predict school success in Michigan

Poor students often start third grade testing at first and second-grade levels, while those from wealthy districts are sometimes one or two grade levels ahead. By eighth grade, there is still typically a gap between rich and poor districts, but students at both learn at roughly the same pace. Researchers at Stanford University found they both progress about five grade levels in five years.

Across Michigan, school districts face daunting challenges, educating students from families with high poverty and few college degrees. Conventional wisdom says the schools fail. But groundbreaking new research challenges that belief, showing that –  in many cases –  students in poor districts can learn and progress at the same rate as peers in wealthy districts. (Bridge)

 

School leaders counting on students to be ‘present and accounted for’ on Count Day

Calling all students. Schools throughout the Downriver area and throughout the state are counting on students to be present and accounted for Wednesday. While it is important to be in school every school day, Feb. 14 is Count Day. The Michigan Department of Education uses the fall Count Day to determine 90 percent of a district’s per-pupil state aid, and the February count to determine 10 percent. The average per-pupil amount of state aid for each student in the Downriver area is about $7,000. (Southgate News Herald)

Related story:

> Detroit Free Press: Love in the air for crucial school count day

 

Will the new Michigan education funding study have a political path toward implementation or take a cruise to nowhere?

Three weeks after a new study recommended sweeping changes to Michigan’s school funding system, the question remains: Could it have an impact, or will it join previous funding studies on the shelf? Advocates who hoped that Gov. Rick Snyder would take up the cause in his last year in office now assume little will happen immediately. That’s because Snyder did not signal any interest in his State of the State and budget address in overhauling the way the state allocates funds to schools, even as he indicated he would support increasing per-pupil funding. (Chalkbeat)

 

How do schools make the decision to call off?

On Friday, every school district across the Monroe County Region closed. For some, the latest day off of school signaled the last calamity day districts have before needing to extend the school year. Districts also can appeal to the state in order to prevent extending the year. While snow days tend to be welcomed by staff and students alike, extending the school year isn’t always ideal either. Bedford Public Schools has had seven days canceled this school year because of weather. (Monroe Daily News)

 

Ann Arbor weighing in on guns-in-schools debate in Michigan

The city of Ann Arbor is formally weighing in on a legal case before the Michigan Supreme Court regarding whether school districts should be able to ban guns in schools. The City Council voted unanimously Monday night, Feb. 5, to authorize City Attorney Stephen Postema to file an amicus brief in the case of Michigan Gun Owners Inc. v. Ann Arbor Public Schools. The city is siding with the school district, which is defending policies it adopted in 2015 banning firearms on school property. (MLive)

 

Forest Hills students show solidarity and 'Black out against Blackface'

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Forest Hill Northern High School students showed their solidarity Tuesday, Feb. 6, by participating in a "Black Out Against Blackface,'' after photos of a white student wearing brown facial makeup surfaced on social media. The photos of the upperclassman, posted Feb. 1, ignited a social media firestorm on Instagram and Facebook because blackface carries associations of racism and degradation. "We had a great response today,'' said Danielle McMillon, a senior who is black, estimating about half the student body responded to the call to wear black clothing Tuesday. (MLive)

 

Dorms for high school students: Muskegon school responding to students' needs

MUSKEGON, MICH. — For teens and young adults, homelessness often means sleeping on the couch at one temporary housing location then moving to another. That unstable living arrangement is often referred to as "couch surfing." It can result in students missing or skipping school. Eventually, some students find it's easier to just stop going to school. It's why Muskegon Covenant Academy High School now offers a place for students to call home. The need can be for a few short weeks, up to years. (Detroit Free Press)

 

Sweeping study proposes major changes to how Michigan schools are funded

Michigan needs to change the way it funds education so that schools get more money for students who need extra attention — such as those who live in poverty and those who don’t yet have a strong command of the English language. That’s the top recommendation from a prominent group of educators, policymakers, and business leaders who have studied Michigan’s school funding system for much of the past two years. While many states use a complex formula that gives schools more money if they serve children facing extra challenges, Michigan has long used a system that distributes the same amount of money for virtually all students, regardless of their needs. (Bridge)

 

