Whitmer Relents, Signs New Executive Order Re-Opening More Gathering Places

Michigan movie theaters and performance venues will soon be allowed to reopen, according to an executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The order, which also amends coronavirus safety mandates in schools, will allow a variety of previously closed entertainment venues, including indoor theaters, cinemas, performance venues, arcades, bingo halls, bowling centers, indoor climbing facilities and trampoline parks, to reopen statewide on October 9.

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House Education Committee Approves Legislation to Increase Access to Apprenticeship Programs

The Michigan House of Representatives Education Committee approved legislation that increases accessibility to apprenticeship programs in high schools on Thursday.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ben Frederick (R-85-Owosso), brings Michigan apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in line with federal workforce mandates so federal funding can be used.

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UM, MSU Excited to See Football Return, Fans Have Mixed Reactions

Michigan sports fans had mixed reactions after the Big Ten conference announced it would be bringing back football this year, while conference leaders rejoiced.

The conference, which had originally postponed playing because of the coronavirus pandemic, announced on Wednesday that it will resume games on October 24, according to ESPN.

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Michigan Begins Identifying Schools with COVID-19 Outbreaks

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has begun publishing coronavirus outbreak information broken down by school building.

The state had previously been confirming regions in which outbreaks were taking place at schools, but not identifying the individual schools or school districts.

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Reps Tom Emmer and Tim Walberg Secure Survivors Benefits for Homeschoolers After Social Security Originally Denied Them Because of Their School Choice

Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN-06), alongside Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI-07), secured survivors benefits for homeschooled children. Prior to this, Minnesota and Michigan blocked homeschoolers over 17 and 18 respectively from attaining benefits.
According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), both states were cutting off Social Security Administration (SSA) survivors benefits to homeschoolers due to “lack of proof” of their status as full-time students. In both states’ eyes, the students didn’t meet state compulsory education laws. 

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Former Vanderbilt University Professor Carol Swain Weighs in on Constitution Question Scandal at Her Teaching Alma Mater

Dr. Carol M. Swain appeared on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends Weekend Edition to discuss the recent backlash facing Vanderbilt University for asking a quiz question suggesting the Constitution may perpetuate White supremacy by protecting the institution of slavery.

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DeVos Tells Michigan Schools Not to Expect Federal Testing Waivers

Michigan schools should not anticipate waivers to allow schools to skip statewide testing for the upcoming school year, according to a letter sent by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to State Superintendent Michael Rice.

Rice and State Board of Education President Casandra Ulbrich had, in light of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, requested waivers from DeVos that would allow Michigan schools to skip student assessments typically required federally.

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Michigan to Publish Which Schools Have Coronavirus Outbreaks

Michigan will begin identifying K-12 schools that have coronavirus outbreaks beginning on September 14, a state spokesperson told BridgeMI on Tuesday.

Up to this point, the state has been confirming the regions in which the outbreaks are occurring, but have not provided more specific information, such as the specific school districts in which the outbreaks are located.

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86 Percent of Michigan Schools to Offer In-Person Learning

Eighty-six percent of school districts in Michigan will offer some or all in-person instruction at the beginning of the school year, according to a study conducted by Michigan State University (MSU).

The study, released Friday, showed that 59 percent of Michigan school districts will be offering in-person schooling five days a week and 27 percent will be offering it at least two to three days a week.

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Whitmer Reportedly Lone Governor Preventing Big 10 Football

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could be a “major roadblock” to the start of the Big 10 football season, according to Ohio State insider Jeff Snook.

The Spun reported that Snook is saying that Whitmer against University of Michigan playing football.

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More Than $37 Million in Grant Funding Available to Close Technology Gap, Provide Mental Health Support in Schools

School districts seeking additional funding to help offset the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for a grant from the Education Equity Fund.

The fund, created by the Michigan Department of Education, is aimed at helping to close the technology gap and provide mental health services for students and staff.

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Counselor in Texas School District Shares List of Marxist Literature as ‘Tool’

A lengthy email from a counselor in Plano Independent School District (PISD) sent to colleagues contained three attachments including, among other things, a list of overtly Marxist media for use in classrooms, and a study guide for those “trying to become better allies.”

The attachments highlight materials like The 1619 Project (which claims America’s history is based on racism and slavery), talking points concerning the deaths of George Floyd; Breonna Taylor; and Ahmaud Arbery; and suggested reading lists including Marxist and Communist literature.

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Michigan High School Fires Teacher After Pro-Trump Tweet

A Michigan high school is receiving backlash after it fired a teacher shortly after he tweeted “Trump is our president.”

