WGVU donate banner

Monday, October 20, 2014

FacebookFlickrTwitterYouTubeLinkedIn
 
Public Media Catagories
PBS Link Create Link WorldView Link NPR Link Real Oldies Link wgvu
All Things Considered
WGVU Top Story

State’s crusade to get kids in school shows early results, stirs controversy


June 17, 2013 | MPRN  The state’s idea is to provide as many support services as possible for low-income families with kids who miss school. But officials with the state Department of Human Services say if a student continues to be truant despite those efforts, there has to be some consequence.Students older than 15 already risk losing their own cash assistance if they’re truant. But as of late last year, students age six through 15 could be responsible for losing the benefits for their entire family.   

At Floyd Elementary School in Midland, it’s Aricka Mealback’s job to try to make sure it doesn’t come to that.Mealback spends her time connecting students and their families to resources they need to avoid missing school. Today she’s working on lining up a bed for a student who doesn’t have one.

“And so we’re working on securing a donation for that to help them out.”

And school officials say there are a lot fewer empty seats at Floyd Elementary these days. In just a few months, administrators say weekly absences are down by close to two-thirds of what they were when Mealback and another D.H.S. worker came to the school. Principal Rod Dishaw says he didn’t even know his school had a truancy problem a year ago.

“But what we’ve discovered as we’ve looked at the data is we have kids that maybe were missing five or six or seven or eight days. Not because of sickness, but because they had to go to Grandma’s, and Grandma lived out of town, or whatever that may be.”   

Dishaw says the D.H.S. workers help students find adequate transportation, appropriate school clothes, and other things.    But a handful of students still slip through the cracks.    

As of late last month, the state had revoked welfare benefits from 54 families statewide because of school absences. D.H.S. officials say that suggests the department is doing a good job reaching students and families before they lose their benefits.   

But critics of the policy say schools like Floyd Elementary are not typical cases. Pilot programs like that in Midland County only include a handful of schools.    

Gilda Jacobs is with the Michigan League for Public Policy. She says the vast majority of low-income families in the state are getting less carrot and more of the proverbial stick.

“It’s great. The wraparound services is a wonderful model to be able to provide to kids and to their families. But it’s only being piloted in four areas. But yet, you have a situation where you’ve created a policy that goes for the entire state.”   

Jacobs says it’s also not fair that some children could lose their much-needed cash assistance if a sibling misses school too much.

“We’re just not sure that it makes sense to do something that punishes an entire family when just one child is truant.”   

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Lansing are considering putting the D.H.S. policy into state law. That would mean future administrations would have to go through the Legislature if they wanted to change or get rid of it.   

The bill passed fairly easily in the state House with bipartisan support. It’s now awaiting action in the state Senate.   

For the Michigan Public Radio Network, I’m Jake Neher in Lansing. 

More Mid-Day Features
Friday
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton discusses stopping the spread of Ebola
  October 17, 2014  |  WGVU  The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing Thursday focusing on the preventing the spread of Ebola in the United States. WGVU talks with U.S. Representative Fred Upton from Saint Joseph who chairs the committee.   
 Listen    Download Audio File Download
Brad Pitt in FURY plus four other movies opening today
  October 17, 2014  |  WGVU  Five big movies hitting theaters today, including Fury with Brad Pitt, Men, Women and Children directed by Jason Reitman, Book Of Life, an animated family flick, The Best Of Me based on a Nicholas Sparks novel and Pirates Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson, a Michigan made movie...Ron Van Timmeran sits down with WGVU for the weekly movie talk.   
 Listen    Download Audio File Download

Wednesday
MiBiz with Mark Sanchez
  October 15, 2014  |  WGVU  Republican state lawmakers consider taxing E-vapor industry.   
 Listen    Download Audio File Download

Tuesday
Data's role in Downtown Grand Rapids events
  October 14, 2014  |  WGVU  Most of us have heard of 'SEO', but Downtown Grand Rapids Incorporated President Kristopher Larson has a slightly different definition in mind.    
 Listen    Download Audio File Download
Innovation Talk
  October 14, 2014  |  WGVU  The changing media landscape includes the migration of print to digital. How best for companies to promote their products?   
 Listen    Download Audio File Download

Friday
The "Blue Economy Tour" makes a stop in Muskegon
  October 10, 2014  |  WGVU  The University Research Corridor; a coalition of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University focused on water-related research and impacts on the state’s economy visited the Annis Water Resources Institute. The focus: “Innovating for the Blue Economy.”   
 Listen    Download Audio File Download

Thursday
Ranee Lee What's Going On mixes jazz with r&b and reggae
  October 9, 2014  |  WGVU  Singer, songwriter and actress Ranee Lee has a new CD out via Justin Time records. What's Going On mixes r&b, reggae and original songs with jazz and string arrangements.    
 Listen    Download Audio File Download
Jazz guitarist Mark Elf returns with a new CD following Hurrican Sandy loss
  October 9, 2014  |  WGVU  Mark Elf is a jazz guitar virtuoso. He has independently released critically acclaimed CDs since the 1990's. But his most recent recording was delayed due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Now "Mark Elf Returns 2014" is out, and topping the jazz radio chart.   
 Listen    Download Audio File Download

radio
Listen Live to WGVU-AM
Listen Live to WGVU-FM
Follow us on Twitter
WGVU News Page Sponsored by:
Amtrak
 
 
Home    Privacy Policies    Contact WGVU    GVSU.edu    PBS.org    NPR.org
Copyright 1997-2014 | WGVU is a service of Grand Valley State University | GVSU is an EO/AA institution