Teachers in Grand Rapids and Otsego agreed to new contracts with incentive-based raises. Both contracts hinge on student enrollment numbers, with bonuses tied to student retention.
Grand Valley State University has authorized a second Detroit charter school backed by philanthropist Bob Thompson. A charter was issued to Public Schools Academies of Detroit. University Prep Math and Science could open in 2008 and will be run by New Urban Learning.
Detroit Public Schools must repay almost $1 million in federal money after a U.S. Department of Education audit found several instances where money and items cannot be accounted for, including five flat-screen televisions.
Charter schools outperformed their neighboring conventional public schools on a majority of 2005 MEAP tests in 18 areas across Michigan. Developed by the Michigan Department of Education, the model compared charter schools to their "host districts" in 18 cities.
School districts across Michigan spent about $5 million by holding school board elections in May, rather than November. Low voter turnout prompted Oakland County Clerk Ruth Johnson to support House Bill 4755, which would require schools to hold November elections.
More than 20 percent of teacher candidates from five Michigan colleges failed state certification tests on their first try between October 2001 and July 2004. The Michigan Department of Education has told these schools – the University of Detroit, Olivet College, Rochester College, Sienna Heights University and Wayne State University – as well as others that they must do a better job of preparing future teachers.
A home-school student from Portage signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. Ian Arnold, an Eagle Scout who also has earned 36 credits with a 4.0 grade point average at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, will study pre-medicine.
Trimesters are gaining in popularity at Michigan schools. In the Muskegon area, Holton and Orchard View will switch this fall, joining Muskegon Heights, Spring Lake and Newaygo County schools. The switch means a new way of structuring class schedules.
A study released in June said Detroit Public Schools had the worst graduation rate of the nation’s largest 50 districts. Written by Editorial Projects in Education, the study said Detroit graduated just 21.7 percent of its students in 2003.
Some 470 public school employees, including more than 50 teachers, were found to have felony records in a recent background check. After several months of disagreements, including legal injunctions, a report from the Michigan State Police to the Michigan Department of Education showed administrators, cooks, janitors, bus drivers, support staff and teachers who were employed as of Jan. 1 had felony convictions.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy will again award college scholarships at its annual Debate Workshops. Four winners will each win a $1,000 college scholarship based on an essay contest. Debate Workshops will be held Sept. 25-28 in Livonia, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Traverse City. Students must complete in a workshop to be eligible forthe scholarship. Call (989) 631-0900, or visit www.mackinac.org/debate for more information.
Two Metro Detroit charter schools have met demands for enrollment growth with new facilities. Great Oaks Academy, with 300 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, expects to add 300 more students by 2008. It recently purchased the former St. Vincent Ferrer school in Madison Heights. Michigan Technical Academy High School, which expects to add 100 students to the existing 250, opened a new school on 8.5 acres in Redford Township.
Livonia Public Schools has found uses for three of seven buildings it closed after enrollment continued to drop. Neighboring districts Redford Union will rent one for an Adolescent Day Treatment Center, while Plymouth-Canton will rent another to house students while it renovates an elementary school. The third will house overflow high school students and a Japanese day care center.
The number of high school graduates who say they plan to attend college is often higher than the actual number who do. While many school districts claim up to 80 percent of graduates go on to college, the National Center for Education Statistics said a recent study shows it to be closer to about 66 percent nationwide.
No state met the requirement that 100 percent of its teaching force be "highly qualified" by June 30, 2006. The designation is part of the federal No Child Left Behind act, and says a teacher meeting the standard must have a bachelor’s degree, state certification and "demonstrated knowledge" in the core subject they teach. The Michigan Department of Education reported last fall that 94 percent of teachers statewide met the criteria.
Michigan could be a pilot program state for teaching Arabic to school children under a program being introduced by the Department of Defense. The "National Strategic Learning Initiative," could net Michigan $700,000 a year for 16 years to start programs in elementary schools in at least two school districts.
Detroit Public Schools can keep $259 million in taxes it wasn’t supposed to collect. A Wayne County judge and the Michigan Tax Tribunal both ruled that cases filed by businesses and other tax payers came after the allotted time according to state law. DPS from 2002 to 2004 continued to collect an 18-mill non-homestead tax on commercial, industrial and rental properties, even though the levy expired. The district did not divulge the error until July 2005.