Oct 21, 2019 · 6 min read

NBC News Learn and Local 4 Announce “Education Now Detroit” Live Event Sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative on October 24

NBC News Chief Education Correspondent Rehema Ellis moderates special event to explore how students can reach their full potential through education and community support


NEW YORK – 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?

NBC News Learn, the education division of NBC News, is collaborating with Detroit’s 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 event, 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

Media Access and RSVP Information:

The “NBC News Learn Presents: Education Now” event on October 24 will be open to the media. Interested outlets must RSVP to Hollie.Tracz@nbcuni.com by Monday, October 21 for credentialing information. 

For more information, please visit https://www.nbcnews.com/learndetroit. To join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, use the hashtag #LearnDetroit.


About NBC News Learn

NBC News Learn is the education brand of NBC News – distributing the journalism and storytelling of NBC News to students in the classroom, at home, and in the community. Our award-winning content, innovative live broadcasts, and extensive, exclusive news archives have made NBC News Learn an invaluable education tool for K-12 and Higher Ed students and teachers across the country. 

About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit chanzuckerberg.com

About WDIV-Local 4

Local 4 News is currently the No. 1 newscast at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. in Nielsen ratings for the Detroit television market. WDIV is the No. 1 NBC affiliate in the top 20 LPM markets. In addition, Local 4’s ClickOnDetroit.com is a top breaking news and weather website and the No. 1 news website in Metro Detroit according to comScore.

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