Category: Community - Original Written by Kurt Weiss
Lansing – The statewide 4-year graduation rates for students expected to graduate last spring increased to 76.24 percent, up 1.9 percent from the 2011 rate of 74.33 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI).
“These numbers reflect the highest rates we have seen since we started reporting the data using a cohort methodology,” said CEPI Director Thomas Howell. “This methodology allows us to track individual students from the first time they enroll as ninth-graders and has resulted in a more accurate measure of high school success for our students.”
More than 53 percent of Michigan’s school districts saw higher graduation rates, including many of the largest districts. Detroit City School District showed noticeable improvement, boosting its rate by a full 5 percent, from 59.7 percent to 64.7 percent. Of the 14 school districts with 1,000 or more students in the senior class, all but three improved their graduation rates between 2011 and 2012.
The largest increase in graduation rates throughout a 5-year period were seen in several racial and ethnic groups. Rates for black students reached 59.93 percent last year, an increase of 3.64 percent since 2008. Hispanic student rates were at 64.3 percent, up 3.97 percent. This year’s rate reflects that 73.52 percent of multiracial students graduated in four years, increasing the annual rate by 3.52 percent since 2008.
“This is more positive news for Michigan public schools,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This is reflective of how our teachers and students are succeeding with the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum and being better prepared to continue Michigan’s economic comeback. We must stay on this positive course and keep our standards high and Michigan Merit Curriculum intact.”
Four-year graduation rates are an important school accountability measure adopted by the state and aligned with the National Governors Association Graduation Counts Compact. CEPI also publishes additional valuable information about students who stayed in school longer to earn a diploma in five or six years, found at www.mischooldata.org.
The website provides parents, educators, and policymakers with multiple levels of school data. After clicking on Student Counts/Grad Rates, visitors can perform inquiries by school, district, intermediate school district, or statewide, as well as compare one to another. The site provides 4-year, 5-year, and 6-year graduation rates by gender, race/ethnicity, or by the following demographic categories: economically disadvantaged, English language learners, homeless, migrant, and students with disabilities.
CEPI is a division of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. It was established under the State School Aid Act to coordinate the collection, management, and reporting of all public education data required by state and federal law, in a manner that reduces the administrative burden on reporting entities, complies with privacy laws, and provides useful reports to policymakers, educators, and residents. CEPI is leading efforts to collect and connect longitudinal data that follows students from preschool through postsecondary education and into the workforce, enabling the evaluation of approaches that improve outcomes for Michigan students.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 07:23
Category: Community - Original Written by Patrica Hubbell
Graceful elm trees once lined the streets of Detroit, forming vaulted tunnels of shade through most neighborhoods. But that all changed when the Dutch elm beetle arrived in the United States in 1930 and pretty much wiped out most of Detroit’s tree canopy by 1980.
The next major devastation to the city’s tree canopy occurred around 2002 when the Emerald Ash Borer beetle wreaked havoc on metro Detroit’s ash tree population, killing tens of millions of these trees.
In a city on the brink of financial disaster, there are few funds to reforest the streets. The consequences of this are significant because trees play such an important role in protecting the environment. They help clean the air, provide shade and cooling in the summer, reduce carbon emissions and help fight climate change. In addition, there is research indicating that neighborhoods with healthy tree canopies have lower crime rates.
For example, a recent study by the U.S. Forest Service shows that trees might actually help reduce crime in big cities. The study was focused on certain districts in the city of Portland, Oregon, and examined the connection between neighborhoods with large tree canopies and crime. After two years of the study, researchers concluded that areas with more tree coverage had lower violent crime rates.
Along with Portland, many other cities around the nation have found a pattern that the more vegetation a neighborhood has, the lower the crime rate. According to urban forestry and urban greening research, “the presence of trees and well-maintained lower understory vegetation can transform barren spaces lands into pleasant, welcoming, well-used places. Such common spaces serve to strengthen ties among residents, increase informal surveillance and deter crime, thereby creating healthier, safer urban communities.
Perhaps Detroit and other high-crime cities need to add a reforestation component to their crime-fighting plans. Safer streets may become an added benefit to the newly released Future Detroit plan.
Editor’s note: Patricia Hubbell is director of marketing for The Greening of Detroit. She previously was a communications planner for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 13:37
Category: Community - Original Written by Hiram E. Jackson, Michigan Chronicle Publisher
The loss of a life to senseless acts of violence is hard to cope with, but it is exceptionally hard when we have to own up to our own culpability. black on black violence has become our community’s ill-hidden dirty little secret.
Of the 386 criminal homicides in Detroit reported in 2012, 88 percent were committed within our own homes.
Our silence regarding Detroit’s ever-escalating homicide rate gives the appearance of a “what happens in our neighborhoods stays in our neighborhoods”-type pact among city residents, the majority of whom are innocent law-abiding citizens.
