As the schools in the state-run Education Achievement Authority prepare to return next week to the main Detroit school district, we took a look this week at an EAA teacher who uses music to expose his students to African-American history, playing the music of Africa, of slavery, and of the Black Power and Civil Rights movements.
“These children have been robbed by this system, from the cradle until right now. They’ve been miseducated, undereducated and misused … They walk in here and they don’t even know who they are.”
— Quincy Stewart, music teacher, Central High School
Read on for more on this story and the rest of this week’s education news. For those who are students or educators now enjoying summer break, congrats! You made it! EAA and some charter schools have a week or more to go before breaking for the summer.
Also, if you’re available Saturday, stop by the Blight Bootcamp at Central High School where education topics planned for the community discussion will include sessions on kindergarten readiness and creating literacy. Chalkbeat will be moderating a panel on school closures and ways that officials can protect children and communities when schools close their doors.
Music and power
At a time when many districts are cutting arts programs to make room for more core subjects like math and reading, this music teacher shows that schools don’t have to choose between the arts and core subjects. They can blend them together.
Two boards and a reunion
- With the state-run recovery district set to dissolve next Friday, the Detroit school board approved a $5 million agreement to transfer some remaining funds to the main Detroit district.
- The state district, meanwhile, is seeking an advance on its state aid payments to cover some of its final expenses.
- The Detroit board brainstormed issues that will be a priority in the next six months. The board intends to hold an off-site retreat in July to begin developing a strategic plan.
- The board plans to meet tonight to consider asking voters in November whether taxpayer money should fund the Detroit Pistons move downtown. A vote is not likely tonight.
Dollars and sense
- The state school budget on its way to the governor would mean an extra $60 to $120 per student next year.
- The budget bills also include more funding for at-risk students, career and technical education, more for students who are learning English, and more for the 37 schools that entered into “Partnership Agreements” this year to avoid state closure. (Of the 38 schools on the state’s initial closure list, one charter school will likely be closed by its authorizer).
- The bills would bar districts from using state funds to sue the state.
- A plan to change teacher pensions in Michigan is on its way to the governor. A Democratic state lawmaker explains why he thinks the new pension bill betrays teachers. A teachers union leader called the changes reckless. But one budget hawk said the plan is innovative.
- Two major foundations soon plan to release the details of an effort to expand early childhood education and services in Detroit. “We know we need to increase access, create more centers and more seats, and develop highly skilled teachers,” one leader of the effort said. “How do we co-locate more family services in schools so they become more like community hubs?”
- When the billionaire Amazon.com founder asked for suggestions for charitable donations, he heard from Madonna who suggested several Detroit organizations. Among them: A northwest Detroit charter school and a boxing gym that tutors Detroit kids.
- As the main district tries to recruit families displaced by charter school closings, it’s hosting an enrollment fair next week.
- The district is also ramping up its teacher hiring efforts — but so are some of the charter school networks competing for the same candidates.
- A Detroit program offers parents a small stipend to work in classrooms and support students and their families.
- Ann Arbor teachers this week donated supplies to Detroit teachers.
- One of the Detroit principals convicted of taking bribes last year is fighting to stay out of prison.
Across the state
- The state of Michigan has no idea how many educators are violating the law by running schools without the proper certification, but the number could be in the hundreds.
- The state law that bars schools from starting classes before Labor Day is facing mounting political pushback.
- A former British Prime Minister praised U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, telling her at a western Michigan business forum: “Madam Secretary, let me say how much I admire your stance on school choice.”
- This western Michigan charter school wants more flexibility to serve students who have been suspended.
- Students in a suburban district have said goodbye to their beloved therapy dog