Business and education leaders come together to focus on talent development and discuss Marshall Plan for Talent partnerships in Flint

Business and education leaders come together to focus on talent development and discuss Marshall Plan for Talent partnerships in Flint

FLINT, Mich.— More than 75 educators and business leaders gathered today in Flint for a Marshall Plan for Talent workshop where they discussed upcoming opportunities to revolutionize Michigan’s education and talent development system.

“We are extremely grateful for all of the partners that showed up today to take part in the continued momentum as we gear up for the implementation phase of the Marshall Plan for Talent,” said Roger Curtis, Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Director. “Everyone has a stake in Michigan’s education and talent development systems and these partnerships critical to help connect the dots between business needs and how we can best address the gap in the talent pipeline.”

Business, K-12 and higher education participants discussed needs, potential barriers and partnerships necessary to help form consortia that will allow them to apply for Marshall Plan funds.

The plan, which passed through the Legislature yesterday and is on its way to the Governor to be signed into law, calls for investing $100 million in innovative programs to revolutionize Michigan’s talent and education system. It will support schools that want to transform education through programs like competency-based certification, world-class curricula and classroom equipment, scholarships and stipends, and support for career navigators and teachers. The funding complements the more than $225 million in existing talent development efforts in Michigan.

Michigan will have more than 811,000 career openings to fill through 2024 in fields that are facing a critical talent shortage. As the state considers talent preparation changes for these fields, the greatest demand for talent will be in increasingly high-skill, high-tech fields such as in information technology and computer science, manufacturing, health care, and other business and professional trades careers.

Additional details about the Marshall Plan are available at

WISCONSIN: Over 100 MPS School Placed in Academic Excellence

WISCONSIN: Over 100 MPS School Placed in Academic Excellence

By Nyesha Stone

The Milwaukee Public School system may not have the best reputation, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t producing quality students. Last week, MPS announced that 108 MPS schools were awarded platinum, gold, silver or bronze for academic excellence and positive behavior by Wisconsin Rtl Center.

A student at Academy of Accelerated Learning spending his classroom time reading. Picture provided by MPS

A student at Academy of Accelerated Learning spending his classroom time reading.

Wisconsin Rtl Center is an organization that helps schools put in place a research-based multi-tiered system of support, according to a press release.

According to Wisconsin Rtl Center’s website, “a fully-implemented system is equitable, and provides increasing levels of student supports for all content areas.” There are three categories to place in: mathematics, reading and behavior.

To place bronze in one of the categories, the school has to fully-implement the Rtl system in that area at a universal level for at least one year, and at least two years for silver. To place gold, the school must meet the requirements for bronze for at least two years in two of the categories. And, to place platinum, the school must meet the requirements for gold in all three categories for at least three years.

Out of the 108 schools, only one placed platinum: Academy of Accelerated Learning.

“We’re very system driven,” said principal of Academy of Accelerated Learning, Eric Rian.

Rian said their success didn’t happen overnight. Their system of learning was implemented around seven years ago.

According to Rian, the school provides its teachers with professional teaching development training.

Plus, the staff understand their students in a way that helps the teachers teach better which in turn helps the students learn more.

Rian was the first one to learn about the great news, and before announcing it to the school, he met with his staff the night before to tell them to their face. The next day, during school he announced to the students that they won platinum.

“It’s work over time,” said K5 teacher April Gagliano. “Every year you have to add another levelto become successful.”

Third-grader Samiya and second-grader David were ecstatic about the news because of their love for the school, and their teachers.

Samiya, David and their classmates were given an assignment to learn more about themselves, which meant talking to their relatives. Through this experience, both Samiya and David found out interesting facts about their family, and themselves.

“My experience is really great here,” said Samiya. “It [the school] gives you a lot of opportunities [to learn].

“There’s so much [many] ways to learn,” said David.

Rian said he’s not big on celebrating but he did get a great feeling inside when he got the news.

“We know what we do, but it’s nice to know someone else knows,” said Rian.