Kent tech center awarded funds help prepare teens for skilled trades jobs

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The Kent Intermediate School District is receiving $432,000 from the state to help enhance the skills of students in Career and Technical Education programs. The state has been on a mission to close the talent gap and change the perception some students and parents have about the professional trades. The goal is for more young people to pursue the in-demand, good-paying skilled trades jobs. Kent ISD is among 14 districts and intermediate districts, out 62 applicants, recently awarded a share of $5 million in grants to purchase specialized equipment and expand programs. (MLive)

 

Muskegon Public Schools closes all campuses due to illness

MUSKEGON, MI - Muskegon Public Schools is closed today, Feb. 5, due to illness. The district announced via Facebook on Saturday, Feb. 3, that all district buildings would be closed on Monday.  "MPS will be disinfecting campuses," the post said. All builds are expected to reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 6.  "School has never been closed for illness since I have been here," said Superintendent Justin Jennings. (MLive)

 

College programs on rise in Michigan high schools

Eden Jemison had a decision to make. Stay on the traditional four-year educational track at Romulus High School, where she was getting poor grades and feeling unfocused, or take a chance on her school’s early college program, which is designed to give students a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in five years. “I wanted better for myself because I had three Ds my freshman year. My parents were really upset with me. I realized I’m not going to be able to get accepted to any colleges if I don’t turn myself around,” said Jemison, 18.

 

Reforms going nowhere to require Michigan schools to test water for lead

Renea Robinson isn’t sure how her children got poisoned. Perhaps the paint in her Detroit house is to blame for elevated lead levels in the blood of three of her four children, ages 5, 6 and 8. Or the galvanized steel water pipes, which have since been replaced? Or what about the kids’ school? “I’ve been curious the whole time to figure out where my kids are getting it from,” said Robinson, 31. After the Flint water crisis, many schools in Michigan began testing their water for lead. And in 2016, Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy — the prekindergarten-8th grade school Robinson’s kids attend — was among 19 Detroit schools that had elevated levels of lead and/or copper after testing. (Bridge)

 

Investigation into teacher's Bible talk leads to Hudsonville schools changes

HUDSONVILLE, MI - Hudsonville Public Schools has changed how it educates and communicates the First Amendment to teachers and administrators. The change comes after a civil rights group complained a Hudsonville teacher's religious activities violated the U.S. Constitution.The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government, including taxpayer-funded public schools, from establishing religion. Public schools cannot endorse or appear to be endorsing or sponsoring religious activities. (MLive)

 

Brighton Schools trains employees in Narcan use for opioid overdoses

Brighton Schools became the first public school district in the county to enact a policy to administer naloxone in the case of an opioid overdose last week. The school board, by a 6-0 vote, approved a policy which will put Narcan in both Brighton High School and The Bridge, the district’s alternative high school. There will be multiple employees trained in the use of the device which delivers a dose of naloxone to counteract an overdose of opioids, including heroin as well as numerous prescription painkillers. The move is a preventive measure, not a reaction to any drug overdoses on school property, said Superintendent Greg Gray. (Livingston County Daily Press & Argus)

 

Michigan's adult drop-outs offered new chance for diploma - and free job training

Jobs continue to go unfilled in Michigan, yet the state also is home to nearly 750,000 adults without a high school diploma. A new program seeks to bridge that gap, offering an online high school diploma and free workforce credentials - as well as job placement - in construction or health care.

"To grow the economy of the state, we have to have the workforce to take the middle skills jobs out there," said Greg Harp, senior vice president of Graduation Alliance. The Utah-based company recently formalized the deal with the state's Talent Investment Agency to offer Michigan 23+ Adult Diploma and Training Program. Anyone in Michigan aged 23 or over and with a 10th grade education is eligible to participate. (MLive)

 

Teacher recruitment, retention, reward is aim of package of bills in Legislature

LANSING Teachers would be rewarded, recruited and revered under a 22-bill package introduced in the Michigan Senate last week. The bills would provide signing bonuses for new teachers, stipends for student teachers assigned to economically disadvantaged districts, incentives and scholarships for students to enter the teaching profession and student loan debt forgiveness. "Michigan teachers need our support and our kids simply deserve to have good schools with good teachers," said Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, one of the lead sponsors of the legislation. One of the bills in the package, which faces a tough climb in the Republican-controlled Legislature, would mandate a ratio of one teacher for every 20 students in grades kindergarten through the fourth grade. (Detroit Free Press)

 

Are charter schools ruining the public education system?

