Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: The important meetings that (almost) no one attends

Good morning!

Over the two decades that I’ve worked as a reporter, I have attended countless school board meetings. I’ve covered tedious budget discussions and tense debates about student discipline. I’ve heard howls of protest from citizens who've objected to limits on public comment time.

But there’s one thing I’ve rarely seen in my years of covering public education and that’s this: A charter school board meeting.

That might seem like an oversight in a city like Detroit where roughly half of the city’s students are enrolled in charters. But as Koby reported in an important story he published yesterday, covering charter school meetings isn’t easy. There are 58 charter boards in the city overseeing 91 schools and it’s hard for a reporter — or any taxpayer for that matter — to find out who is meeting when, or what might be on the agenda. Many meetings are cancelled at the last minute, sometimes without notice. And when they do happen, they’re often sleepy affairs, rarely attended by parents or teachers.

That doesn’t mean reporters shouldn’t be there. As Chalkbeat Detroit is expanding, we’re making a more concerted effort to cover charters in the same way we do the main district (and we almost never miss a DPSCD board meeting). The ten charter board meetings Koby tried to attend last month were an early step in that effort. But we hope to do more. If there’s a meeting you think we should cover — or a school we should keep an eye on (district or charter) — please let us know.

In other news, our "How I Teach" newsletter just marked its first birthday. To celebrate, we’d like to invite more people to the party. Sign up here or share this link with friends and colleagues who might appreciate a monthly dose of teacher wisdom and inspiration.

And read on for this morning’s headlines. Have a great day!

— Erin Einhorn, Bureau Chief

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

CHARTERS A Chalkbeat reporter who tried to attend ten charter school board meetings in April found that many were cancelled — including one that had initially been scheduled for Easter Sunday. Critics say charter boards aren’t doing enough to engage the community. Chalkbeat

BUDGET The GOP-led state senate has passed a budget that would send less money to schools than the one Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed. The senate’s budget would also reduce the extra funds Whitmer wants to see directed to schools that serve needy students. Crain’s

BROWN v. BOARD On the 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, a columnist writes that the promise of equality that should have emerged from the ruling has largely gone unfilled — and the resulting challenges are especially acute in Detroit. The Detroit News

BULLYING Many Michigan schools aren’t complying with the state’s anti-bullying law and state officials are not enforcing it. Lansing State Journal 

WELCOME A former state superintendent pens a letter of welcome to the new superintendent who was selected by the state school board last week, offering his list of proposed priorities. The Detroit News

OPINION A columnist knocks the state board of education for its vote against a federal charter school grant, though the vote was largely symbolic. The Detroit News

BAND Detroit police are investigating the disappearance of $6,000 that had been raised for a high school band’s trip to a competition in Chicago. WDIV

TOAST A suburban school superintendent has been suspended for bringing a bottle of champagne to a district office to toast a pair of retiring colleagues. Even though no children or teachers were present, the school board said the superintendent violated the district’s ban on drugs and alcohol. Detroit Free Press