For a complete list of the winning schools visit

MICHIGAN: FIRST Robotics Students Inspire State Board of Education

MICHIGAN: FIRST Robotics Students Inspire State Board of Education

On April 26-28, the Detroit – For Inspiration Recognition of Science & Technology (FIRST) World Championships were held, hosting over 15,000 students and 40,000 spectators from all around the world, including of 111 Michigan teams. It is with great excitement that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) share two Michigan teams, Stryke Force, Kalamazoo and Team RUSH, Clarkston were part of the winning alliance for this year’s game, FIRST POWER UPSM.

The State Board of Education (SBE) celebrated the success of the Stryke Force, Kalamazoo and Team RUSH, Clarkston FIRST Robotics teams by honoring them at the June 12 board meeting. Their presentation demonstrated the level of technical capacity, educational excellence, and 21st Century competencies achieved by these students and the students participating in the 1400 teams across the state.

Stryke Force had students Sierra Staunton and Kjersten Lindbloom, present. Sierra shared, “We work to inspire others, because FIRST inspires us. Through FIRST, STEM is accessible.”

Team RUSH had students Valentina Vargas, Jessica Ray, and Jason Richards present. Valentina shared that Team RUSH, “aims to create self-confident leaders who inspire others to celebrate STEM.” The students from Team RUSH shared that they work to fail faster in order to learn more to ensure they are focused and execute their mission.

Both teams shared that the FIRST Digital Badges allow them to demonstrate to colleges and industry their mastery of high valued 21st Century skills. SBE member, Lupe Ramos-Montigny stated, “I’m encouraged and inspired by you. You are on to great success.”

All State Board members and Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles congratulated the teams for their success at the 2018FIRST World Championship and thanked them for their attendance and presentation.

Many other Michigan teams were awarded with high honors at the Detroit-FIRST Robotics World Championship. Team 2834, Bionic Black Hawks, Bloomfield Hills, won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given at the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship. This award recognizes the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST. Michigan teams were represented in every subdivision winners, as well.

The FIRST Robotics Program empower students to demonstrate their competency in learning in a variety of ways. They have opportunities to solve problems that leverages the power of technology by developing and testing solutions in creative and imaginative ways. They are able to construct knowledge and make meaning of their learning experience for themselves. Students become global collaborators by utilizing technology to make connections with others to broaden perspective and learning through the creation of original products.

This program supports Michigan’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan by supporting Goal Two, strategy 2.6 and 2.7 by engaging students in well-rounded learning experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), language, business, culture, and creativity, as well as providing access to personalized learning technologies that support and enhance those learning experiences.

The MDE is looking forward to supporting the FIRST Robotics grant program in the 2018-19 school year through continued commitment of grant funding. The 2018-19 and 2019-20 FIRST Robotics World Championships once again will be hosted in Michigan.

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and start the course at the year 1450 — and some teachers and students are appalled.

The College Board, which is a nonprofit organization, announced recently that it was making big changes in the course, and said it would publish an updated course and exam description next year for the 2019-20 school year. The more than 9,000 years that will no longer be covered in AP World History will instead be put into a new series of courses the College Board is creating for high schools that can afford to purchase it, called Pre-AP World History and Geography.

Read the full article here.

How Washington D.C.’s public schools went from success story to cautionary tale

How Washington D.C.’s public schools went from success story to cautionary tale

WASHINGTON — As recently as a year ago, the public school system in the nation’s capital was being hailed as a shining example of successful urban education reform and a template for districts across the country.

Now the situation in the District of Columbia could not be more different. After a series of rapid-fire scandals, including one about rigged graduation rates, Washington’s school system has gone from a point of pride to perhaps the largest public embarrassment of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s tenure.

This stunning reversal has left school administrators and city officials scrambling for answers and pledging to regain the public’s trust.

A decade after a restructuring that stripped the decision-making powers of the board of education and placed the system under mayoral control, city schools in 2017 were boasting rising test scores and a record graduation rate for high schools of 73 percent, compared with 53 percent in 2011. Glowing news articles cited examples such as Ballou High School, a campus in a low-income neighborhood where the entire 2017 graduating class applied for college.

Then everything unraveled…

An investigation by WAMU, the local NPR station, revealed that about half of those Ballou graduates had missed more than three months of school and should not have graduated due to chronic truancy. A subsequent inquiry revealed a systemwide culture that pressured teachers to favor graduation rates over all else — with salaries and job security tied to specific metrics.