Opinion: Head of the U.S. Department of Education Betsy DeVos has been celebrating National School Choice Week, which aims to offer parents more choices in their educational options -- including charter schools. Some education advocates argue charter schools, publicly funded independent schools run by private companies or organizations, have been detrimental to the public school system. Others believe charter schools are the best alternative to poor public school systems. What do you think? (MLive)

 

Michigan launching Seal of Biliteracy program for high school students

Graduating high school seniors could have the opportunity this spring to earn a Seal of Biliteracy from the state of Michigan designating their ability to speak and write two languages. The Michigan Department of Education is launching the program this year. High school graduates who can demonstrate an "intermediate/high" proficiency in two languages, through an approved assessment, will be eligible to earn the seal. LaWanna Shelton, a special assistant at MDE who helped design the program, said the idea is to encourage students to study a world language and - if the student's primary language is not English - embrace and maintain fluency in their native language while learning English. (MLive)

 

MEA questions interest amounts in retiree health repayments from state

The Michigan Education Association wants teachers and other school employees to receive more interest from the $550 million the state improperly deducted from their paychecks from 2010 to 2012 to help fund retiree health care. Teachers last week began receiving emails from the Michigan Office of Retirement Services notifying them how much money they would receive. Almost immediately, there were complaints about how much interest was included. In one instance, a teacher receiving $5,400 back is getting nearly $43 in interest. (Detroit Free Press)

 

Gov. Rick Snyder proposes more money for Michigan schools in final State of the State

Gov. Rick Snyder hopes to send more money to schools around the state next year. He announced during his eighth and final State of the State address Tuesday that his budget proposal will include “the largest increase in the basic per pupil student foundation allowance in the last 15 years.”  This proposal comes just a week after Amazon delivered a major rebuke to the state’s educational system. The retail giant cited the poor state of schools and the lack of qualified professionals in the state when it eliminated both Detroit and Grand Rapids from consideration for the future home of its second headquarters. (Chalkbeat)

Related story:

> Detroit News: Snyder pushes school aid bump in final State of State

 

Michigan's K-12 performance dropping at alarming rate

If K-12 achievement in Michigan were a trendline, it is clearly pointing the wrong direction. By just about any measuring stick, the state is losing the race to educational excellence. The 2017 report from the Gov. Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission put it this way: “The urgency could not be greater. While it is difficult to face, the data are clear: Michigan children are falling behind.” Contrary to some misperceptions, Michigan’s K-12 achievement gap spans racial economic and racial spectrums. Contrary to common misperception, it’s not just poor and minority students who are failing to learn. (Bridge)

 

Monroe County ISD opens second Transition Center in Temperance

TEMPERANCE — A handful of students have a new place to learn close to their homes. The Monroe County Intermediate School District opened a second Transition Center at the beginning of this school year in Temperance. Nine students attend school at Monroe County College’s Whitman Center. They learn a variety of life skills and work at job sites to prepare them for independence. “About 20 to 25 percent of our Transition Center students live in the Bedford community while the majority of our training sites are located within the City of Monroe,” said William Hite, principal of the center. (Monroe News)

 

Airport Community Schools seeks additional funding

Should voters living in Airport Community Schools pass a bond request this spring, Niedermeier Elementary School will reopen. It’s a bold move but district officials are confident it is the right choice. The district’s enrollment has increased, including adding more than 60 students this year.

The district’s overall enrollment was 2,619 during the fall Count Day up from 2,552 during the same time in 2016. “We would reopen Niedermeier as an elementary school in the fall of 2019 but only if this passes,” Supt. John Krimmel said. (Monroe News)

 

Amazon to Michigan: Fix your schools!

