MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 1
January 8, 2002

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Contents of this issue:
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* Expansive federal education bill passes
* Detroit schools "faked" classes for more funding
* Two parents jailed under new truancy laws
* Fiscal responsibility causes Utica district to prosper
* Pennsylvania takeover of Philadelphia schools OK'd
* Announcement: New issue of MICHIGAN EDUCATION REPORT released

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EXPANSIVE FEDERAL EDUCATION BILL PASSES
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - On December 18, 2001, Congress gave final approval
to education legislation that many regard as the most expansive
federal school measure since passage of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act in 1965.

The bill requires state-administered testing of every student in
grades 3 through 8 in reading and mathematics, along with national
testing of a smaller sample to provide a benchmark for assessing each
school's performance. States would also have to measure the progress
of subgroups, including minority and poor children.

Congress authorized $26.5 billion in federal spending on elementary
and secondary education for fiscal 2002, $4 billion more than Bush
requested, $6 billion less than Democrats wanted and $8 billion more
than last year's spending level.

The education bill -- one of Bush's key domestic priorities -- also
represents unusual bipartisan accord in Congress and a dramatic shift
for the Republican Party, whose members in 1995 advocated abolishing
the federal Department of Education.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "School reform package is a big victory for Bush",
December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a01-370636.htm

Detroit News, "Bush: Reform a first step", December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a04-370689.htm

Detroit News, "Private school vouchers left out", December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a04-370696.htm

Detroit News, "Feds mandate basic skills testing", December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a04-370697.htm

Washington Post, "Landmark Education Legislation Gets Final Approval
in Congress", December 19, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A62479-2001Dec18

Detroit News, "Report cards rate schools", December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a04-370685.htm


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DETROIT SCHOOLS "FAKED" CLASSES FOR MORE FUNDING
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DETROIT, Mich. - A Detroit Public Schools teacher who formerly worked
at Trombly Alternative High School reported that administrators padded
enrollment numbers and overpaid teachers in the 1996-97 school year.
Hurb Adams said he and other teachers each received about $10,000
extra for classes they did not teach.

Five other Detroit teachers also told police they taught two classes
at the same time, but that the school billed the state as if there
were two separate classes. School systems receive aid from Lansing
for each evening class a student attends.

"I embezzled money by agreeing to get paid. We were given that to
keep us quiet about what we were really embezzling -- hundreds of
thousands of dollars in state-aid money," said Adams, 64, a former
engineer who has been a Detroit Public Schools math teacher since
1988. "The nature of this game was to make money."
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Detroit school faked classes", December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a01-370632.htm

Detroit News, "$1 billion earmarked to boost literacy", December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a04-370690.htm

Detroit News, "Detroit pumps $55 million into early ed", December 21, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/21/a01-372857.htm

Detroit News, "Schools told to cut budgets 10%", December 19, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/19/a02-370806.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Detroit public schools face cutbacks", December 20, 2001
http://www.freep.com/news/education/cuts20_20011220.htm

Detroit Free Press, "School's accounting problems probed", December 20, 2001
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nskul20_20011220.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Schools blamed for audit findings", December 19, 2001
http://www.freep.com/news/education/audit19_20011219.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Parents Should Have More Options
When Schools Commit Academic Fraud", February 2, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/3315


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TWO PARENTS JAILED UNDER NEW TRUANCY LAWS
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HAZEL PARK, Mich. - A Hazel Park father became the first person in
Michigan -- and possibly the nation -- to go to jail because of a
child's chronic truancy. Bill Schraeder spent 30 days behind bars
last fall after his then 16-year-old daughter missed 523 days since
kindergarten.

"I was in there for Thanksgiving," said Schraeder, who said his
daughter was frequently bullied and suffered from illnesses he won't
disclose.

Since Schraeder, another parent has served time under Hazel Park's
educational-neglect misdemeanor ordinance. Thirteen parents have been
charged, but the rest pleaded guilty and avoided jail.

Hazel Park in 1999 became the first district in Michigan to threaten
jail for parents of truant children and Wayne County schools will soon
follow. Wayne County Prosecutor Michael Duggan recently launched a
pilot program to threaten prosecution of parents with chronically
truant kids in Dearborn Heights #7, Westwood-Dearborn Heights,
Highland Park and Hamtramck schools.

No statewide numbers are available about absenteeism.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Parents to pay for truant kids", December 24, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/28/c01-374480.htm


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FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY CAUSES UTICA DISTRICT TO PROSPER
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UTICA, Mich. - Fiscal restraint and communication are two reasons the
Utica School District -- the largest in the state after Detroit Public
Schools -- continues to prosper while others struggle with budget
deficits, falling enrollments and taxpayer revolts.

At a school board meeting earlier this month, Utica officials spent
$1.5 million to buy laptop computers for use in the classrooms. At
the same meeting, the school board spent another $1.8 million for
replacement school buses. No big deal, school officials said. Both
purchases had been planned for and budgeted.

"(School officials) never did anything without first going to the
community and asking for an opinion," said Lillian Adams, longtime
head of the Sterling Heights Area Chamber of Commerce.

"They were one of the first districts to form citizen advisory
panels," Adams said. "It's a very hands-on approach."
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Financial responsibility puts Utica schools on top",
December 26, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/28/b05-375498.htm

Detroit News, "Students take virtual trips", December 24, 2001
http://www.detnews.com/2001/schools/0112/28/c05-374513.htm


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PENNSYLVANIA TAKEOVER OF PHILADELPHIA SCHOOLS OK'D
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PHILADELPHIA, Penn. - After four months of seesaw negotiations between
city and state officials, the Pennsylvania state government took
control of the Philadelphia school district, the 7th-largest in the
nation, on December 21, 2001.

A five-appointee School Reform Commission replaced the nine-member
elected school board. Interim chairman James Nevels will lead the
commission that is now responsible for what goes on in the schools and
will name a CEO to run the district. Four additional members are
expected to be appointed by the end of the month.

Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker and Philadelphia Mayor John Street
will name two each to the School Reform Commission. That had been a
key bargaining win for Street, who originally was to get only one
slot, but now holds veto power over major district decisions.
________
SOURCES:
Philadelphia Daily News, "Schools start year under state control",
January 2, 2002
http://dailynews.philly.com/content/daily_news/2002/01/02/local/SKUL02C.htm

Philadelphia Daily News, "Street is still in education driver's seat",
December 26, 2001
http://dailynews.philly.com/content/daily_news/2001/12/26/local/SKUL26C.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Philadelphia agrees to privatize schools",
December 22, 2001
http://www.freep.com/news/education/phil22_20011222.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "An Alternative Proposal for
Philadelphia", December 4, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/pubs/comments/3878


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ANNOUNCEMENT: NEW ISSUE OF MICHIGAN EDUCATION REPORT RELEASED
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MIDLAND, Mich. - The Fall 2001 issue of Michigan Education Report is
available online!

In the Fall 2001 issue:
* Teacher shortage feared
* Diverse Viewpoint: Is public education improving in Michigan?
Including perspective from State Superintendent Tom Watkins.
* Zero-tolerance policies
* Teachers oust union from charter school
* News & commentary on Proposal A, school debt
* MER survey results
* The latest education-related legislation
* And much more!

View the Fall 2001 issue at: www.educationreport.org

Subscribe to Michigan Education Report at:
www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/subscribe.aspx


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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 Elizabeth H. Moser at
med@educationreport.org
To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/listserver.aspx.
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