Category: Community Written by Mlive
DETROIT — McDonald's fast food restaurant workers went on strike at 6 a.m. Friday to protest low wages, says Charles Williams II, one of the organizers.
Williams, pastor of King Solomon Baptist church and the Michigan leader of Al Sharpton's National Action Network, said via phone at 8:30 a.m. Friday that nearly 14 workers, some on-duty, joined the protest in front of the McDonald's located at 14271 Gratiot on Detroit's east side. Click Here For Complete Story
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 09:59
Category: Community - Original Written by Buddy Morehouse
On May 6, the Michigan Association of Public Charter School Academies invited educators, parents and city officials to see the premier of a poignant documentary about one families quest for quality education.
As the film opens, it’s the last day of school at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, a new charter school in northwest Detroit. It’s Aug. 3, 2012 – late in the summer, since JRLA has a year-round schedule – and students and staff have gathered for an end-of-year picnic. School founder Jalen Rose hands out awards to two students who had perfect attendance. The school was in session 211 days and these two students were there for all 211.
The film then gives an overview of what this school actually is – a publicly funded charter school. The scene may look familiar but the school itself is quite different.
Jalen Rose (and others) tell the story of how the school came to be: How they worked with Central Michigan to get the school authorized. How they struggled to find a facility. How they worked with MAPSA to navigate the process.
Viewers then meet a Detroit family that has been struggling to find the right school for their daughter. Irving and Tanisha Bailey are proud graduates of the Detroit Public Schools and their daughter, Unique, has been attending a DPS school since kindergarten. But as she enters high school, they’re frustrated with the situation in DPS – overcrowded classrooms, violence, chaos. They want more for Unique. Irving Bailey sees a TV report about JRLA and he decides to learn more about the school. The Baileys take a liking to JRLA and decide to enroll Unique.
However, the Baileys soon learn enrollment is not a simple task. In order to get Unique into the Jalen rose Leadership9 Academy, they will literally have to win the lottery. There are only 120 spots available and more than 130 students are vying for those spots.
Dramatic footage of the lottery itself is shown. The Baileys are sitting in the front row, the officials start pulling names. Fifty names are called, then 60, then 70. Then 100. Unique’s name still hasn’t been called. With only a few spots left, Unique’s name is finally called. Her mother overjoyed and begins to hug everyone in sight – including Rose.
The film then goes on to the first day of school, Sept. 12, 2011. As the 120 new students gather in the auditorium for an assembly, Rose speaks to the students and sets the tone for the new school. As he sees two students talking and joking during his speech, he pulls one of the terrified boys out of the audience and makes him come on stage.
“Read this,” Jalen says. It’s a statistic listing how many ninth graders in Detroit aren’t at grade level for math. “Ninety percent,” the boy mumbles. “Say it louder,” Jalen says. “Ninety percent! That’s how many of you aren’t prepared for ninth grade in math. We’ve got work to do.” The message has been delivered, and the tone for the new school is set.
As the year goes on, viewers see scenes of other charter school life:
Saturday school: On a rainy day in March, when other kids across Detroit are home watching TV, the students at JRLA are in school. Unique Bailey presents a report in history class about the Holocaust.
A board meeting: Rose chairs a meeting of the JRLA School Board as they discuss budget and other matters. Ed Roth of Central Michigan University, sits in the front row as part of the oversight process.
The second school lottery: As the 2012-13 school year approaches, a lottery has to be held to fill one opening in the school’s 10th grade class. Another very dramatic lottery scene, with another very happy mother.
Summer School: The school is open on a blistering hot summer day in July 2012. As other kids across Detroit are at the pool or hanging out, the students at JRLA are in school. Unique and a partner are working on a children’s book about math.
The film wraps up on the last day of school – where the documentary started. Unique’s mom expresses great joy at the academic growth her daughter has experienced. Unique says “summer school wasn’t fun but I knows it was good for me.”
