Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: Librarians are disappearing from Michigan schools

Good morning!

When I was a child, my big sister and I would often walk a mile each way to get to the library closest to our home on Chicago’s southeast side. Sometimes, we would hop on a CTA bus, then transfer to another, just to get to the much bigger, better library near our aunt Elaine’s neighborhood. And when I was in high school, I spent many of my freshmen lunch periods in the school library.

So I can’t imagine a world for a kid growing up that doesn’t include easy access to a library — or a librarian. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Michigan. Koby’s story delves into data that shows few schools in the state have a certified librarian.

Here’s a key stat in his story: The number of certified librarians in Michigan has declined 73% from 2000 to 2016. 

You can read Koby’s story here. 

Meanwhile, a bit of news for our readers: This week, I officially took on a new role as the bureau chief at Chalkbeat Detroit. This represents a new chapter in my career as I get to oversee coverage of a subject I've been passionate about for well over two decades. There's no better tale to tell than the story of education, particularly in this city. And I'm committed to continuing to bring you the impactful stories that have been Chalkbeat Detroit's strength since this bureau was launched.

For more about me, you can read the introductory post I wrote last year when I joined the team after a nearly 19-year stint covering education at the Detroit Free Press.

And please, reach out to me. Tell me what kind of stories you want to read in Chalkbeat Detroit. What events should we attend? What are we getting right? What can we improve? I want to hear it all! My email is lhiggins@chalkbeat.org. You can find me on Twitter @LoriAHiggins and on Facebook @higginsloria.

One last note: With my new role, we'll now be on the hunt for another reporter to join our outstanding team, which includes Koby Levin, who writes about Detroit schools with a focus on charter schools and choice; and Julie Topping, our story editor. If you know someone we should consider, please drop me a line.

Keep reading below for more education news. Have a great weekend!

— Lori Higgins, bureau chief


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

DISAPPEARING ACT More than 90% of Michigan schools don’t have a certified librarian. Chalkbeat

HEAD START A new study questions whether Head Start still produces long-run gains seen in past research. Chalkbeat 

BENTON HARBOR Michigan’s new education leader says the state should keep Benton Harbor High School open. Bridge Magazine

LONG-TERM SUBS Day 2 of a report on the use of long-term substitute teachers in Michigan looks at how the Detroit school district cut back on such teachers by raising teacher pay and offering bonuses. Bridge 

CONCERN RAISED An education expert says Michigan’s reliance on long-term subs should be concerning to everyone. Bridge

SEEKING MONEY The Benton Harbor school district is seeking funds to conduct a superintendent search. Herald-Palldium

PROTECT CLASSROOMS The heads of two education organizations urge lawmakers to not use classroom funding to fix Michigan roads. Iron Mountain Daily News

ANN ARBOR SCHOOL CONTROVERSY Officials in Ann Arbor won’t say who is accused of what in fraud investigation. Mlive