Opinion: Sometimes you learn more from a bucket of cold water in the face than a warm blanket over your back. Last week, Amazon announced it turned down Detroit's bid to be a finalist city for its second headquarters. The big reason: Our state lacks the depth and quality of human talent they need. For Michiganders who have kids in school or looking for a good job or hoping to get into a good college, this is comes as no surprise. Business Leaders for Michigan, which has been benchmarking Michigan's standing for years, ranks us 29th in the nation for the percentage of high school graduates who are regarded as college or career ready, 32nd for the percentage of the workforce with technical training, and 30th in overall educational attainment. (Bridge)

Related story:

> Education Trust-Midwest: Amazon Announcement Highlights Need for Educational Transformation

 

MSUFCU donates $100K to Lansing Promise scholarship program

LANSING - A scholarship program that helps Lansing students go to college received a $100,000 donation last week from the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. Justin Sheehan, executive director of the Lansing Promise, said MSUFCU's gift represents a commitment to the success of Lansing's students. "This is a business in our community that cares about our kids," Sheehan said. (Lansing State Journal)

 

$550 million refund headed to schools on Monday

A $550 million refund to former and current Michigan public school employees is headed to school districts across the state on Monday, but recipients shouldn’t expect to see the money anytime soon. The Michigan Office of Retirement Services is returning the funds as promised on Monday, but individual school districts must still determine how to disburse the funds and follow appropriate tax reporting rules, according to a statement on the ORS website. “ORS will be returning the funds to the reporting units on January 22. This does not mean that the school districts will disburse those funds on that date. (Detroit News)

 

Wrong lesson when teachers pick class leaders

Opinion: HASLETT – If the goal of student council is to teach students about democracy and leadership, Haslett High School gets a failing grade. Teachers, not students, chose the officers of the schoolwide student council this year. And their choices raised eyebrows. The student who lost her bid for senior class president, Jackie Duckett, was put in as president of the student council. And Emily Littleton, the daughter of a teacher who advises the student council, Diane Littleton, was named vice president, even though she didn’t run for a class leadership position. Her mother abstained from voting. (Lansing State Journal)

 

School cell phone policies differ in firmness, flexibility

In the past, many school districts clamped down hard on students using cell phones. As the devices have become more prevalent, some schools have made allowances for when they may be used — while others have kept the lid on them.  For example, the Port Huron Area School district maintains different policies for different ages of students. At the elementary school level, cell phones are expected to be turned off and stored in students' backpacks, according to Tracie Eschenburg, executive director for employee and student services at Port Huron Schools. (Port Huron Times Herald)

 

Michigan exploring whether tax overhaul creates state deduction for private school tuition

With two children in Catholic school, and another three expected to enroll in the future, Aaron Wilkerson knows the pinch that private school can put on your wallet. Which is why a recent provision in the federal tax legislation allowing 529 college savings plans - where money can be invested and grow tax free - to be used for private school tuition caught his attention.  "Private Catholic school is pretty expensive," said Wilkerson, 33, of Redford, who works as an information technology project manager. "I think for middle class families every little bit helps." Throughout Michigan, there's undoubtedly more parents with the same sentiment. (MLive)

 

New report highlights need to transform Michigan's school funding system, educators argue

A new school finance study shows Michigan is underfunding its schools, and additional dollars should be invested in students with the greatest needs, including those who are low-income, have a limited grasp of English or require special education. The study was released Wednesday by the School Finance Research Collaborative, an organization representing educators, foundations and members of the business community. Speaking at a news conference in Grand Rapids, members of the collaborative characterized Michigan's current school funding formula as "broken," and urged members of the state Legislature to revamp how education is financed. They advocated for an approach that focuses more deeply on the different needs of various student groups. (MLive)

Related stories:

> Chalkbeat: Sweeping study proposes major changes to the way schools are funded in Michigan

> Dearborn Press & Guide: Study finds it cost $9,590 per year to educate a child; few districts are hitting it

> Detroit Free Press: Report: Fund charter schools equally, boost funding for all Michigan schools

> Michigan Radio: Report says Michigan should spend at least $9,550 per K-12 student

> Detroit News: Report: Michigan schools need funding boost

> US News: Study: Overhaul Is Needed of How Michigan Funds Schools

 

Caledonia superintendent resigns to 'clear path for new leadership'

CALEDONIA, MI - The Caledonia Community Schools Board of Education sent a letter to parents Tuesday, Jan. 16, informing them that Superintendent Randy Rodriguez resigned during a special meeting Monday. Rodriguez's resignation comes 11 months after the resolution of a 2016 workplace complaint investigation in which allegations of unlawful sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation were made. The investigation found he did nothing unlawful. Superintendent since August 2012, Rodriguez's resignation was effective immediately. Kent Intermediate School District Superintendent Ron Caniff is serving as acting superintendent until an interim superintendent is named. (MLive)

