From the schoolhouse to the state House: Burned-out teacher finds new way to advocate for students

BY: - January 3, 2022

When Kyle Zawacki first started teaching nine years ago, he thought he would retire as a teacher. Then came a pandemic and politicized fights about critical race theory (CRT) between school districts, parents and teachers, which became too much for Zawacki to bear.  Zawacki, who was a social studies and Native American studies teacher at […]

Tucked in an MSU office, the Moist Towelette Museum is an ode to quirk and connection

BY: - December 31, 2021

The origin story of the Moist Towelette Museum, a space of eight packed shelves tucked into an office at Michigan State University’s Abrams Planetarium in East Lansing, is something of a tale of quirk and friendship — and the birth of the internet. “I started collecting them back in the ‘90s — I was working […]

Michigan meteorites take center stage at new Abrams Planetarium exhibit

BY: - December 31, 2021

Standing by ancient rocks that have fallen from space to Earth, Shannon Schmoll, the director of the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University in East Lansing, gushed with enthusiasm when talking about the new exhibit, “Asteroids, Meteors and Meteorites Oh MI.” “A lot of people love astronomy and space, but we don’t have a lot […]

Biden extends student loan repayment pause three more months

BY: - December 22, 2021

President Joe Biden will continue a pandemic-spurred pause on student loan repayments until May 1, he said Wednesday. Loan repayments were set to restart Jan. 31, following months of the U.S. Education Department not requiring payments during the pandemic. Biden told the department to extend the moratorium initially placed by President Donald Trump’s administration. It […]

Could your kids’ bus driver be their new substitute teacher?

BY: - December 21, 2021

Cafeteria workers, secretaries and bus drivers could serve as substitute teachers in their district under legislation that awaits a decision from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The legislation would allow school districts to temporarily use school support staff to fill in as substitutes without any college credits. The law applies to support staff already working in a […]

State reports 56 new school outbreaks in the last week 

BY: - December 20, 2021

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 1,434,837 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 25,984 have died from the virus — an additional 13,984 cases and 160 deaths since Friday. The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of […]

Biden administration resists Democrats’ pleas on student debt relief as deadline nears

BY: - December 20, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are urging the White House to extend the freeze on student loan repayments, and for the president to cancel up to $50,000 of student debt — but so far the administration is not budging. The standoff is one of the more noticeable splits between President Joe Biden and members of his […]

Omicron variant reported at University of Michigan and MSU

BY: - December 17, 2021

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Friday that a total of 1,420,838 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 25,824 have died from the virus — an additional 12,649 cases and 254 deaths since Wednesday. Michigan has the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases and the sixth-highest case rate in the country […]

Updated: MSU, U of M and WSU will require COVID booster shots for spring semester

BY: - December 17, 2021

Updated, 4:51 p.m., 12/17/21, 7:38 a.m., 12/18/21, with U of M and Wayne State announcements Michigan’s largest state university announced Friday that all students, faculty and staff are to receive a COVID-19 booster, beginning with the spring 2022 semester. In an email Friday morning, Michigan State University President Samuel Stanley said this will “allow for […]

Duggan: U.S. Census effort in Detroit was ‘malpractice’

BY: - December 17, 2021

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan argued Thursday that the 2020 U.S. Census has undercounted Detroit’s population by 8% in some city neighborhoods. “This was malpractice by the Census Bureau,” said Duggan who worked as population counter in 1980 for the agency when he was a student at the University of Michigan. “This was not an honest […]


Column: One weird trick for backsliding democracy: Read banned books

BY: - December 17, 2021

We’ve been buried by a blizzard of news lately. So much has happened ­­­­— special anti-mandate legislative session, Supreme Court poised to reverse Roe v. Wade, omicron variant popping up across the United States — it’s difficult to choose just one target in the shooting gallery of opinion. But let’s step back for a moment […]

Legislature sends $842M spending bill for COVID testing, airports and more to Whitmer

BY: and - December 15, 2021

A long-delayed $842.6 million spending bill using federal stimulus money for COVID-19 testing — as well as wide-ranging items like mental health programs, airport projects and snowmobile trail and maintenance — is heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk after a marathon Tuesday session. On what was expected to be the last day of action in […]