Just before the ending credits roll, viewers learn Unique was one of 12 students to end the school year with a perfect 4.0 GPA. As she gets ready to start her sophomore year, she’s been elected vice president of the Student Council.
The Bailey family is happy.
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013 21:06
Category: Community - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
World-renowned leaders to speak at Roberts Riverwalk Hotel
Detroit, MI—Community business leaders can access the knowledge and experience of world-renowned leaders by attending Chick-fil-A ® Leadercast® at Roberts Riverwalk Hotel in Detroit on May 10, 2013. Chick-fil-A® Leadercast® is a one-day leader development event broadcast LIVE from Atlanta, Ga. to hundreds of sites throughout the nation, including Detroit. Speakers for this year’s event include:
Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric
Andy Stanley, Best-selling leadership author and communicator
Mike Krzyzewski, Head men’s basketball coach, Duke University and Team USA
John Maxwell, Best-selling author and leadership expert
Dr. Henry Cloud, Best-selling author and leadership consultant
LCDR Rorke Denver, Navy SEAL and star of the 2012 movie Act of Valor Sanya Richards-Ross, 2012 London Olympic gold medalist, track & field
David Allen, Best-selling author of Getting Things Done and productivity expert
Condolezza Rice, Secretary of State (2005-2009) , via exclusive Simply Lead video interview Last year, over 100,000 leaders from 14 countries attended Chick-fil-A® Leadercast®.
In its 14th year, this full day, experiential conference is predicted to reach its largest audience to date. “It is one of the single most consolidated sources of leadership that I know of,” said Jay Rayford, founder of RepYourCity.com and Social Sushi Detroit “But it goes beyond that.
I think this conference, although very focused on leadership, transcends the topic and really shows you how to lead in life.” This year our program will focus on the idea of simply leading. Our lives are full of things that we think will grow our businesses and increase our influence. What if there was potential impact in simplifying our lives so that our leadership could thrive?
Leading in a complex world requires simplicity to cut through the clutter. This diverse group of internationally-acclaimed authors, leadership experts and practitioners will share insights to help leaders learn how to Simply Lead.
For more information about Chick-fil-A® Leadercast®, visit http://www.chick-fil-aleadercast.com/location/1739
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:32
Category: Community - Original Written by Dr. John William Covington, Chancellor, Education Achievement Authority of Michigan
“The idea of hoping someone fails is a little mind boggling to me. These children deserve the best. “
That was the reaction of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Monday when he was asked about the bitter and often misleading attempts by some critics to destroy the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA).
“Obviously I’m just in for a day,” Duncan, who has seen schools all over the U.S., told reporters at Brenda Scott Elementary/Middle School, “but talking to some of the young children today at this school compared to last year, they feel safer, they’re learning more. They feel they’re in an environment where they have a chance to be successful.”
The question is why some members of the Legislature and other critics are so dead-set on denying children this opportunity and on misrepresenting the EAA in the process.
For instance, in a letter he hand-delivered to Sec. Duncan, State Sen. Bert Johnson alleged that “the EAA has received two $6 million loans from the already cash-strapped Detroit Public Schools (DPS).” That is simply not true and what is worse, Sen. Johnson knows it is not true. The loans were from the State of Michigan to the EAA with DPS merely served as a conduit for the money. Not a dime of DPS funds were involved. In addition, DPS was paid interest plus an $88,000 fee just to process the loan.
We borrowed those funds from the state because we began operations last July 1, hired more than 400 teachers and conducted a month-long training session for them in August and then started school in September while not receiving our first state school aid foundation allowance payment until late October. Now that we are receiving regular state funding we are balancing our funds, have repaid all but $2.6 million of the loan from the state and will have completed the repayment in July.
The truth is that what we have accomplished in less than a year represents a remarkable leap forward in educating children who were being underserved by a broken system.
