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Stateside: DPSCD chief blasts state A-F plan; conservatism’s founding father; foster care to college

Russell Kirk
Wikimedia Commons
Michigan native Russell Kirk is known as one of the founding fathers of American conservatism.


Today, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti joined Stateside to react to a lame-duck bill that would create a statewide A-F grading system for Michigan schools. Plus, what would Michigan native Russell Kirk, a founder of American conservatism, think of the ideology today? 

“This is colonialism”: Detroit schools chief blasts lame-duck A-F grading plan  


Stateside’s conversation with Nikolai Vitti

  • Early this morning, the State House passed House Bill 5526, which creates an A-F grading system for Michigan's schools. That bill would supersede a Detroit system created by the Community Education Commission that's been in the works for months. DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti sits on the commissionand he joined Stateside to share his concerns and frustrations with the lame-duck legislation. 
  • Representative Tim Kelly, who sponsored the bill, did not respond to our interview requests. We also asked Michigan Department of Education press contacts if they could confirm that the agency opposes this legislation. We did not immediately hear back.

How the myth of Walt Disney’s frozen head took root 


Stateside’s conversation with Howard Markel

  • Fifty-two years ago this week, the world lost Walter Elias Disney. University of Michigan medical historian and PBS contributor Dr. Howard Markel joined us to discuss Disney’s legacy and the urban legends that surround his death.  

How Russell Kirk's Michigan roots helped shape his political philosophy


Stateside’s conversation with Gleaves Whitney

  • Russell Kirkis recognized as one of the most influential thinkers and writers of the 20th century. In a piece for the Historical Society of Michigan, Gleaves Whitney points to Kirk's Michigan upbringing as foundational to his future political ideology. Whitney is the director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University. He joined Stateside to talk about what Kirk would think of conservatism today. 

Howes: A lot of “petty politicking” in GOP lame-duck bills 


Stateside’s conversation with Daniel Howes

  • Though the clock is running out on lame duck, the Republican-controlled legislature keeps pumping out bills. In Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes’ most recent column, he asks this question: "What is it with these people?" Howes joined Stateside to debrief his frustration with the state's lawmakers.

What happens when Michigan invests in kids aging out of the foster care system


Stateside’s conversation with Arielle Duncan

  • Yesterday, we heard about a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that ranked Michigan as the worst state when it comes to connecting kids who age out of the foster care system with educational scholarships and vocational training.
  • Arielle Duncan is an 18-year-old freshman at Wayne State University, who was part of the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative. It's a state-run program that helps teens in foster care develop the life skills they'll need in adulthood and connect them with resources.  Duncan's story is an example of what kids coming from the foster care system can achieve when they have the help they need. 

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