“Schools of Choice” and modern segregation

Zachary Barnes explores the roots of segregation during the early part of the 20th century in Lansing area schools, and how it compares to modern-day segregation — meaning those who have the privilege to, can transfer to another school, leaving a larger number of minority and economically disadvantaged without funding for resources. Segregation — “the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.” — Merriam Webster

Although it may not be segregation in the traditional sense, policies such as “red lining,” where minority neighborhoods were outlined in red on a city’s master plan meaning “high-risk” under rules laid out by the Federal Housing Administration. Both direct and indirect racism has lead to major inequities in the classroom. According to MSU education professors and non-profits that work to better education for minority students, these inequities have lead to resource gaps and unequal opportunity. A main reason for this, “Schools of Choice,” the process where families can choose to apply to another school district within the same region. It could be time to revisit the 1994 legislation as schools become increasingly segregated.

A portrait of a First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason card next to a cup of coffee, part of the church’s pay-it-forward campaign to fight stigma against marijuana users.

Fight for Cannabis Church “almost like a battlefield”

Listen to this story as an audio feature. Rev. Jeremy Hall led services every month until things went up in smoke in September. New legislation brought confusion and concern to his parishioners, and continuing services could put everyone in legal trouble. Hall is the leader of the First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason in Lansing, Mich. The church that views the drug spiritually but is viewed with uncertainty by city officials — that’s where Hall’s worries began.

Entrance to Lansing Catholic High School.

Four local high school students Skype with Colin Kaepernick

Back in October, four high school football players at Lansing Catholic Central High School kneeled during the national anthem. The players say head football coach Jim Ahern benched Michael Lynn III, Matthew Abdullah, Kabbash Richards and Roje Williams for their actions. But these students never thought taking a stance would end with a Skype from one of their idols. “I just got off a Skype with Colin Kaepernick, any negative comments that are thrown at me, literally, it couldn’t affect me,” Lynn III said. The video chat was on Dec.

Assumptions vs. reality: Classroom budgets leave teachers to cover deficits

Instead of the harsh white light of the fluorescents, the light pouring from Alexa Weatherwax’s second grade classroom is the soft glow of old-fashioned incandescent string lights and paper lanterns she purchased for her classroom. This year, the only money Weatherwax spent out of pocket was on a travel Q-tip container for her students’ vocabulary words.

Weatherwax’s experience, however, is atypical and illustrates the starkness in realities between suburban and urban public schools, mostly White versus mostly Black school districts. According to the non-profit AdoptAClassroom.org’s national survey, 91 percent of teachers purchase school supplies for their students. The report goes on to say, on average, teachers in the United States spend $600 out of pocket each year on classroom supplies.

City Rescue Mission of Lansing provides more than shelter

Located on Cedar St. about two miles south of the capitol sits a rather unassuming brick building, however, on the inside, it is anything but. The City Rescue Mission of Lansing provides more than just food and a roof to sleep under, but hope to people in a difficult situation. Since 1911, City Rescue has a long and storied history serving the capital area as a nonprofit Christian ministry, operating solely on private donations. Laura Grimwood, the director of communications, has seen significant growth since she started working at City Rescue, particularly in the individual counseling and case management offered to guests of the shelter.

Lansing Catholic players Skype Colin Kaepernick

Lansing, Mich.- Michael Lynn III, Matthew Abdullah, Kabbash Richards and Roje Williams created controversy earlier this year when they took a knee during the national anthem at one of their Lansing Catholic football games. All four players received some kind of discipline from the school and were benched during the football game. The Lansing Catholic students did it to protest social injustice and it caught Colin Kaepernick’s attention. Last weekend, the boys skyped Kaepernick for 20 minutes and talked about their actions. 

“He showed me to be courageous and to stand up for what I believe in,” Richards said. 

Kaepernick came under scrutiny last year when he didn’t stand for the national anthem during an NFL game, a protest for what he says is police brutality against young African Americans. This caused a nation-wide protest, some saying it was blatant disrespect for the flag, but it also sparked a movement by others, including these four students.