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New Detroit school superintendent Nikolai Vitti addresses reporters outside a teacher hiring fair on his first full day in the job.

New Detroit school superintendent Nikolai Vitti addresses reporters outside a teacher hiring fair on his first full day in the job.

Erin Einhorn

Week in review: New Detroit schools superintendent makes the rounds at Mackinac and 6 more things you should know about Detroit schools

Detroit school news this week was dominated by new Detroit schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti as he made the rounds at the Mackinac policy conference.

Chalkbeat was covering education news at the conference and the Education Writers Association seminar in Washington. If you haven’t heard, Senior Detroit Correspondent Erin Einhorn won a national first place award for beat reporting at the EWA for her work covering Detroit schools. She also won the prestigious Ronald Moskowitz prize for Outstanding Beat Reporting. Join us in congratulating her.

WHO KNOWS? New Detroit schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti was getting advice at every turn during his first full week on the job. At a state policy conference, he said it was “miraculous” that educators could still do good work after experiencing years of “trauma.” One editorial said building strong relationships was key to Vitti’s success, and he traveled to Lansing to get advice from lawmakers about the Detroit district. An opinion writer proposed that academics, low enrollment and dealing with empty buildings should be among Vitti’s first priorities.

TEACHER COMPENSATION: Vitti hopes to attack a teacher shortage that resembles the talent shortage many industries face by likely giving a small pay bump to teachers in the new contract and eliminating administrative positions to move teachers back into the classroom. One columnist writes that teachers might be motivated to stay in the profession if they received better pay, more job satisfaction and more support from the community and lawmakers.

PENSION DEBATE: A newspaper editorial supports a Republican plan that would close the teachers pension system statewide to new members. An analysis shows that closing the teacher pension system to new hires would cost billions.

HOPE STARTS HERE: Two major Michigan foundations gathered business and political leaders  at the policy conference to discuss strategies to “strengthen early childhood outcomes.” Good child care starts earlier than traditional preschool according to one study. Parents can rate the quality of their child’s learning center or home through a new online tool. Use the tool to pick an early learning center for your baby or young child.

COUNTING CHICKENS: A Michigan research organization reports that the “fresh” start given last year to Detroit’s main school district belies hidden problems that could hinder the district’s progress.

COME AGAIN: Detroit’s mayor wants revive a proposal for a Detroit Education Commission that would oversee and coordinate all schools in the city including district and charter schools. An effort to create such a commission last year had the support of Detroit political leaders but encountered strong opposition in the state house.

SENTENCED: A former Detroit schools principal will go to prison for two years in a kickback scheme