Contents of this issue:


  • State launches school performance website
  • Hazel Park announces Promise program
  • Former home-schoolers open private school
  • Income still linked to school performance
  • Law school grads sue over jobs, salary data

State Launches School Performance Website


LANSING, Mich. —  The State of Michigan launched a school information  website on Monday that allows users to look up test scores, enrollment and school “report cards,” and that eventually will report on how well high schools prepare students for college, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The site, www.mischooldata.org, was described as a “Consumer Report for schools” by Jim Ballard, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.

“This is probably the most public-oriented piece we’ve ever done with education data,” Paul Bielawski, school data manager for the Center for Educational Performance and Information, told the Free Press. CEPI maintains a number of statistical databases about Michigan schools.

Previously, parents would have had to review three databases on two websites to compare test scores, graduation rates and report cards, the Free Press reported. By September, parents will be able to use the new site to determine how many graduates from each high school enrolled in college and how many needed remedial coursework, according to the Free Press.

Judy Pritchett, chief academic officer for the Macomb Intermediate School District, said the new site will help provide an overview of a school or district, but that it won’t tell the parents much about such things as the scope of programs at a school, parent involvement or quality of staff, the Free Press reported.

SOURCE:

Detroit Free Press, “Web site lets you compare Michigan high schools’ success,” Aug. 13, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “New Online Database Provides Unique ‘Context and Performance’ Information for Every Standard Michigan Public High School,” June 27, 2011


Hazel Park Announces Promise Program


HAZEL PARK, Mich. — Hazel Park Schools has joined the list of public school districts seeking to attract new students by offering to pay for their first two years of college, according to the (Royal Oak) Daily Tribune.

The Hazel Park Promise begins with graduates of the class of 2012, according to the Tribune. Students will receive scholarships to any Michigan university, community college or trade school according to a sliding scale based on how long they have been enrolled in the district, the Tribune reported.

Anjanette Stinson enrolled her three children in Hazel Park recently, telling the Tribune, “I’m going to need all the help I can get with tuition.”

School officials would like other parents to follow suit, not just because of the additional state funding that each student brings to the district, but also in hopes that families will move to the city and increase the tax base, they told the Tribune.

A committee raised $180,000 in private contributions to cover the 2012 costs and is now raising funds for 2013, the Tribune reported. In subsequent years, the program is expected to be allowed to capture a share of property tax funding as well, according to the Tribune.

SOURCE:

(Royal Oak) Daily Tribune, “Promise of free college tuition spurs Hazel Park enrollment,” Aug. 12, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “The Kalamazoo Promise vs. School Choice,” June 17, 2010


Former Home-Schoolers Open Private School


SAGINAW, Mich. — Sandra Gonzales received so many requests to teach children in her Saginaw home that she and her husband decided to open a small, private school, according to The Saginaw News.

The New Millenium Center, a faith-based nondenominational school, has 43 enrollees as it enters its second year of operation, The News reported.

Gonzales, 53, and her husband home-schooled their own daughter, now 27, but when Gonzales offered to home-school other children last year on a donation basis, the demand was too high to accommodate, she told The News.

“I couldn’t put 14 kids in my living room — there was no way,” Gonzales told The News.

New Millenium is located in a former Catholic school in Saginaw; it currently has 10 teachers and much of the learning is done with computers, according to The News.

The small class size allows for more one-on-one attention, parents and students told The News. Tuition is $150 per month per student, according to The News.

SOURCE:

The Saginaw News, “Enrollment growing at New Millennium Center as it moves into former St. Andrew school in Saginaw,” Aug. 12, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Education Report, “Cristo Rey: A new option in Catholic education,” June 16, 2008


Income Linked to School Performance


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — U.S. Census figures continue to show that public school districts with the highest poverty rates often have the lowest reading and math scores, according to a report by Booth News Service.

State and federal governments have tried to address that by providing extra funding to school districts for “at-risk” students, a state official told Booth, while two economic researchers said that boosting family income appears to boost test scores.

The problem is not that low-income children can’t achieve, Jan Ellis, Michigan Department of Education spokeswoman told Booth News. In addition to “at-risk” funding, she said that the state’s recent emphasis on early childhood development is meant to boost school preparedness.

Two economic researchers told Booth News that a modest increase in family income — about $1,000 a year — can result in higher math and reading scores among students from low-income families. The research, based on changes in the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, is pending publication in the American Economic Review, Booth News reported.

In contrast, earlier media reports have noted cases of Michigan school districts “beating the odds” by achieving high test scores among low-income students.

SOURCE:

Booth News Service, “School achievement closely tracks with family income in Michigan, Census 2010 figures show,” Aug. 14, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Education Digest, “Schools shouldn’t use race, poverty as excuse,” April 30, 2009

Michigan Education Report, “Charter report favorable, state board wants more,” Feb. 24, 2009


Law School Grads Sue Over Jobs, Salary Data


LANSING, Mich — Four graduates of Thomas M. Cooley Law School are suing the college for $250 million, claiming it uses misleading statistics on post-graduate employment and salaries as a way to attract students, the Lansing State Journal reported.

The alumni have been unable to find work in the legal field, the Journal reported, and their lawsuit alleges "dubious calculations and deliberate omissions” about jobs data by Cooley.

Cooley officials called the claims “simply baseless” in a written statement, according to the Journal.

The data isn’t an issue just at Cooley, but at all law schools, one attorney told the Journal. While American Bar Association rules call for law schools to report post-graduate employment, it does not require them to distinguish whether their alumni are employed in the legal profession or a different field, the Journal reported. Also, only self-reported salary data is required, which tends to skew toward higher wage-earners, the report said.

The ABA currently is reconsidering its reporting requirements, the Journal reported.

The "real" employment number among law school graduates “would shock people,” attorney David Anziska told the Journal. He is with the New York firm Kurzon Strauss, which is representing the plaintiffs.

SOURCE:

Lansing State Journal, “4 grads sue Cooley for $250M; saying job-finding, salary number inflated,” Aug. 11, 2011

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Michigan has oversupply of new teachers,” Aug. 9, 2011


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

Contact Managing Editor Lorie Shane at med@educationreport.org

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