Making the Grade in Michigan

Listen Tuesdays at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM

According to the Kids Count report of April 2018, 56% of third graders in Michigan are not proficient in English Language Arts. At the same time, some new public school teachers in Michigan are leaving the classroom because they do not earn enough money for a decent living. Virtual and charter schools are on the rise in Michigan. And in some communities there are breakthroughs in raising better readers.

Covering education in Michigan is complex, but WKAR is committed to reporting on the problems, searching for solutions, and holding leaders accountable.

Listen for Making The Grade in Michigan with WKAR education reporter Kevin Lavery every Tuesday at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. on 90.5 WKAR-FM's Morning Edition.

Ways to Connect

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.

 

 


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.

 


kids in class
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

Everyone loves a tale of redemption.  The 2016 Cubs.  The 2018 Loyola men’s basketball team.  Of course, comeback stories don’t just happen in sports...or in Chicago!  This one takes place on our side of the lake, at an elementary school in a northern Michigan tourist town.   You might call this one “The Kenwood Comeback.”

 


stack of money
flickr/Ken Teegardin

The Michigan Legislature has approved a $57 billion budget package that includes what GOP leaders tout as the largest per-student spending increase in 17 years.  The state will crunch those numbers to prepare a final budget for Governor Snyder’s signature.  But Michigan teachers say the funding boost won’t soothe the crunch they’ve been feeling for years.

 


gun free zone sign
flickr/Mike Goad

As state lawmakers debate new school safety measures, Michigan’s largest teachers union says most of its members don’t want to be armed in school. 

 


Brian Whiston
YouTube/Michigan Dept. of Education

A colleagues of the late Michigan State Superintendent Brian Whiston is remembering him as a man of courage and conviction. 

 


sign outside office
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

The concept of “going to school” usually involves hundreds of students congregating under the same roof, studying just feet away from each other. These days, a growing number of students are trying an alternative: virtual classes.  Online education has found fertile political soil in Michigan. However, new research suggests virtual schools run virtually unchecked, while delivering poor results.

Current State for May 5-6, 2018

May 5, 2018

This weekend's Current State updates you on school walkouts, Adado Park in Lansing, Michigan roads, the next generation of veggie burgers and memorable moments from past Michigan State University commencement speakers. 


students bowing heads
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

There was another walkout at a mid-Michigan high school Wednesday...but not for the reason you might expect. 

 


boy at computer
flickr/Kristine Full

This week, your children may be among thousands taking the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP.  It’s the yardstick the state uses to measure a student’s proficiency in math, science, social studies and language arts. 


man and woman with books
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

The 2018 Kids Count Data Book published by the Michigan League for Public Policy ranks Livingston County as the top county in Michigan for child well-being.  Education is a key factor in a child's quality of life.

 


Robin Pizzo, WKAR Director of Education
Reginald Hardwick / WKAR-MSU

WKAR's commitment to helping children learn in Michigan includes the addition of Robin Pizzo, our Director of Education. She talked with WKAR's Reginald Hardwick about her background and mission here at WKAR.


2018 Kids Count in Michigan: A Michigan Where All Kids Thrive
Courtesy / Michigan League For Public Policy

For more than a decade, proficiency skills among elementary students have been in steep decline, particularly in reading.  The 2018 Michigan Kids Count Data Book, released today by the Michigan League for Public Policy, sheds some light on the factors that influence a child's success in school. 


Classroom
Pixabay Creative Commons

More than two million children live in Michigan.  Their health, education and overall well-being depends largely on where in this state they live.  The  2018 Kids Count Data Book takes a look at how Michigan kids are faring.  

 

WKAR's Scott Pohl and Kevin Lavery review the findings of the 2018 Michigan Kids Count Data Book.

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