Contents of this issue:


  • Ruling creates confusion over Highland Park emergency manager
  • Students, police play ball to prevent violence
  • New MEAP scores paint “dismal picture”
  • State watch list for troubled districts grows to 48
  • NEA echoes Pres. Obama’s call for “truth teams”

Ruling Creates Confusion in Highland Park Over Emergency Manager


LANSING, Mich. — An Ingham County judge has ruled that review teams in Highland Park and Detroit violated the Open Meetings Act and that their actions were therefore invalid, according to The Detroit News. The ruling called into question the legal status of Jack Martin, Highland Park Schools’ Emergency Manager.

Gov. Snyder’s office issued a statement saying that the ruling applies only to the review teams and does not affect Mr. Martin’s appointment. Legal counsel for Robert Davis, the Highland Park school board member who filed the lawsuit, argued that the governor made the appointment based on the review team’s recommendation and the appointment is therefore invalid.

MLive reports that the Highland Park school board voted unanimously not to appeal the appointment of an emergency manager, reversing an earlier decision. Mr. Davis and another member were not present for that vote.

SOURCES:

The Detroit News, “Judge's ruling leaves confusion over EMs," Feb. 16, 2012

MLive, “Highland Park school board backs off plan to appeal state-appointed emergency manager," Feb. 15, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “School District: Spending Up, Revenue Up, Red Ink Up — Wants More Money,” Jan. 23, 2012


Students, Police Play Ball to Prevent Violence


DETROIT — Officers from the Detroit Police played students from Cody, Denby and Osborn high school in a game of basketball as part of a youth violence prevention rally, according to The Associated Press. The event was also intended to promote relationships between the police department and residents.

According to the AP, students were members of the Neighborhood Service Organization's Youth Initiatives Project, which provides youth leadership and advocacy training to help prevent violence and drug abuse.

SOURCE:

The Associated Press, “Anti-violence rally brings youth, police together,” Feb. 18, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Education Report, “School districts required to create anti-bullying policy,” Dec. 12, 2011


New MEAP Scores Paint “Dismal Picture”


LANSING, Mich. — MEAP scores released last week show schools have a long way to go to meet new academic expectations, according to The Detroit Free Press.

This year was the first under new standards designed to better prepare students for life after high school. Under the new standards, 63 percent of all students in grades 3 through 8 were judged to be proficient in reading, while only 37 percent were found to be proficient in math.

The new standards are based on how well-prepared students are for college and careers, according to The Free Press, whereas the old standards were based on showing a basic understanding of the material. Only 17.3 percent of Michigan students meet the college readiness standards of the ACT.

SOURCE:

The Detroit Free Press, “MEAP scores give dismal picture of how Michigan students stand up to tougher standards,” Feb. 15, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Not As Good As You Think,” Oct. 30, 2009


State Watch List for Troubled Districts Grows to 48


LANSING, Mich. — The Detroit News reports there are 48 school districts making monthly financial reports to the Michigan Department of Education because they are running budget deficits. That number has dramatically increased since 2003, when only 10 districts were spending more than their revenue.

Two of the districts — Detroit and Highland Park — are under state control while a third, Muskegon Heights, has requested an emergency manager. According to The News, the remaining districts are running deficits which range from 1 percent to 44 percent of their revenues.

State officials tell The News that as long as school districts are following their deficit elimination plan the state has no interest in sending review teams or appointing an emergency financial manager.

SOURCE:

The Detroit News, “48 school districts on Michigan watch list,” Feb. 15, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Education Report, “Muskegon Heights school board asks for emergency manager,” Dec. 13, 2011


NEA Echoes Pres. Obama’s Call for “Truth Teams”


LANSING, Mich. — The National Education Association has announced it will support efforts to “ensure politicians make true and accurate statements” in the upcoming presidential election, according to M-Live. The union’s announcement comes in the wake of President Obama’s call for supporters to form “truth teams” to “combat false attacks” on President Obama and his record.

M-Live reports the NEA, which has already endorsed Pres. Obama, wants members to report false or misleading statements from campaigns on both sides of the political aisle.

“With members in every congressional district, NEA is gearing up to reach out and educate millions of eligible voters during the 2012 election year, focusing on association members and their families,” the union said in a release.

SOURCE:

M-Live, “National Education Association calls for supporting campaign 'truth teams',” Feb. 16, 2012

FURTHER READING:

Michigan Capitol Confidential, “Teachers' Union: Many Members Conservative; Overwhelmingly Funds 'Progressive' Groups,” Jan. 14, 2012


MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education Report, an online newspaper published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute.

Contact Managing Editor Kyle Jackson at mailto:med@educationreport.org

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