To start off this semester of the Michigan Student Caucus, we'd like you carefully consider and discuss "provocations" posted here -- images, maps, quotes, videos, web pages meant to spark questions and raise issues relevant to students in Michigan.

As you examine the provocations, ask yourself questions like:

  • What is going on here?
  • What inferences can you make?
  • What might be misleading?
  • Who is involved?
  • What feelings does it invoke?
  • What perspectives (social, economic, legal, political, moral, artistic, psychological, historical, etc.) might provide insight?
  • What else do we need to know?
  • How is this item relevant (or how might it be relevant) to students in Michigan?

In addition to discussing provocations posted by others (at minimum be sure to join the discussion around at least five), please find and post your own provocation no later than Sunday, January 19.

CLARIFICATION: When we say "post your own provocation," we mean FIND an intriguing image, map, quote, etc. out in the world and post it in this area together with a citation. In contrast, later on you will be making a "media artifact" as a first step toward crafting your proposal, and for that you will need to CREATE your own piece of media.

A recent article by Amber...

Carly Armstrong's picture

Michigan has put in tremendous effort into bettering the education system, yet they lack funding for this matter. This has an everlasting ripple effect as better education leads to success which will raise minimum wages, and reduce poverty.

This article discusses a...

Summer Soffer's picture
This article discusses a drop in the number of students studying to become teachers. While this decline is national (33% over the past decade roughly), it is especially steep for Michigan and Indiana where it is closer to 50%.

Coding - For a few years...

Summer Soffer's picture
Coding - For a few years now, I feel like there has been a growing call for students to learn to code. Tim Cook of Apple told President Trump in 2017 that “Coding should be a requirement in every public school.” This NYTimes article discusses the role that Silicon Valley has played in pushing this agenda of introducing computer programming in public schools, largely with the help of Code.org, an industry-backed nonprofit group. With millions of dollars in funding, the group has successfully persuaded “two dozen states to change their education policies and laws.”

The Gig Economy - As my last...

Summer Soffer's picture

The Gig Economy As my last post mentions, unpaid internships often shortchange students and can increase the wealth gap. That issue I think is one instance of a broader issue facing young people today: the rise of insecure work. As this Guardian article points out, this phenomena is universal and impacts young people in a number of industrialized nations. As the author describes, “structural changes in the economy have primarily hit the lower end of the job market, the sectors where young workers predominate.

Unpaid internships: One...

Summer Soffer's picture

Unpaid internships: One issue college students and new grads increasingly face - particularly those that pursue careers in fields like the humanities, media and the arts - is the prevalence of internships. This is a nation-wide issue and something many at UMich will potentially face if we haven’t already. According to research from The Economist, “between 20,000 and 40,000 interns work in Washington’s government departments, lobbyists, non-profit groups and firms.” What’s more - many, if not most, of these internships tend to be un/under-paid.

This latest article in...

Carly Armstrong's picture
This latest article in Aberdeen News talks about the lack of educational opportunities in the state’s rural towns especially relative to those found in cities. Lake County for instance in the middle of a “higher education desert” with no community or 4 year colleges within 60 miles. The article goes on to note that these deserts tend to be Michigan’s poorest counties with few job prospects. Employers find no reason to open a location in a county that lacks the workforce they desire creating a cycle of poverty.

According to this Forbes...

Carly Armstrong's picture
According to this Forbes article, nearly 14 million college students in the US work part time while pursuing their degree. Many of these students are in Michigan and most of these students are working out of financial necessity. The article goes on to laud some of the benefits of working while in school. The author notes that employers may look upon it favorably and might help students gain clarity about what they want to pursue. He also adds that there is some research that suggests that students who work 10-15 hours a week are more likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Driving in Michigan starts...

Alyssa Schmidt's picture
Driving in Michigan starts when you are 14 years and 9 months old, (much younger than most states) which starts with being able to take Driver's Ed. courses. At this young age, you are said to have a "level 1 license" which entails the ability to drive with a licensed adult over the age of 21. The next level is at 16 years old and you can drive without supervision except from the hours of 10 PM to 5 AM and finally when you're 17 you can drive with no restrictions. These two levels are the "normal" age and responsibilities for most states.

A recent article by Amber...

Carly Armstrong's picture

Michigan has put in tremendous effort into bettering the education system, yet they lack funding for this matter. This has an everlasting ripple effect as better education leads to success which will raise minimum wages, and reduce poverty.

This article discusses a...

Summer Soffer's picture
This article discusses a drop in the number of students studying to become teachers. While this decline is national (33% over the past decade roughly), it is especially steep for Michigan and Indiana where it is closer to 50%.

Coding - For a few years...

Summer Soffer's picture
Coding - For a few years now, I feel like there has been a growing call for students to learn to code. Tim Cook of Apple told President Trump in 2017 that “Coding should be a requirement in every public school.” This NYTimes article discusses the role that Silicon Valley has played in pushing this agenda of introducing computer programming in public schools, largely with the help of Code.org, an industry-backed nonprofit group. With millions of dollars in funding, the group has successfully persuaded “two dozen states to change their education policies and laws.”

The Gig Economy - As my last...

Summer Soffer's picture

The Gig Economy As my last post mentions, unpaid internships often shortchange students and can increase the wealth gap. That issue I think is one instance of a broader issue facing young people today: the rise of insecure work. As this Guardian article points out, this phenomena is universal and impacts young people in a number of industrialized nations. As the author describes, “structural changes in the economy have primarily hit the lower end of the job market, the sectors where young workers predominate.

Unpaid internships: One...

Summer Soffer's picture

Unpaid internships: One issue college students and new grads increasingly face - particularly those that pursue careers in fields like the humanities, media and the arts - is the prevalence of internships. This is a nation-wide issue and something many at UMich will potentially face if we haven’t already. According to research from The Economist, “between 20,000 and 40,000 interns work in Washington’s government departments, lobbyists, non-profit groups and firms.” What’s more - many, if not most, of these internships tend to be un/under-paid.

This latest article in...

Carly Armstrong's picture
This latest article in Aberdeen News talks about the lack of educational opportunities in the state’s rural towns especially relative to those found in cities. Lake County for instance in the middle of a “higher education desert” with no community or 4 year colleges within 60 miles. The article goes on to note that these deserts tend to be Michigan’s poorest counties with few job prospects. Employers find no reason to open a location in a county that lacks the workforce they desire creating a cycle of poverty.

According to this Forbes...

Carly Armstrong's picture
According to this Forbes article, nearly 14 million college students in the US work part time while pursuing their degree. Many of these students are in Michigan and most of these students are working out of financial necessity. The article goes on to laud some of the benefits of working while in school. The author notes that employers may look upon it favorably and might help students gain clarity about what they want to pursue. He also adds that there is some research that suggests that students who work 10-15 hours a week are more likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Driving in Michigan starts...

Alyssa Schmidt's picture
Driving in Michigan starts when you are 14 years and 9 months old, (much younger than most states) which starts with being able to take Driver's Ed. courses. At this young age, you are said to have a "level 1 license" which entails the ability to drive with a licensed adult over the age of 21. The next level is at 16 years old and you can drive without supervision except from the hours of 10 PM to 5 AM and finally when you're 17 you can drive with no restrictions. These two levels are the "normal" age and responsibilities for most states.

Is Michigan providing adequate funding for its students’ education?

Carly Armstrong's picture

A recent article by mLive argues that the Michigan education systems are dwindling, stunting students’ intellectual growth and potential to flourish: “Michigan isn't providing adequate funding for K-12 education, and policymakers must take into greater account the needs of each child, the collaborative said in a January 2018 report.

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