 

Muskegon school board member calls for superintendent's dismissal

MUSKEGON, MI - A veteran Muskegon Public Schools board member is calling for the "immediate dismissal" of the district's superintendent. Billie Bruce, a 26-year board member, addressed the board and the public during a regular meeting at the Hackley Administration Building on Tuesday, Jan. 16. "This past year has been regretful in so many ways, and has been harmful to our students and to the morale of our staff," she said. "I am asking for the immediate dismissal of Superintendent Jennings."  Bruce said that at least two other members of the seven-member board are in agreement with her. (MLive)

 

Michigan not pursuing federal pilot to reimagine standardized testing

If you ask most teachers, chances are you won't find much love for standardized tests. Many say they drain the fun out of teaching and learning, and that students are forced to spend too much time preparing for them. Which is why many were intrigued by a new provision in the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, which gives states an opportunity to apply for a pilot program to take a step toward moving away from rigid, standardized tests in favor of a more innovative way of measuring student learning. Such tests could include performance tasks, projects and student portfolios.  But Michigan is not moving in that direction - at least for now. (MLive)

 

Grand Rapids School Board applying to offer tuition-free pathway to college

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The Grand Rapids School Board passed a resolution Tuesday, Jan. 16, to apply to the Michigan Department of Treasury to become a Promise Zone to offer students free college tuition. The Promise Zone designation would provide students who live within the district's geographic boundaries and graduate from any high school within those boundaries -- public, private or charter -- a scholarship to attend at a minimum a two-year community college tuition free and potentially a four-year university. "We want to increase the opportunity for students in Grand Rapids to have access to a postsecondary education,'' said school board president Wendy Falb, executive director of the Literacy Center of West Michigan. (MLive)

 

Michigan awards $2.5 million in grants to school robotics teams

The Michigan Department of Education awarded $2.5 million in grants to FIRST Robotics teams across the state. The $2.5 million was divided between public and non-public schools with nearly $2.3 million awarded to 423 public schools and $157,700 to 39 non-public schools. The grants, which range in award amounts from $100 to $9,000 will be used to grow robotics teams. Michigan has invested $12 million helping schools start and strengthen FIRST teams since 2014. Governor Rick Snyder has said that the science, technology, engineering, arts, and math skills students learn through building robots for competitions will help prepare students for future, needed jobs. Many teams in the Holland area received grants. Hamilton High School’s Do The Thing team and iCademy Global’s Globetrotters received $3,500 grants. (Holland Sentinel)

 

Nuss retiring from Holly Area Schools

“There comes a time for everyone to move on,” said David Nuss, superintendent of Holly Area Schools (HAS) of his upcoming retirement. After 32 years with the district, with the last five as superintendent, Nuss will work until June 30. Prior to his current position, Nuss was a teacher at the high school for 11 years, assistant principal for two years, principal for 14 years, and assistant superintendent for one year. Nuss said he has enjoyed many highlights throughout his career at HAS. (Tri-County Times)

 

School employee refund data heads to Michigan districts

Michigan school districts this week are receiving lists of former and current public school employees who are entitled to their shares of a $550 million refund for retiree healthcare paycheck deductions deemed unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. The Office of Retirement Services began sending the data to districts on Wednesday in an effort to begin the process of issuing the repayment to 274,742 former and current teachers and other school employees by Jan. 22. But the state’s largest teacher’s union — concerned over possible inconsistencies in how individual districts will refund the money — is asking Court of Claims Judge Stephen L. Borrello for a status conference to issue “refund guidelines” to ensure that every school employee who is owed money receives it. (Detroit News)

 

Harper Creek may ask voters to renew operating millage

Harper Creek Community Schools is planning to ask voters to renew a non-homestead operating millage in May. "We're working hard to inform voters that this is a tax renewal for a levy that is already in place for non-homestead properties," Superintendent Rob Ridgeway said Wednesday. Unlike other operating millages, non-homestead millages do not tax primary residences, but apply to other property, such as rental properties, second homes and commercial and industrial businesses. (Battle Creek Enquirer)