New college program trains clean energy technicians

By JORDAN BRADLEY

Capital News Service

LANSING – Alpena Community College is developing a bachelor’s degree in electrical systems technology.

Jay Walterreit, director of public information and marketing at Alpena, said the community college is hoping to have the program running by August 2016.

The “rigorous” program’s curriculum is awaiting accreditation. Unlike the other energy technician programs available at Alpena, the program will qualify a student with a bachelor’s degree.

Walterreit said that there would not be much overlap between existing programs and the new program, except a few prerequisites.
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Community college online classes soon available statewide

By JORDAN BRADLEY

Capital News Service

LANSING — The Michigan Community College Association, or MCCA, is working on a system that will give people students in remote areas of Michigan access to all online online courses available at community colleges in the state.

Residents in sprawling Michigan’s sprawling areas, like much of the Upper Peninsula, have larger distances to travel to reach a community college’s campus.

“Fifty percent of the land mass in Michigan is not in a community college district—that means within 30 to 40 miles,” Michael Hansen, president of the MCCA, said.
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State, schools reduce special ed teacher shortage

By JORDAN BRADLEY
Capital News Service

LANSING – As the Michigan Consortium for Teacher Endorsement for Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Visually Impairment gains interest, more teachers will be prepared for jobs in high-shortage areas.

To address shortages in specific areas of special education, the Department of Education partnered with 14 colleges and universities across the state and country to create the consortium in 2012.

It offers classes online and seminars for teachers to earn an additional endorsement for education students in grades K-12. The endorsement would take an average of two years to complete.
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Too many teachers? Not enough? Both

By JORDAN BRADLEY

Capital News Service

LANSING – The Department of Education is working on solutions to Michigan’s teacher shortage.

A number of factors led to the K-12 education system shortage, the state superintendent of public instruction, Michael Flanagan said.

These include the poor economy and recent graduates leaving to teach out of state, but what some people may not consider is that college students are learning to teach in subjects that don’t need more teachers.
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Some Michigan universities make top-100 list in minority degrees

By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Two universities in the state are among the top 100 nationally in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American and Native American students, according to a new survey.

The University of Michigan ranked 62nd and Michigan State ranked 87th for the 2012-13 academic year.

For master’s degrees, U of M, Central Michigan and Wayne State appeared in the top 100. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, U of M and Wayne State made the top 100 for professional degrees in fields — like law, divinity and medicine – and for doctorates.

Cooley and University of Detroit Mercy are the only private institutions in the state to make any of the lists.
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Dozens of school districts running in the red, state says

By IAN K. KULLGREN

Capital News Service

LANSING — Nearly 50 school districts and public charter schools across the state ended last year with a deficit, according to the Department of Education, prompting action from state officials and legislators.

Although the state expects many of those districts and schools were expected to eliminate or at least reduce their deficits by the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 30, 22 are projected to slip even further into the red.

One of the financially direst situations involves Benton Harbor Area Schools, which has a 50 percent deficit — meaning the district is only taking in half the revenue it needs to cover expenses— the result of bleeding enrollment that means less per-pupil state aid.
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Undocumented immigrants face higher tuition at some Michigan colleges and universities

By DARCIE MORAN

Capital News Service

LANSING — A college acceptance letter isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

For many undocumented immigrants in Michigan and their children, the application process is just one hurdle on the road to a college education.

“They’ve invested so much in their education but when they come to go to college, that’s when the road closes on them,” said Jose Franco, founder of One Michigan, a Detroit-based group that works for immigrant rights.

Some Michigan public universities offer in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. But many four-year colleges and most community colleges don’t – even though students may have lived their entire life in the state.

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Preparation for trades could count toward graduation under proposed legislation

By ASHLEY WEIGEL

Capital News Service

LANSING — High school students could learn algebra while working with metal under legislation pending in the Senate.

The bills sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, would give students more flexibility in classes they could take in high school. They could take an agricultural science or anatomy class in place of the traditional second year science class, swap a foreign language class for an industrial art class and fulfill the Algebra II requirement with classes that incorporate the material differently.

The Michigan Merit Curriculum enacted in 2006 allows little flexibility for students to explore a career field, McBroom said.

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New concussion rules take the field in June

By CELESTE BOTT

Capital News Service

LANSING – Michigan will soon require K-12 schools to create awareness programs to educate coaches, parents and athletes on the perils of sports concussions.

Meanwhile, the effort to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms and consequences of concussions is growing statewide.

A concussion is a serious brain injury caused by a blow to the head. It often happens to participants in sports or other recreational activities.
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Schools look bad while doing good

By JUSTINE McGUIRE

Capital News Service

LANSING – On-time high school graduation rates are down in Leelanau County, but is that a bad thing?

2011 graduation statistics look worse in Leelanau County, but it’s because Suttons Bay High School has taken on at-risk students whom the district knows won’t graduate in the standard four years, said Principal Raphael Rittenhouse.

He said other districts around the state try to get at-risk students to drop out before they bring down graduations statistics – before ninth grade – or send them to alternative schools for the same reason.
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