Contents of this issue:
  • State legislators consider MEAP replacement

  • Business leaders say education not helping future of economy

  • School sells naming rights for extra funds

  • Education secretary says 'No Child Left Behind' to stay

  • House Republicans introduce plan to regulate lenders' profit on student loans


STATE LEGISLATORS CONSIDER MEAP REPLACEMENT
LANSING, Mich. — Legislation introduced last week in the state Senate would replace the high school Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test with a version of a college entrance test.

The plan is a part of a larger reform effort targeting the MEAP tests, which are used to measure student progress for state and federal purposes. "People question the validity of the (high school) test and wonder whether we should be using it," state Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, told the Detroit News. "Do we stay with what we have or move forward? ... That is the issue we need to explore."

Although the legislation does not specify which college entrance test would be used, many supporters, including the House Education Subcommittee on Standardized Testing and Assessment, say the best choice would be a form of the ACT test.

Those opposing the bill say that even though problems with the MEAP exist, they do not warrant replacement of the current test, as recent changes to the test's administration will reduce flaws such as delays in reporting students' scores to schools.

SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Lawmakers study MEAP replacement," Apr. 22, 2004
http://www.detnews.com/2004/schools/0404/22/b07d-129888.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "How Does the MEAP Measure Up?" December 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3919

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "POLICY BRIEF: Which Educational Achievement Test is Best for Michigan?" May 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4382


BUSINESS LEADERS SAY EDUCATION NOT HELPING FUTURE OF ECONOMY
CHICAGO, Ill. — Some business leaders say that the lack of emphasis on basic skills in education is hurting the U.S. economy, as students from elite institutions graduate without necessary skills for working in a corporate environment.

Students lacking skills critical in a business environment will be the eventual leaders of the U.S. economy, hurting the nation's progress in the long run. "I find the English language skills, reading ability and mathematics ability of most people who have gone to reputable schools to be atrocious," Edward Studzinski, a money manager from Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune.

Eighth-graders in the U.S. lag behind students the same age in several Asian countries in math and science. This gap will affect the dominance of the American economy in the future, says Studzinski. "The real danger is that the American economy stops evolving and simply matures," he said.

SOURCES:
Chicago Tribune, "Education failing to serve economy, business leaders say,"
Apr. 25, 2004 (free registration required)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ chi-0404240325apr25,1,1378244.story

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Cost of Remedial Education,"
Aug. 31, 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/3025


SCHOOL SELLS NAMING RIGHTS FOR EXTRA FUNDS
BROOKLAWN, N.J. — A New Jersey school sold naming rights to its gym and library to gain extra capital to help grapple with a deficit, and may sell the naming rights to the school itself on eBay to the highest bidder.

This form of creative fund-raising is not common among grade schools, but the Brooklawn district superintendent says it will become more accepted with time. "A lot of smaller districts are fighting for their survival. What we're doing here is going to be the norm in 10 years," said John Kellmayer.

In addition to its current sale of naming rights in the school, Kellmayer says he is considering the option of auctioning off the rights to the school's name on eBay, an auction Web site.

"Anything a school can do to be entrepreneurial, so much the better," Dana Egreczky, a vice president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, told CNN.

SOURCES:
CNN, "School reaps profits from corporate naming rights," Apr. 21, 2004
http://www.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/04/21/name.this.school.ap/ index.html

Michigan Education Report, "Corporations donate millions for public school programs,"
Early Fall 2001
http://www.educationreport.org/3749


EDUCATION SECRETARY SAYS 'NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND' TO STAY
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Education Secretary Rod Paige said in a Grand Rapids Press interview that, despite criticism, the "No Child Left Behind" Act will stay in effect and will prove successful in improving American education.

Many educators have expressed concern that the law requires schools to spend too much money to meet federal standards implemented by the law and limits state control of education.

But, said Paige, "It's a different era.... You can see the changes in the educational culture. Our schools were doing a wonderful job providing a world-class education for some children. But not for all of them. It's become a civil-rights issue."

Calls by politicians to change the law in Congress will likely not be heeded, said Paige; "No Child Left Behind" forces schools to look at the needs of every individual student, a positive effect of the law. "We're in this for the long haul. It's not going away, and anyone who thinks that is mistaken. This is a bipartisan effort."

SOURCES:
Grand Rapids Press, "'No Child Left Behind' law 'not going away,' education chief says,"
Apr. 24, 2004
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-14/ 108280182493600.xml

Michigan Education Report, "No Child Left Behind law demands 'adequate yearly progress' and offers school choice options for parents," Fall 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4846


HOUSE REPUBLICANS INTRODUCE PLAN TO REGULATE LENDERS' PROFIT ON STUDENT LOANS
WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republicans will introduce a plan to regulate the amount of money lenders can earn on student loans as part of an overhaul of federal student aid programs.

Currently, loans are repaid to banks and schools by the federal government. Occasionally, student loan rates set by the government are lower than market rates, so the federal government makes up the difference to lending institutions. But when students pay over the market rate for loans, lending companies keep the difference. According to legislators supporting the proposed regulation, that money should be handed over to the federal government to be used for other student aid programs.

In addition to the plan to alter student loan payback by the government, some House Republicans want to change a program that allows students to consolidate college loans at a fixed rate, with the government making up the difference when market rates rise above the fixed rates. The cost of that program increased more than three times in 2003 to $2.1 billion from $650 million in 2002.

SOURCES:
New York Times, "Plan Addresses Lenders' Profits on Student Aid,"
Apr. 27, 2004 (free registration required)
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/27/education/27COLL.html

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Student Loans and the High Cost of College," November 1997
http://www.mackinac.org/675


MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report ( http://www.educationreport.org), a quarterly newspaper with a circulation of 130,000 published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy ( http://www.mackinac.org), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Neil Block at
med@educationreport.org.

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