Kevin Lavery

Education Reporter

Kevin Lavery is WKAR's Education reporter. In 2018, he began a year-long focus on the challenges of improving literacy in Michigan schools.  He is also reports general assignment stories and produces news features and interviews for Current State. He's also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."

Prior to coming to WKAR in 2006, Lavery was a reporter at KWMU in St. Louis, Missouri, covering local politics, government, and biotechnology issues.

Lavery's journalism career began in the Navy. He studied journalism at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana; worked as news director and television producer for American Forces Network-Japan; and served in Antarctica as radio program director at the McMurdo Station Research Facility on Ross Island.

Ways to Connect

school buses in a row
John Picken / flickr creative commons

For most kids in Michigan, there’s still plenty of summer left before the school bell rings.  Public school students generally return in about five weeks.  But for at least two schools in mid-Michigan, the first day comes next week.


Bill Beekman
Al Martin / WKAR-MSU

Michigan State University has formally approved Bill Beekman as its new athletic director. 


woman tutoring boy
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

If you ask a young child what “summer slide” means, you’re likely to hear something about their favorite playground or a water park.  But ask a teacher, and you’ll get an entirely different answer. For them, “summer slide” means work...not play.


mother and son
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

The Lansing School District has a high percentage of students who meet the federal poverty threshold. During the school year, thousands qualify for federal free and reduced lunches.  But are they getting enough to eat when school is out for the summer?  WKAR’s Kevin Lavery reports on one program that tries to fill that need.


From Michigan’s outdoor and historic attractions to tasting the foods of farmers, today’s show is dedicated to exploring summer adventures here in the Great Lakes State. 

people near podium
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) says tariffs imposed on China, Canada and Mexico are bad for U.S. agriculture. 


classroom photo
Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

With a new budget in hand, Michigan school districts now have the numbers they need to start planning for the fall.  Last week, Governor Rick Snyder signed a nearly $17 billion K-12 spending plan.  The Lansing and Detroit public schools are among 10 so-called “partnership districts” which are legally obligated to ensure all of their students are reading at grade level. 


Capitol building
File Photo / WKAR-MSU

Governor Rick Snyder visited a high school in Ypsilanti Thursday to sign the 2019 K-12 education budget.  WKAR's Karel Vega and Kevin Lavery break down the details.

artist rendering
Courtesy / Michigan State University

Construction has officially begun on a new music building at Michigan State University. 


man and school sign
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Summer vacation is just getting started, but educators in mid-Michigan are already thinking about next fall.  In August, the first charter school ever built in East Lansing will open its doors.  Cole Academy East is an expansion site for a charter school that’s been operating in nearby Lansing for decades. 

teacher and student
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Remember your elementary school teacher?  It was the one who taught you that respect is just as important as reading, and that manners count just as much as math.  That teacher still exists in schools all over America.  One of them has recently been named the 2018 Michigan Teacher Of The Year.



On this week's Current State - suicide prevention in Michigan; what former MSU dean William Strampel could face during trial; Michigan to vote on legalizing marijuana; cooking Kugel; constructing vehicles that drive 1600 miles without stopping for gas; remembering Robert F. Kennedy's impact on Michiganders; and find out where a 1-million square foot pot warehouse is being built in the Great Lakes. 

sunrise on farm
flickr/Susanne Nilsson

In the wake of two celebrity suicides this week, Michigan health care professionals are urging people to be aware of the warning signs. 


On this edition of Current State: Michigan teachers who say they are leaving the classroom because they cannot afford to remain in the profession; PBS President & CEO Paula Kerger talks about why more Americans are tuning into public media for news content and the network's expanding education role; perspective on an MSU alum who will help pick the next president; and the return of "Ondas en Espanol" host Tony "El Chayo" Cervantes. 

Gerald Cohoon former teacher
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

It’s commencement season again in Michigan.  Graduation is a time for making important choices about life and career plans.  But  it’s not just students who stand at the crossroads.  Sometimes, teachers find themselves making hard decisions at the end of the school year. The challenge before Michigan is to keep more teachers walking in than walking out.