The internal investigation concluded that more than one-third of the 2017 graduating class should not have received diplomas due to truancy or improper steps taken by teachers or administrators to cover the absences. In one egregious example, investigators found that attendance records at Dunbar High School had been altered 4,000 times to mark absent students as present. The school system is now being investigated by both the FBI and the U.S. Education Department, while the D.C. Council has repeatedly called for answers and accountability.

“We’ve seen a lot of dishonesty and a lot of people fudging the numbers,” said Council member David Grosso, head of the education committee, during a hearing last week. “Was it completely make-believe last year?”

Read the full article here.

How Do Districts Plan to Use Their ESSA Block Grant Money?

How Do Districts Plan to Use Their ESSA Block Grant Money?

Education Week logoMany districts are about to get a big boost in funding for the most flexible piece of the Every Student Succeeds Act: the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, better known as Title IV of the law. The program just got a big, $700 million boost from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018, bringing its total funding to $1.1 billion. And it could get even more money next year, because the House appropriations subcommittee in control of federal education spending is seeking $1.2 billion for the program in new legislation.

Districts can use Title IV funding for a wide range of activities that help students become safer and healthier, more well-rounded, or make better use of technology. And districts have a lot of leeway to customize Title IV to their needs. However, districts that get $30,000 or more must do a needs assessment, and spend at least 20 percent on an activity that makes students safer, and 20 percent on something that makes kids more well-rounded.

So how do districts plan to spend the money? Three education groups—AASA, the School Superintendents Association, the National Association of Federal Program Administrators, and Whiteboard Advisors—surveyed districts to find out. Since May, 622 districts have responded to the survey…

Read the full article here: May require an Education Week subscription.

Want more on Title IV? Check out this explainer. And if you want to dive even deeper, check out an archived version of this webinar.

Can Districts Use ESSA Funds to Buy Crossing Guard Signs?

Can Districts Use ESSA Funds to Buy Crossing Guard Signs?

Education Week logoHappy Monday! And welcome to the next edition of “Answering Your ESSA Questions.” Our next question comes Nick Scott, who works for an Arizona-based company that manufactures LED crossing guard signs for school districts. Scott wants to know, essentially, if districts can use their Every Student Succeeds Act dollars to purchase crossing guard signs. Scott noted that his company has evidence it can point to that these signs really work. (ESSA is all about evidence-based practices.)

The short answer: Most likely, yes.

The longer answer: If districts want to purchase these crossing guard signs, their best bet is using money from the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, aka Title IV Part A of ESSA. That’s one of the much closely watched K-12 federal programs these days, in part because the money can be used for almost anything under the sun, from drama classes to counseling services.

And the program just got a whopping $700 million boost in the most recent spending bill, bringing its funding to $1.1 billion for fiscal 2018.

Broadly, Title IV dollars are supposed to be geared to improving student health and safety, making students more well-rounded, or bolstering the use of technology in learning. Crossing guard signs could fit under that safety umbrella…

Read the full article here: May require an Education Week subscription.

House Votes to Cut Children’s Health Insurance Funding as Advocates Keep Watch

House Votes to Cut Children’s Health Insurance Funding as Advocates Keep Watch

Education Week logoLast week, the House of Representatives voted to approve a package revoking about $7 billion in funding reserved for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The decision hasn’t gone over well in the children’s advocacy community. But what’s next for this controversial proposal?

First, some background: The House vote last week dealt with a $15 billion “rescissions” package proposed earlier this year by President Donald Trump. The Trump team is seeking to slash the government’s bottom line—even though Trump signed a big spending increase into law for fiscal 2018. Most of the cuts would come from unspent federal funds.

Nearly half of that rescissions package, part of a bill that the House passed 210-206, comes from CHIP, which provides health care to kids from low-income families. As we reported earlier this year, $5.1 billion of the rescission would come out of a part of CHIP that reimburses states for certain expenses. Roughly $2 billion would be cut from CHIP reserves, which help states deal with higher-than-expected enrollment in the program. The Trump team has argued this unspent money is no longer needed. The rescissions would not impact current payments to states.

But when the Republican-controlled House moved to approve the rescission package, including the CHIP cut, opponents of the Trump administration’s move re-upped their previous criticisms of the proposal.