When we opened our doors in September we had more than 10,000 students who had been attending failing schools – schools that ranked at the bottom for the entire state of Michigan. We started out by testing each student to determine where they were academically. Only 2% of elementary and middle school students coming into the EAA were proficient in math — none in the sixth grade — and only 18% were proficient in reading. No one can defend schools that produce those results.
We then took those test results and developed an individual plan for each student so that the work they are doing in school is fitted to their own achievement level. If the student is reading at the 2nd grade level, his or her reading assignments are at the 2nd grade level. As the student improves to the third and 4th grade level, the reading assignments are elevated. He or she doesn’t have to wait a year to go to the next level. They advance at their own speed.
A fundamental part of the student-centered approach to education is regular testing of students to make sure their work continues to match their achievement level. We use these tests to adjust each student’s educational plan, moving students who are achieving forward and determining what needs to be done to work with those who are making slower progress.
The second set of tests were administered in late January and February of this year. After just four months under the new system, more than 27 percent of EAA students in grades 2 through 9 already had achieved one full year’s growth or more in reading and 22 percent had already achieved one or more year’s growth in mathematics.
The most significant growth was in high school mathematic scores for grades 9 and 10, where 40 percent of students already had achieved one or more year’s growth and an additional 16 percent were on track to achieve one or more year's growth by the final assessment in late June.
We are testing the students again now to determine their progress and will be releasing those test results once they are completed.
In addition to the overall test results, we have experienced so many inspiring individual stories of young people who in past years have been disengaged and created discipline problems who are now engaged and eagerly learning. It’s proof on a very fundamental level that children, no matter what background they come from, want to learn, can learn and will learn if they are provided the right environment and support system. That is what student-centered learning can accomplish.
You would think that people professing to care about urban students would welcome this increase in student performance. You would think they would want to encourage it, not look for ways to nit-pick it to death or argue about peripheral issues and attempt to return students to the old schools that have been failing them. It’s a sad commentary when we fail to want for other children what we would demand for our own.
Has everything gone smoothly? Of course not. We are, after all, a start-up operation with 15 schools, more than 400 teachers and 10,000 students. Any new organization of that size is going to have hiccups. The question is whether you work cooperatively to fix those hiccups and keep moving forward, or you use them to nit-pick and try to destroy the progress that is being made.
In his remarks to reporters Duncan said “All I know is that these are schools that have underperformed, in some cases, for decades in which the status quo is unacceptable. We all need to work together so if there are things the EAA can do better, absolutely, let’s bring it to the table. If there are things the Detroit Public Schools can do better absolutely we need to bring that to the table. But if someone is hoping a set of schools fail here then that is just a different mindset than one I understand.”
That hoping for failure is not a mindset that we at the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan understand, either. The schools that are part of the EAA were failing before they became a part of the EAA. Now they are showing early clear and welcome signs of success. We are determined to expand on that success.
The shame is that those who should welcome this improvement for the kids who need it most are wedded so resolutely to the old, failed status quo. Our kids deserve better from them. They deserve for us to fight for their chance to succeed in life – to create an environment, as Secretary Duncan put it so well, “where they have a chance to be successful.”
Each of us at the EAA is working every day to see that is exactly what they get.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:57
Category: Community - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
(SOUTHFIELD, Mich.) – The city of Southfield will commemorate Memorial Day on Friday, May 24 at 9 a.m. on the front steps of Southfield City Hall, 26000 Evergreen Road.
The program will include remarks from Mayor Brenda L. Lawrence and Daniel Brightwell, president of the Southfield Veterans Commission. The ceremony will also include a presentation of colors; 21-Gun Salute; Southfield-Lathrup High School Advanced Choir performance; and the playing of "Taps." Pastor Larry Jordan of Family Victory Fellowship Church will provide the invocation and benediction. Light refreshments will be available in City Hall following the ceremony.
For more information, contact Southfield Community Relations at (248) 796-5130.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 15:28
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