By Erin Einhorn, September 29th
Next Wednesday is count day — the crucial day when the number of students who show up for class will determine much of a school’s budget for the rest of the year. Schools are planning special events including carnivals, pizza parties, and giveaways to entice as many students to school as possible. The main Detroit district is offering free breakfast and lunch to parents.
The district is also stepping up its game to bring more teachers into classrooms, considering additional incentives for educators willing to work in “hard-to-staff” schools and in shortage areas such as special education.
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- Details of a program that would pay teachers more to take jobs in “hard-to-staff” positions in Detroit’s main district will be worked out through negotiations with the city teachers union.
- Early numbers show the main district could see its first enrollment increase in years as it absorbs students from shuttered charter schools and the now-dissolved state recovery district.
- U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed at Harvard University when responding to a question about Detroit schools.
- Quicken Loans plans to bankroll computer science classes for 15,000 Detroit students. The contribution — announced as part of Ivanka Trump’s visit to Detroit this week — is among half a billion dollars from private companies and the government that will go toward computer science education across the country.
- Here’s why 2,000 Detroit ninth graders just got free cell phones.
- This Detroit high school has seen some tough times, but its students mean business.
- The board that oversees the finances of the city and school district just got a new member.
- Two researchers explain how the new hockey and basketball arena will take money away from Detroit schools.
- A Detroit charter school just got a $5 million grant from the federal government, one of 17 charters nationally to get help expanding.
- A former Michigan governor says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan — and his successors — should be given control over the city schools. That same governor was just named by DeVos to a national education board.
- Two Detroit high schools will now have special programs on Saturdays.
Across the state
- A new study finds the state’s “schools of choice” program, which lets students cross district lines to attend school, has little effect on student performance.
- State data show that nearly a quarter of Michigan students are not attending school in their home district. Some of those kids are in charters. Others are crossing district lines to attend a neighboring district.
- These are the 50 Michigan districts that have the largest net loss of students from schools of choice (Detroit is No. 6). These 50 districts saw the biggest gains.
- A photo essay from an advocacy organization illustrates how a state school funding system that provides no construction funds to districts has created “disheartening disparities in the quality of facilities between tax-rich districts and their poorer counterparts.”
- This tax loophole is keeping money from Michigan schools.
- Wednesday is not just count day. It’s also Walk to School day, and 300 Michigan schools are expected to participate.
- The state court of appeals has rejected an effort by Catholic schools and lawmakers to join the ongoing legal dispute over whether state money can flow to private schools.
- It’s hard to compare Michigan SAT scores to those in other states because all students here, not just ones heading to college, take the test. Still, here’s how Michigan students did compared to other states with high participation rates.
- A new study says Michigan teachers have it pretty good compared to their peers in other states.
- The state school reform officer who led a botched effort to close 38 low-performing Michigan schools has resigned to take a job in Missouri. The state superintendent is looking for her replacement while planning another round of the “partnership agreements” that districts were able to sign to avoid closure.
- Thirteen Michigan schools — none in Detroit — were awarded federal “Blue Ribbon” recognition for their test scores.
- A Detroit education professor pushed back against a state education leader who says Michigan schools are not in crisis. “Michigan’s academic stagnation,” she writes, “is a real and direct threat to our state and our children’s futures.”
In other news
- A suburban district has been sending parents text messages with suggestions for things they can do to help boost children’s reading and writing skills.
- A parent advocate describes how the school her daughter attends has been working with students to meet their emotional needs as they start high school.
- These Detroit student chefs are teaming up with the Lions for a cooking competition.
- Michigan schools can apply for $500 grants to take kids on arts and culture field trips.
- A new study found that Florida’s tax-credit voucher program — a potential model for other states — helped students get to college, but not to graduate.