EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University is investigating concerns raised by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that some material in a study of school consolidation may have been plagiarized, the Detroit Free Press reported.

In addition to the question of potentially copied material, the Mackinac Center also said that the methodology used by MSU's Education Policy Center in concluding that the state could save $612 million annually by consolidating school districts is "seriously flawed," Michael Van Beek, the center's director of education policy, told AnnArbor.com.

The university says that it stands by the economic conclusions reached in the study, as does the Grand Rapids Press and seven affiliated Booth Newspapers, which commissioned the work and reported the findings, according to the Free Press.

The Mackinac Center, which also publishes Michigan Education Digest, raised the issue after spotting material in the study that matched text from other studies and reports, but was not attributed to those sources, the Free Press reported.

MSU has since posted a revised online version of the study, with more attribution, at its website, according to the Free Press.

The Mackinac Center's own 2007 study on school consolidation concluded that while some districts operate more efficiently than others, forcing small districts to merge would have little impact on overall education spending in Michigan.

SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "MSU probing plagiarism allegations," Aug. 22, 2010

AnnArbor.com, "Mackinac Center says school consolidation study by MSU professor may contain some plagiarized material," Aug. 18, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School District Consolidation, Size and Spending: An Evaluation," May 22, 2007

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "MSU Consolidation Study Seriously Flawed," Aug. 19, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The (False) Hope of School District Consolidation," Oct. 29, 2009

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