Varsity baseball coach and social studies teacher Justin Kucera said that Walled Lake school district gave him the option of being fired or resigning after he had tweeted his support of President Trump and for reopening schools, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

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Michigan Publishes Reopening Guidance for Schools, Allocates $256M

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a set of health and safety guidelines on Tuesday for schools returning to in-person classrooms among the pandemic.

The “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap” outlines safety protocols for schools in each stage or reopening and includes information on the proper use of personal protection equipment, disinfecting, spacing in classrooms and identifying symptoms, among other things. Guidance is distinguished by phases and includes both required and recommended protocols.

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Michigan Schools Will Hold In-Person Classes in Fall, Whitmer Announces

Michigan schools will be allowed to reopen and hold in-person classes in the fall, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Wednesday.

Schools will be required to follow strict safety measures. Whitmer said she plans to release an executive order and a “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” on June 30 that will contain the requirements and recommendations for schools. It is currently unclear what those requirements may be.

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Michigan Publishes Map of WiFi Hotspots to Increase Accessibility As Residents Continue to Work, Learn At Home

Michigan has released a map of WiFi hotspots available in the state as a way to assist residents who may not have reliable internet access while they continue to work or learn at home during the pandemic.

The WiFi mapping — spearheaded by the Michigan Public Service Commission, Connected Nation Michigan, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and the Department of Education — highlights locations where public internet access is available, such as libraries, public schools and parks. More than 300 locations have already been added to the map, which also includes information about the location and the password used to access the internet there.

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Whitmer Threatens Removal of Accreditation for Wayne State University

  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other Michigan leaders sent a letter to the Wayne State University Board of Governors threatening them with removal of accreditation if it did not adopt a Code of Conduct at its next meeting. The letter comes on the heels of squabbling within the board over…

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New Education Report Highlights Need for Adult Post-Secondary Education Programs, Whitmer Says

A new report from the Lumina Foundation shows that Michigan’s post-secondary attainment rate has grown from 45 percent to 45.5 percent from 2017 to 2018, an improvement that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says highlights the need for increased educational programs.

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Trump Praises Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act During State of the Union Address

President Trump voiced support during his State of the Union Address earlier this week for the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, which would create a $5 billion annual tax credit for donations to state-based, locally-controlled scholarships. The act aims at giving one million children the opportunity to attend their school of choice.

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Michigan Governor Declares February Career and Technical Education Month

February is now considered Career and Technical Education Month, according to an announcement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday. Whitmer’s office said the month is meant to encourage students to explore programs that teach skills that are “high-demand, high skill, high-wage career opportunities.”

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Whitmer, Rice File Brief Supporting Challenge to Funding Law for Nonpublic Schools

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Rice filed a brief in the Michigan Supreme Court on Friday supporting a challenge to a law prohibiting the funding of nonpublic schools, except in the case of transportation.

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Rockford Bus Driver Named Michigan’s 2019 Education Support Staff Professional of the Year

A Rockford bus driver has been named Michigan’s Education Support Staff Professional of the Year for 2019 as part of the Michigan Department of Education’s ongoing effort to highlight individuals who go above and beyond for their schools.

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Percentage of Students in CTE Classes Sees Little Growth, Even As Completion Rate Rises

The number of Michigan students completing career and technical education programs has increased by more than 75 percent over the last four years, even as the percentage of students in CTE classes has stayed roughly the same, according to a press release from the Michigan Department of Education released this week.

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School Districts Push A Return To Busing, Despite Their Own Data Suggesting It Won’t Reduce The ‘Achievement Gap’

Multiple school districts across the country are considering busing-style programs to distribute impoverished students equally, but data suggest that such proposals would not reduce an achievement gap between poor students and their wealthier schoolmates, analyses by the Daily Caller News Foundation and others found.

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Dip in Test Scores Correlates with Enactment of Common Core

Fourth and eighth grade students in the U.S. again showed no to little improvement in their average reading and mathematics scores, according to a report released this week, a decrease that correlates with the enactment of the Common Core.

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NAEP Report: Michigan Fourth Graders and Eighth Graders See Dip in Test Scores, Despite Improvement in Test Rank

Despite showing moderate improvements in national rankings, Michigan’s average reading and mathematics scores for fourth and eighth graders have continued to fluctuate around the national average, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

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The Star News Digital Media Statement of Principles on K-12 Education

Star News Digital Media is a Nashville-based company that owns and operates five online news sites–The Tennessee Star, The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Sun, The Michigan Star, and Battleground State News–and publishes textbooks for secondary school students.

Our reporting on K-12 education is based on our philosophical perspective, which is reflected in our statement of principles.

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