School vouchers would be available for parents of students in seven Michigan school districts, including Detroit's 170,000 public school students, under a fall ballot proposal, according to a state high school dropout report released in September. See related story.

Private schools returned money to the state last year when half of the schools participating in Milwaukee's voucher program didn't need to use all of the $4,894 they were given to educate students in the program. Meanwhile, the American Enterprise Institute reports that Milwaukee public school officials are preparing to approve a 2000-01 education budget that provides $9,500 per student to the city's public schools.

Detroit public schools CEO Kenneth Burnley is considering hiring a company to run as many as 45 of the city's worst schools, according to the Detroit Free Press. The leading contender is Edison Schools, a company that manages 108 schools across the country, including 19 in Michigan. The nearby suburb of Inkster recently contracted with Edison to manage all of its schools.

Michigan ranks 11th nationwide in "education freedom," according to a new report from the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. The "Education Freedom Index" gives top marks to states offering parents greater educational choices. It found that more choices among public, charter, private, and home schools equals better academic achievement outcomes for all students in a state. Arizona topped the list, while Georgia came in last. The report can be viewed here.

A Florida District Court of Appeals recently upheld that state's school voucher law as constitutional. The three-judge panel overturned on Oct. 3 an earlier ruling by a Tallahassee trial judge that said the law violated the state constitution by allowing tax dollars to be spent on private schools. The decision remanded the case to the trial court to address other claims raised by the school employee unions.