Rise & Shine

Rise & Shine: Can Detroit be the ‘best city in America’ for teachers?

Good morning!

Teachers were scrambling this week to get their classrooms ready for the first day of school on Tuesday. Parents were washing uniforms and gathering school supplies, and kids were cramming in their last few days of summer freedom. But here at Chalkbeat, we were trying this week to keep up with a torrent of education news.

There was the big announcement of a new citywide push to lure teachers to Detroit with discount cars and mortgages. There was the flood of stories and analysis on the disappointing M-STEP and SAT scores released by the state, and there was the news that all district schools are shutting down their water fountains after tests raised concerns about possible high levels of lead or copper in pipes. We also had a story about community leaders trying to spread the word to parents about a new state law that in 2020 will require schools to hold back most third-graders who aren’t reading at grade level.

Catch up on all of the above — and a lot more — before starting your holiday weekend. And if you’re going back to school on Tuesday, please drop us a line or send us a photo. Tell us what’s going well — and what could use a little attention. Until then, enjoy the weekend!

— Erin Einhorn, Bureau Chief


Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox, or forward to a friend who cares about public education.


TEACH A new citywide effort funded by business and philanthropy to recruit, support, and celebrate teachers aims to fill vacancies and improve teaching in all schools. Chalkbeat Detroit Free Press The Detroit News Crain’s WDIV

SCORES Despite a few bright spots, most of the news from this year’s M-STEP and SAT scores was pretty discouraging. A lower percentage of students passed the exams compared to last year and schools that were targeted for closure have not been meeting improvement targets. Chalkbeat Bridge The Detroit News AP Detroit Free Press Michigan Radio

RANKINGS These schools had the highest scores in the state. MLive Detroit Free Press

OPINIONS Low scores prompted calls for statewide education reforms. Detroit Free Press The Detroit News

WORRY The state’s tough new third-grade reading law takes effect in the 2019-20 school year, but advocates worry that few parents realize that thousands of children in Detroit and across the state could be held back. Chalkbeat

READING State education officials say they’re making progress on early childhood literacy. Michigan Radio

WATER The main Detroit district is providing bottled water “out of an abundance of caution” to all of its 100+ schools after tests found elevated levels of lead or copper in most of the schools that were tested. Detroit Free Press Crain’s The Detroit News NBC MLive WDIV Wall Street Journal Reuters The Washington Post

AP TESTS In a story about a record number of female, black and Latino students taking Advanced Placement computer science exams this year, a national newspaper highlighted a class at a top Detroit high school. USA Today  

EARLY ED New studies offer a sobering look at child care costs in Michigan that exceed college tuition. Bridge

PLAYGROUND Community groups are working together to rebuild a playground that was destroyed by arson. WDIV

SECURITY Schools across the state are vying for school security funds from a state police fund. Applicants can apply for up to $1 million of a $25 million pot. WNEM

CHARTERS Nine new charter schools are opening in Michigan this fall including one in Detroit. WXYZ

WORKSHOPS One of the state’s largest charter school authorizers is offering workshops with a national charter school institute to help small independent charter schools find buildings and get off the ground. Mackinac Center

TEACHER PAY The leader of one Michigan school district explains why a state law requiring districts to give merit pay to its best teachers creates challenges for schools. Michigan Capitol Confidential