After House passage of the rescissions bill, Child Health USA, an initiative started by the child advocacy group First Focus, published a series of tweets blasting the vote:

Read the full article here: May require an Education Week subscription.

President’s Education Awards Program: A Celebration of Student Achievement and Hard Work in the Classroom

President’s Education Awards Program: A Celebration of Student Achievement and Hard Work in the Classroom

Dept. of Ed Blog logo

President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) student recipients are selected annually by their school principal. This year, PEAP provided individual recognition to nearly 3 million graduates (at the elementary, middle and high school level) across the nation at more than 30,000 public, private and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Outlying Areas — American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands — and American military bases abroad.

Students received a certificate signed by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Schools also received letters from the President and the Secretary.

The Department encourages schools to be on the lookout for 2018-19 school year materials from PEAP program partners: the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The materials outline how to order certificates to award students before the end of the school year. Certificates are FREE, and there is no limit.

Please review the participant list at to see if your school is currently involved. If not, contact your local school/principal and urge them to participate for the upcoming school year.

Background –

PEAP was founded in 1983. Every year since then, the program has provided principals with the opportunity to recognize students who meet high standards of academic excellence, as well as those who have given their best effort, often overcoming obstacles in their learning. Eligible graduating K-12 students are selected by their principal under two categories.

Certificate for President's Education Awards Program (PEAP) celebrating academic excellence.        Certificate for President's Education Awards Program (PEAP) celebrating academic achievement.

  • The President’s Award for Educational Excellence – This award recognizes academic success in the classroom. To be eligible, students must meet a few academic requirements, including a high grade point average or other school-set criteria and a choice of either state test performance or teacher recommendations.
  • The President’s Award for Educational Achievement – This award recognizes students that show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment, or intellectual development in their subjects but do not meet the academic criteria above. Its purpose is to encourage and reward students who give their best effort, often in the face of special obstacles, based on criteria developed at each school.

Recent School Celebrations –

At Fairland West Elementary School  in Ohio, Principal Teresa Johnson presented 51 fifth-grade students with the President’s Award for Educational Excellence on May 22. Johnson read the letter of congratulations from President Trump, and students received a gold-embossed certificate signed by the President and Secretary.

A picture of a group of about 50 fifth-grade students standing on bleachers holding their President's Education Achievement Program certificates.

The awards were presented to students by their fifth-grade homeroom teachers: Mrs. Sullivan, Mrs. Black, Mrs. Staggs, Miss Dillon, and Ms. Thompson.

Ombudsman Alternative Center in Mississippi serves high school-age students in Natchez School District who meet criterion and can take classes at their own pace to earn their high school diploma.  Two Natchez students were recognized by PEAP this year, receiving certificates for their academic achievements. Principal Allison Jowers announced the students’ awards in May at the local board meeting, saying both students had earned the honors through their hard work and dedication to education. Jaila Queen, a freshman, earned the academic excellence award, while Briana White, a senior, earned the educational achievement award.

Two Natchez students Jaila Queen (left) and Briana White (right) received awards signed by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for their academic success this year.

The program also receives great feedback throughout the year. From Long Pond Schoolin New Jerseywhich celebrated their students’ achievement on May 24: “This is the 34thyear that Long Pond has participated in this program, and it’s really exciting to be part of it.” Principal Bryan Fleming closed the event with the reading of the anonymous poem “Just One,” which speaks of the many ways a small effort can spark greatness. The poem ends with the lines, “One life can make a difference, that one life could be you.”

Frances Hopkins is director of the President’s Education Awards Program at the U.S. Department of Education.

U.S. Department of Education Announces New Website to Assist State Education Policy Makers Access ESSA Resources

U.S. Department of Education Announces New Website to Assist State Education Policy Makers Access ESSA Resources

The U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce the launch of the Comprehensive Center Network (CC Network) website. The CC Network website brings together a compilation of more than 700 resources developed by 23 Comprehensive Centers and over 200 projects currently underway in states across the country and makes searching by state or topic easier.

Through a single website, the CC Network portal, anyone interested in learning more of the broad range of education initiatives funded by the U. S. Department of Education, through the Department’s comprehensive centers, may examine the hundreds of efforts underway, or completed, through the nation’s network of centers.  Visit the site today at and follow CCN on Twitter for important website updates.