There has to be a point where the black community says enough is enough. We cannot continue to remain sedentary and silent as these horrific acts continue unabated.
Bullets are becoming the most common and deadly form of conflict resolution in our homes, neighborhoods and schools. In order to stop the violence, we need to begin to engage in more open dialogue.
First, we have to understand the numbers:
Two-thirds of homicides in Detroit are drug-related. The majority of others result from conflicts between domestic partners, friends and acquaintances.
And, we need to reduce them — fast.
Nearly 50 percent of Detroit’s homicide cases remain unsolved due to community silence about the victim-offender relationship and other pertinent insights about the perpetrators, according to David Martin, director of the Urban Safety Program at Wayne State University in Detroit.
The Detroit Police Department needs us to immediately share information about criminal activity and will be making it easier for citizens to report crimes over their personal computers and smartphones with “Cop Logic,” to be introduced this month.
Even with this newest tool at our disposal, we need to recognize that they only work when we use them. We’ve got to break our collective code of silence in order to break out of this urban genocide.
Finally, we need to immediately employ and support better conflict resolution methods.
As part of an ongoing effort to heighten awareness about the effects of murder in the Black community, the Michigan Chronicle will publish a list of homicides in the city each month. It is our hope that as the list of victims grows, so will a true understanding of how these lost lives affect the mental health, economic well-being and images of our neighborhoods. As important, we pledge additional support to Mayor Bing, the Detroit Police Department, other enforcement agencies, DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts and community-based conflict resolution groups and efforts in print and digital editions of the Michigan Chronicle.
The violence will end when we demand its end. Let’s begin now.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 15:12
Category: Community - Original Written by C.L. Price
Stop the blame game. That’s the message of Luther Keith, the executive director of ARISE Detroit, a 400-member neighborhood advocacy organization.
“Despite the many marches, various protests and prayer vigils surrounding the issue of community homicide and violence — it persists, seemingly unabated by our actions,” says Keith.
“We’ve blamed everyone from gun makers and movie makers to city officials and law enforcement agencies, ” he states. “The only finger that hasn’t been pointed yet is the one at our selves.”
“If we want to change the perception of Detroit as the wild, wild West, we need to encourage residents and move them toward a new frontier dominated by entire communities standing up to peaceably face down criminals,” he notes.
Yes, more police officers and curtailing ownership of illegal guns is needed, according to Keith, who supports Mayor Dave Bing’s call to reinforce the value of life and discourage behaviors that support violence and reckless use of firearms.
Keith advocates that the best anti-crime programs are those that begin at home with the lessons of respect, honor and decency that demand we stop accepting violence as a way of life in our community.
“We have to stop making excuses for criminal activity and, more importantly, stop looking the other way when it occurs,” he states, even when the activity begins in our own homes, schools and neighborhoods.
All over Detroit, in groups of various kinds, people are beginning to make it clear that they are fed up with violence. It is this kind of holistic community response the must be sustained and elevated according to Keith.
To truly solve the violence piece, we need a ‘community values’ transformation — which is easier said than done.
“We have to change the mindset of our young people,” noted community activist Yusef Shakur in an ARISE Detroit! interview earlier this year. Shakur, who has seen life inside and outside the prison system, stresses the values of the people on the street are not like our values. “Violence and revenge are what they know,” he states.
Of course, teen violence is not the only problem in Detroit. Most of Detroit’s senseless killings are at the hands of adults, who have ‘beefs’ with others or simply resort to violence as a means of addressing their own personal insecurities.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in Detroit. Keith promises ARISE Detroit! will be at the helm of a soon to be announced effort to significantly reduce crime in Detroit through improved neighborhood watch programs, recreation programs, and community economic development efforts to conflict resolution and reporting efforts.
“This is not a one man or one organization effort,” says Keith. Are you in?
Editor’s Note: To learn more about ARISE Detroit! visit: www.arisedetroit.org
Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 13:29
Category: Community - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
MARVIN BEATTY, JOEL FERGUSON AND EARVIN “MAGIC” JOHNSON RECEIVE NOD TO DEVELOP STATE FAIR GROUNDS
(Detroit) Thursday, February 7, 2013 -- Today, a group of investors got the nod from the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority to develop the 157 acre State Fair site located east of Woodward and south of 8 Mile road. The group, called Magic Plus, consists of Basketball Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Michigan State University Trustee Joel Ferguson and Detroit mogul Marvin Beatty. Management company Redico is also involved in the project.
The group plans to convert the historically designated site into a luxury theater, entertainment complex, mixed retail condos and senior housing. An Amtrak station is also part of the plans. Total investment is slated to be $160 million.
“It is an honor to have been chosen to develop what was once one of Detroit’s jewels,” said Beatty. “As a native Detroiter, I am committed to be a part of the movement to redevelop this great city.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2013 20:22
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