Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: When giving laptops to students is an equity issue

Good morning!

The role that computers play in schools can be controversial, with some educators warning that the increasing reliance on digital learning has sidelined teachers. But Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says giving laptops to students is an equity issue. “Today’s child has to compete at a global level with children that are using laptops and using devices at early ages and our children aren’t necessarily doing that,” he said.

As Lori reported yesterday, that’s the argument behind the $16 million request Vitti plans to make to the school board next week. He wants the money to buy enough laptops for every student in 46 schools to have in-school access. That’s in addition to 25 schools that already have 1:1 student-to-laptop ratios. Lori’s story also dives into different ways students are using the technology in class, from virtually “visiting” a historical site, to using Google Hangouts to conduct interviews for a research project.

Also check out Koby’s story on the political frenzy Gov. Gretchen Whitmer set off when she vowed to “get rid” of the controversial third-grade reading law, and the rest of 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.


LAPTOPS By the end of the next school year, every student in grades K-8 in the Detroit school district could have ready access to a laptop every day at school. Chalkbeat

READING Whitmer’s call to stop a tough third grade reading law that would hold back students who aren’t reading at grade level prompted gleeful praise from educators — but a frosty response from an education advocacy group tied to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Chalkbeat GLEP Detroit News

BUDGET Whitmer’s budget proposal, which would increase funding to schools, has been met with skepticism. A legislative leader called her plan to raise gas taxes a “nonstarter.” WKAR MLive The Detroit News

COACHES If she can get it passed, Whitmer’s budget proposal would triple the number of literacy coaches working in Michigan schools. Bridge

CHILDCARE A new report shows the number of child care slots in Michigan decreased between 2010-17. Some counties saw decreases even as demand has increased. Holland Sentinel

BREAKFAST Michigan’s richest county is now the first to provide free breakfast to students regardless of family income. Detroit Free Press

ADVOCATE The state parent teacher association is planning a day of advocacy in Lansing that will include workshops on understanding how schools are funded. Michigan PTA

ABSENT State data show that 70 percent of Detroit students were labeled chronically absent in the last school year. The statewide average was 20 percent. CapCon

SENSORY A suburban businessman and pizza maker is donating equipment to schools to set up sensory rooms for children with autism. Fox2

LITERACY A nonprofit that helps adults learn to read has a new director. Detroit Free Press