Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: Falling off track as stakes rise

Good morning and welcome to our second day of more frequent, much-shorter and more useful newsletters at Chalkbeat Detroit.

Koby Levin reported yesterday that some of the struggling Detroit schools that avoided state closure last year after signing “partnership” agreements with the state are not on track to meet targets spelled out in the agreements for test scores improvement. This is alarming, given that schools could face consequences including closure if they don’t step it up. But it also is not particularly surprising because most of the major academic reforms being implemented by Superintendent Nikolai Vitti won’t take effect until the fall. Educators at these schools face a daunting list of challenges, as we illustrated when we spent time with one partnership school principal last fall.

Also, Kimberly Hayes Taylor was at the first-ever meeting of the new citywide education commission and filed a dispatch.

Read on for more on these stories, plus news of the just-passed state budget. And, check out the stunning story from Bridge, our partner in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, about the role politics played in potentially revising the state’s social studies standards.

— Erin Einhorn, Chalkbeat Detroit Bureau Chief


FALLING APART(NERSHIP): The news that some Detroit schools aren’t improving fast enough comes as Lansing lawmakers pass a budget that will require districts to either close or “reconstitute” schools that don’t meet their targets. Chalkbeat MLive

COMMISSION: The 11 members of the new Community Education Commission, appointed by Mayor Mike Duggan, named an executive director, accepted some big checks, and started hammering out details for a new district-charter bus loop. Chalkbeat Detroit Free Press

SOCIAL STUDIES: References to gay rights, Roe v. Wade, climate change and “core democratic values” have been stripped from Michigan’s new proposed social studies standards through the influence of a Republican lawmaker who helped rewrite the standards. Bridge.

BUDGET: The $58.6 billion budget that was approved by the legislature yesterday includes a sizable increase in school funding. Crain’s Detroit Free Press MLive Associated Press

SAT-ISFIED: A state House committee has passed legislation that would let teachers earn their state certification without having to pass the SAT. MLive

SCARY TIMES: Some Michigan schools are installing panic buttons. The Detroit News

DOG DAYS: Some local schools are using therapy dogs to help improve children’s reading skills. WXYZ

ACCOLADES: The winner of a nonprofit’s group’s Teacher of the Year award is a fifth-grade teacher nominated by a student who wrote “she believes in me and has faith that I will do good.” She was surprised by flowers and a plaque at school. Detroit Goodfellows Detroit Free Press Detroit News

ACCOLADES II: A local foundation named a Detroit high school dance teacher as one its educators of the year. MLive