Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: Michigan expulsions are down. So why are advocates for students concerned?

Good morning! Back in 2017, Michigan lawmakers passed a set of bipartisan bills that were aimed at getting rid of the tough, zero-tolerance laws that resulted in students getting kicked out of school for lengthy periods of time — often for minor violations. So what’s happened in the 18 months since the new laws went into effect?

The number of students being expelled from Michigan schools is down, by 12 percent, according to information provided to the State Board of Education during a meeting this week. Despite that decline, advocates for children who presented at that meeting say they have serious concerns about the implementation. Read my story to find out why.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s new governor gave her first State of the State address, in which she called for serious fixes to improve Michigan schools. Erin has the story from the speech, which included a call for a bold fix to the school’s funding system.

It didn’t come up during Whitmer’s speech, but a big issue facing many schools across the state is the difficulty finding teachers to fill open positions. I wrote a story this week about a new report from a Michigan research organization that takes a look at teacher shortages in the state, and what they called the “leaky” pipeline of teachers.

As always, please read on for more Detroit and Michigan education news.

— Lori Higgins, senior reporter

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her first State of the State address on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

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

SCHOOL EXPULSIONS Michigan schools are expelling fewer students since new laws went into effect in 2017. But some advocates have concerns about how school leaders are complying (or not) with the rules. Chalkbeat

BOLD CHANGES New Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first State of the State address was short on details, but she did say schools in the state need bold changes. Chalkbeat Bridge Detroit Free Press Detroit News

LEAKY TEACHER SUPPLY A Michigan research organization issues a report that says Michigan’s teacher supply is dwindling. Chalkbeat

ARTS PAY-OFF An effort to expand arts education in Houston is paying off, according to research that shows positive gains for students. Chalkbeat

LACK OF FUNDING A metro Detroit consultant writes in an opinion piece that education funding for English as a Second Language students is falling short. Detroit Free Press

FIXING MICHIGAN SCHOOLS School leaders and education advocates say it’ll cost money to improve Michigan’s schools. Bridge    

SCHOOL REFORM The future of a Michigan school district may rest with the state attorney general’s office, given the district has been operating under a school reform law that was eliminated in December. Herald Palladium

MORE A-F PUSHBACK The State Board of Education approved a resolution giving the board president the authority to have discussions with the attorney general’s office about concerns with the Michigan’s new A-F letter grading law. Twitter

STATE SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH If you want to apply to be the next state superintendent of Michigan, you have nearly a month left to apply. But you’ll have some competition. Twitter

WHITMER HIRE Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has tapped a charter school leader to take on a senior adviser role in her administration. Crain’s Detroit Press and Guide

NEW MASCOT A Michigan school district is phasing out its mascot because of its ties to the Confederacy. WXYZ

WHERE’S THE BUS? A metro Detroit school district has introduced a new app that allows parents to check the whereabouts of their child’s school bus. Hometown Life