Michigan Earn and Learn: An Outcome & Implementation Evaluation of a Transitional Job and Training Program

Community and Economic Development, Education and Literacy, Employment and Labor

Michigan Earn and Learn: An Outcome & Implementation Evaluation of a Transitional Job and Training Program

While the Great Recession introduced unemployment and underemployment to the masses, its significant negative trends aggravated already declining rates of employment in Michigan, particularly among less-educated, young, male, and minority individuals, who were then also hit hardest by the recession. As the nation began to slowly recover after the recession, Michigan continued struggling to find an economic foothold.

The State of Michigan, along with private funders, responded with the Michigan Earn and Learn program, with the goal of creating opportunities for people facing barriers to employment to pursue education and occupational training that could help them get ahead.

This evaluation report of the Michigan Earn and Learn transitional jobs program was commissioned by The Joyce Foundation on behalf of the State of Michigan.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Saginaw County-Saginaw, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Genesee County-Flint, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan

Afterschool in Action: Innovative Afterschool Programs Supporting Middle School Youth

Arts and Culture, Education and Literacy, Parenting and Families

Afterschool in Action: Innovative Afterschool Programs Supporting Middle School Youth

This report, released by Afterschool Alliance in partnership with MetLife Foundation, highlights the work of quality afterschool programs that support children, families and communities across the nation.

This compendium is a compilation of four issue briefs examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. This series explores afterschool and: arts enrichment, parent engagement, school improvement and digital learning. The compendium also includes in-depth profiles of the 2012 Afterschool Innovator Award winners, as well as highlights from 2008-2011 award winners.

The 2012 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Award winners are:

  • The Wooden Floor, Santa Ana, CA

  • Latino Arts Strings & Mariachi Juvenil, Milwaukee, WI

  • Kid Power Inc., The VeggieTime Project, Washington, D.C.

  • Parma Learning Center, Parma, ID

  • Green Energy Technologies in the City, Lansing, MI

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Ingham County-Lansing, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee, North America-United States (Western)-California-Orange County-Santa Ana, North America-United States (Western)-Idaho-Canyon County-Parma

Review of Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education

Education and Literacy

Review of Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education

A review of the Brookings Institution report, Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education finds that it relies on a limited body of research, misstates key issues and makes some recommendations not supported by the evidence. The review, by Western Michigan University professor Gary Miron, was produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education, with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The Brookings report consists of a summary of evidence from five studies of student achievement in oversubscribed charter schools, plus two studies about charter school revenues. It also draws on information from exchanges between the six co-authors at a day-long Brookings conference. It ends with recommendations intended to help shape the federal role in charter school policy.

The evidence presented on student achievement suggests that charter schools are more effective at raising student achievement in popular urban charter schools. The evidence presented on revenues suggests that charter schools are short-changed in terms of the funding they receive.

Miron points out that the five studies of student achievement in oversubscribed charter schools cited in the report, "cannot validly be generalized to less-popular charter schools." Overall, the research on charter student achievement is much less positive. Even more troubling, he finds that the two studies on charter school funding cited in the report are used to justify recommendations that are "poorly developed and based on a narrow and misleading view of the evidence."

Miron criticizes the Brookings report for unquestioningly accepting the assertion by charter advocates that charter schools get some 20% less per pupil in public revenues than traditional public schools. In truth, he explains, "differences in revenues can largely be explained by higher spending by traditional public schools for special education, student support services, transportation, and food services." Moreover, there is great variation within the charter sector. Contrary to the Brookings recommendation, Miron concludes, "Recommendations regarding charter school finance should be targeted at the creation of better state funding formulas that are more sensitive to the diverse programs schools offer and the diverse needs of students that schools serve."

As a result of the shortcomings of its data and analyses, the report's recommendations related to charter school facilities and charter school finance inappropriately support policies intended to expand the number of charter schools in the short run at the expense of policies that will strengthen charter schools in the longer run.

The report is on stronger ground, Miron finds, in three areas: its call for the federal government to support and encourage the collection of more data and for charter school lotteries to be overseen by independent agencies; its proposal to set aside a portion of federal charter school funding for charter school authorizers and to make federal charter school funding contingent on rigorous oversight; and its call for a careful examination of unintended consequences in existing federal regulations on charter schools.

In the end, Miron says, federal policies that will strengthen charter schools in the long run "need to be based on a more representative body of evidence and a process of formulating recommendations that includes more voices and more than a day of conversations."

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Community and Economic Development, Education and Literacy

Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life

Large-scale public school closures have become a fact of life in many American cities, and that trend is not likely to stop now. This report

looks at what happens to the buildings themselves, studying the experiences of Philadelphia and 11 other cities that have decommissioned large numbers of schools in recent years: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tulsa and Washington.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-St. Louis County-St. Louis, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Missouri-Jackson County-Kansas City, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Cook County-Chicago, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Cuyahoga County-Cleveland, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Hamilton County-Cincinnati, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Southern)-Georgia-Fulton County-Atlanta, North America-United States (Southern)-Oklahoma-Tulsa County-Tulsa

2008 Kresge Eminent Artist: Charles McGee

Arts and Culture, Education and Literacy

2008 Kresge Eminent Artist: Charles McGee

Contains artist's statement; writings about McGee's life, art, evolution as an artist, and contribution to the African-American and Detroit artists' communities; a Detroit area map of his works; c.v.; and information on the Kresge Eminent Artist Award.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan-Wayne County-Detroit, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan, North America-United States

Good for Teachers, Good for Students: The Need for Smart Teacher Evaluation in Michigan

Education and Literacy

Good for Teachers, Good for Students: The Need for Smart Teacher Evaluation in Michigan

Michigan school districts and charter schools are struggling to support teachers in building their skills, a report by the nonprofit Education Trust-Midwest found. "Good for Teachers, Good for Students" examines 28 local teacher evaluation models across Michigan and urges the state to make a new educator evaluation system a priority.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan

Review of How School Choice Can Create Jobs for South Carolina

Education and Literacy, Government Reform

Review of How School Choice Can Create Jobs for South Carolina

Roy's review of the South Carolina report finds that it is built on seriously flawed assumptions and offers little insight into the effects of school vouchers. Roy writes that the report relies more on rhetoric and less on authentic research and concludes that it is significantly biased and of little value to policymakers.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-South Carolina, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan

Cost Quandary, The

Education and Literacy;Government Reform

Cost Quandary, The

Illustrates the flaws and limitations in the school counseling and financial aid systems that prevent qualified low-income students from attending college, issues in the context of state budget woes, and students' concerns about growing debt burdens.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Western)-California;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan

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