Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: The state of the schools is … tense

Good morning!

I was expecting a lot more getting along at this year’s State of the Schools address. In the year since Superintendent Nikolai Vitti clashed with charter leaders at the first State of the Schools event, district and charter leaders have been working together on a joint bus route and a school grading system. And while there was, indeed, plenty of getting along last night when Vitti took the stage with Rob Kimball, who heads the Michigan charter school authorizers council, there were a couple of moments of real tension.

Lori has the details in the story she posted last night. If you missed the forum — or want to watch it again — we have the video.

Also check out Koby’s story about the alarming percentage of students across the state who miss at least 1 in 10 days of school. It’s not particularly surprising to learn that homeless students are among those most likely to be chronically absent, but this study makes it clear that if schools want to see most of their students come to class on a regular basis, they need to do more to support their homeless students.

And, as this week comes to a close, we wanted to remind you that it’s Match Week at Chalkbeat. If you donate by this Saturday (12/8), our partners will quadruple your impact. Thanks to these dollar-for-dollar matches, $100 turns into $400, and Chalkbeat continues to serve this community with independent education news. Become a sustaining member, and you can still get the brand-new Chalkbeat water bottle. Donate now.

Scroll down for all of this morning’s education headlines — and have a great weekend!

— Erin Einhorn, Bureau Chief

PHOTO: Erin Einhorn
More than 200 people attended Detroit’s second annual state of the schools address.

Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.


STATE OF THE SCHOOLS The second annual forum turned heated last night when Kimball said he had no plans to lobby in Lansing for equitable school funding. That prompted a sharp response from Vitti. “What’s irritating is we talk about collaboration but we only want to collaborate when it’s specifically for our own entity,” he said. “I’m deeply bothered that even when the charter organizations have friends in Lansing, that’s not leveraged as a way to create equity in Detroit.” Chalkbeat

ABSENT The study on chronic absenteeism makes several recommendations for things schools can do to improve attendance including opting in to a statewide data system that alerts educators when student absences begin to pile up. Chalkbeat Associated Press WXYZ

LAME DUCK The state house has passed controversial bills that would create an education commission. Democrats fear the commission is a power grab designed to seize control from the governor and state board of education — and some experts say it could be unconstitutional. Bridge MetroTimes Detroit Free Press

DISTRICTS Those bills would also create “innovative” school districts exempt from many state rules. The Detroit News

UNION House lawmakers voted to bar public school employees from getting credit in their retirement pay calculations for years they were released from their jobs doing work for their unions. The Detroit News

FUNDING Gov. Rick Snyder is pushing a plan to raid the school aid fund to pay for road repairs. The Detroit News

CHARTERS Michigan was one of several states that elected new governors who are more skeptical of charter schools than their opponents, prompting some to note a shift in the political landscape for charter schools. AP

DOCUMENTERS A new program that sends community members to public meetings to document what they see visited 12 education-related meetings in Detroit over the last few months. WDET

READ The state education department won an international award for a video designed to help Michigan educators teach literacy to young children. MDE

TEACH Detroit’s main school district has made some progress in addressing a significant teacher shortage but still has 80 teacher vacancies. WDIV

ARTS An organization that provides arts education to schools in Detroit has a new leader. Detroit Free Press Crain’s

GUN A 10-year-old faces charges after bringing a loaded gun to his school in Detroit’s midtown neighborhood. The Detroit News WDIV