WATCH LIVE: Local 4 hosts 'Education Now Detroit'


DETROIT – Six years after it went through the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit is undergoing a so-called revival.

But can Detroit's "revival" extend to the classroom, where the next generation of Detroiters are learning and developing? How do the issues Detroit faces extend to other parts of the state and the country?

  • Watch live in the video above from now through 8 p.m.

NBC News Learn, the education division of NBC News, is partnering with Local 4 to host a two-hour live town hall event aimed at addressing these pressing questions. “NBC News Learn Presents: Education Now Detroit,” sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, will take place on Thursday, October 24 from 5:50 to 8 p.m. ET at The Henry Ford and broadcast live on WDIV Local 4 from 7 to 8 p.m. ET. The entire event will be live streamed on nbcnews.com/learndetroit and clickondetroit.com.

School leaders, administrators, experts, community leaders making a difference will come together for engaging discussions around the education issues affecting the Detroit area and the United States at large. Ranging from student trauma, to the chronic absenteeism, necessary support for teachers and expanding a students’ worldview, will explore the different ways in which the local community can come together to ensure all students have access to the best possible educational resources and how educators can feel supported.

NBC News Chief Education Correspondent Rehema Ellis will moderate panel discussions and Local 4 Anchor Kimberly Gill will take questions from the audience throughout the two-hour live discussion.  In addition to the live program, which will feature video packages to illustrate the topics, there will be additional coverage on NBCNews.com verticals NBC BLK and NBC Latino and on NBC News Learn’s social media handles. The topics covered will include:

Addressing Student Trauma

A 2016 Brookings Institution study found that metro Detroit has the highest rate of concentrated poverty among the top 25 metro areas in the U.S. by population. Poverty, among other challenging situations young children face, can lead to significant trauma. The need to address this issue is so great, Michigan recently passed a bill to increase mental health funding in school and school-based health centers starting in 2020. This panel discussion will look at how educators and schools in Michigan and Detroit are using trauma-informed practices in education, and how actively working to support students who have experienced or are currently experiencing trauma impacts academic and social-emotional outcomes.

Here to Stay

Michigan students are missing school at alarming rates. According to a University of Michigan analysis, close to one out of every six children enrolled in public and charter schools were chronically absent in the 2016-17 school year across the state, meaning they missed 10 percent or more days of class. In the Detroit Public School Community District specifically, 70 percent of students were chronically absent in the 2017-18 school year, according to state data. This discussion will center on the barriers that exist for students in attending school, how schools and communities are working together to ensure students get to school and are able to learn, and innovative solutions for creating stability for Michigan’s students.

Letting Teachers Lead

With so many children in Detroit experiencing instability, poverty, and trauma, teachers certainly feel the effects in their classrooms. Without adequate support, mentorship, and professional development, teachers cannot truly thrive in their profession. But are districts or the state of Michigan doing enough to support teachers in supporting their students? A new report released in February 2019 by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan found that enrollment in teacher-prep programs in Michigan colleges and universities has been falling for some time, by 66 percent over a recent seven-year period. This panel discussion will address what Michigan is doing to combat teacher turnover and shortages, examine if teachers in Detroit and surrounding districts are trained to handle their students’ trauma, and ask how working with the most vulnerable students affects educators.

From Opportunity to Purpose

Many students in high poverty areas do not see or experience much beyond their own community and neighborhood, which can inform their worldviews when they come into the classroom. But what would happen if these students had the opportunity to experience the diversity of the world outside their own neighborhoods? Ranging from applying learning to real-world contexts and exposure to different career pathways to experiencing diverse cultures, perspectives, and art, children need to know what’s out there, so they understand the opportunities that they can strive for. This discussion will look at what local schools, organizations, and businesses are doing to help students find meaning in education, both inside and outside of the classroom.  

At the close of the show, the Detroit Youth Choir (DYC) will perform. DYC is a nonprofit organization that teaches and develops students ages 8-18 through music education dance, and theatrical arts. Recently, DYC was the runner up on the NBC program “America’s Got Talent.” They are a true epitome of how opportunity can lead to purpose.

How to Attend:

If you live in the Detroit area and would like to attend the event, please visit https://bit.ly/2oR3riN.