Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: How higher pay for social workers, psychologists, and others could aid recruitment

Good morning!

If you’re a parent of a child with special education needs in the Detroit school district, you’re probably familiar with long waits for getting students evaluated for services.

That could change now that the district has negotiated an agreement with the teachers union that will allow key people such as social workers and speech and language therapists to be hired at a much higher salary.

Difficulty recruiting for these positions is a key reason the district is behind in completing the evaluations necessary to determine if a child needs special education services.

The school board approved the new salary agreement with the Detroit Federation of Teachers at a meeting Tuesday. As part of that agreement, teachers across the district will see pay increases. Some will get bonuses.

Read my story from the meeting to find out how social workers, psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists, will benefit from the agreement.

Meanwhile, the latest addition to the Chalkbeat Detroit staff — intern Imani Harris — has a story about how officials are looking to make the year-old GOAL Line, a transportation system for students attending schools in northwest Detroit, more sustainable.

Don’t forget to scroll down for more education headlines. And have a great Thursday!

Lori Higgins, senior reporter


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


PAY BOOST Social workers, psychologists and therapists, as well as teachers at hard-to-staff schools, will benefit from a new agreement between the Detroit school district and the teachers union. Chalkbeat

GOAL LINE As expansion is planned for the GOAL Line, a city transportation system for district and charter students, there is talk about making it more sustainable. Chalkbeat

FIGHTING ABSENTEEISM New research finds that teachers can be some of a school’s best allies in combating student absences. Chalkbeat

DESPAIR IN MEMPHIS Memphis students say they feel scared and powerless in the aftermath of a fatal officer-involved shooting of a 20-year-old black college student. Chalkbeat

FUND SCHOOLS The #RedforEd movement hit Michigan this week with a rally in Lansing that drew thousands of educators who urged lawmakers to adopt Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s school budget proposal. Detroit News MLive Detroit Free Press WLNS Michigan Radio

BENTON HARBOR WOES After the Benton Harbor school board rejected the state’s proposal to close the district’s high school, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says doing nothing is not an option. Detroit News WNEM WNDU

BIG SPENDERS The highest spending school district in Michigan had just four students last year. This report highlights the 75 districts in the state with the highest spending per student. MLive

HELPING STUDENTS RISE The Detroit school district has launched a Rise Up campaign in which they’re asking people — families, students, staff, partners, alumni, clergy, and community members — to submit videos describing how they are helping, or plan to help, students succeed. DPSCD

THIRD GRADE READING Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti sent a letter home to parents of second graders, updating them on the state’s third grade retention rule that kicks in during the 2019-20 school year and giving them information on how to request an exemption if their child is identified for retention. DPSCD

GOLDEN BUZZER The young singers from the Detroit Youth Choir have been lighting up social media since they wowed judges on America’s Got Talent this week. Detroit Free Press Detroit News MLive

FOOD HELP More than a dozen Michigan school districts will provide some students with food benefits this summer. WSMH

STRIKE PLAN An Ohio school district has hired a Michigan company to provide “strike contingency planning services” in the wake of the threat of a teacher strike. Columbus Dispatch

MOVING AHEAD A Wayne County school district will move ahead with discussions about closing schools despite a request from Michigan’s civil rights office to restart the process. Detroit News

CHARTER GRANTS Guidance from the Michigan attorney general’s office indicates the state education board doesn’t have the authority to approve federal charter school grant money the state received, freeing that money up now to go to schools. Detroit News

SCHOOL FUNDING The head of the state’s largest teachers union writes in an opinion piece that educators deserve more funding. Detroit News

SUMMER MEALS Summer food programs for children are lacking in northeast Michigan. Alpena News

APPEAL PLANNED A Michigan intermediate school district is appealing the state’s decision to remove its early childhood program. WWMT

SOCIAL STUDIES PREP Now that the state education board has approved new social studies standards, school districts can do the work necessary to train teachers. Manistee News

HOMESCHOOL PROGRAM An intermediate school district superintendent accuses the state education department of being biased against homeschooled students. Traverse City Record-Eagle