MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 14
April 9, 2002

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Contents of this issue:
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* Detroit schools to redraw school boundaries, embrace
"neighborhood schools"
* Charter commission expected to report
* Bush offers early childhood education plan
* Detroit schools may lay off 450 administrators
* Michigan has highest ratio of male teachers nationwide
* Teachers' pay increases
* Detroit school audits prompt change
* School choice abroad offers hope for disabled students

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DETROIT SCHOOLS TO REDRAW SCHOOL BOUNDARIES, EMBRACE
"NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS"
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DETROIT, Mich. - Detroit school officials plan to announce new
elementary and middle school boundaries to make the 270 Detroit
public schools into more of a neighborhood school system, while
also allowing students more flexibility to chose the school that
best serves their needs.

School officials hope the new plan will create stronger parent
and community groups by sending students from the same
neighborhoods to the same school. Currently, many district
boundaries crisscross neighborhood areas.

Another goal of the new boundaries is to get students off buses.
Some students, especially those in the northeast and northwest
parts of the city, have to ride buses several miles south -- in
part because of outdated bus routes remaining from the days of
desegregation, even though 91 percent of Detroit students are
African American.

The plan will also offer an open enrollment policy, which will
allow students to pick a different school as long as the
principal approves the transfer.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Detroit district returns to neighborhood schools,"
Apr. 4, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0204/04/d01-456729.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Impact of Limited School
Choice on Public School Districts," July 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=2962


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CHARTER COMMISSION EXPECTED TO REPORT
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LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Commission on Charter Schools is
expected to issue its report this month to answer whether the
state should allow more charter schools and to whom charter
schools should be accountable.

The panel, headed by Peter McPherson, president of Michigan State
University, was formed last fall after lawmakers were unable to
resolve issues having to do with the future of charter schools in
the state.

According to a recent Detroit News editorial, "charter schools
are not the solution to every education problem," but the cap
should be lifted on the state's 150 charter schools sponsored by
universities.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Charter Schools Don't Need More Bureaucracy," Apr.
2, 2002
http://www.detroitnews.com/2002/editorial/0204/02/a06-454572.htm

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BUSH OFFERS EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION PLAN
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Bush has unveiled a new initiative to
expand the nation's early childhood education system, saying
teachers of pre-kindergarten-age youngsters need more training
and higher salaries.

Bush's program would direct the Department of Health and Human
Services to launch a project to train the nearly 50,000 teachers
in Head Start, the federally run preschool program, in techniques
for teaching reading. Bush said he would like to spend $45
million to research literacy programs and practices.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who will serve as the bill's
primary sponsor, said he and a bipartisan coalition of senators
would propose legislation to give $5 billion incentive grants to
states to coordinate existing early childhood programs of all
kinds, including those in public schools, in day care centers and
at home.

Like Bush's K-12 education plan, which Kennedy helped develop,
the new proposal would subject local programs to rigorous
evaluation by state departments of education.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Bush plans to aid teachers," Apr. 3, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/bush3_20020403.htm

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DETROIT SCHOOLS MAY LAY OFF 450 ADMINISTRATORS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Nearly 450 Detroit public school administrators,
including many who work in the schools as department heads or
staff coordinators, have received letters saying their contracts
may not be renewed for the next school year.

While some are expected to stay with the system, sending the
warning letters gives the district broad leeway to move these
administrators into different positions to save money and put
more teachers in classrooms.

"We are trying to provide maximum flexibility to reorganize the
schools and meet the needs of students," LaVonne Sheffield, chief
academic officer of the district, told The Detroit News.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "450 administrators may lose their jobs," Apr. 5,
2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0204/05/d06-457774.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Funding: Lack of
Money, or Lack of Money Management?," Aug. 30, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=3683

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MICHIGAN HAS HIGHEST RATIO OF MALE TEACHERS NATIONWIDE
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Students in Michigan public schools are more
likely to have a male teaching their class than any other state,
according to a study released this week.

The National Education Association study found that nearly 37
percent of the teachers in Michigan public schools are men,
compared to a nationwide average of 25.8 percent.

State education officials, who were unaware of the high
percentage, theorized that men are drawn to the field by
relatively high teacher salaries, which reached an estimated
average of $50,694 last year.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "State leads nation in male teachers," Apr. 8, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0204/08/a01-459818.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Male teacher ratio leads U.S.," Apr. 8, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/teach8_20020408.htm

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TEACHERS' PAY INCREASES
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Salaries for the nation's teachers kept pace
with living costs in the 1990s, rising 31 percent to about
$43,000, the nation's largest teachers union said this week.

In its annual report on state spending in education, the National
Education Association said teacher salaries rose 0.5 percent
between 1990 and 2000, with inflation taken into account.

The Labor Department's own figures show that elementary school
teachers' wages rose by about 38 percent between 1990 and 2000,
while those of high school teachers rose nearly 33 percent.

The NEA said 13 states last year paid the typical teacher $45,000
or more, but that average salaries in 25 states were less than
$40,000.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Teachers' pay rose in past 10 years," Apr. 8, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0204/08/a03-459699.htm

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DETROIT SCHOOL AUDITS PROMPT CHANGE
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DETROIT, Mich. - There were many infractions found in recently
released audits at 170 Detroit schools, but the abuses were
generally minor compared to findings during the past two years.

The audits showed a myriad of financial abuses, including using
school funds to purchase gifts and alcohol, yet some
administrators say the audits have promoted changes that will
make sure that education money is spent on kids.

During the past two years, auditors uncovered nearly $2 million
in missing or misspent money during a sweeping review of the
district's 270 schools. Six employees have been criminally
prosecuted and more potential cases are still being examined for
criminal wrongdoing.

But administrators say that with new safeguards in place and more
audits looming, principals will have a harder time making excuses
for sloppy bookkeeping. All principals are required to attend an
annual workshop on proper bookkeeping procedures and to send
school bank statements to district officials each month.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "School audits find less abuse," Apr. 8, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0204/08/c01-459570.htm

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SCHOOL CHOICE ABROAD OFFERS HOPE FOR DISABLED STUDENTS
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DETROIT, Mich. - A recent study by the Yankee Institute reveals
that school choice programs in other countries are providing
significant education options for students with special needs.
For example, in 1999 New Zealand offered a supplemental voucher
program targeted at the country's indigenous population, the
Maori.

Schools in New Zealand also receive supplemental funding for each
learning-disabled child they take in, which principals are free
to spend on what they and the child's parents determine are the
most appropriate services. If the child leaves the school for any
reason, the supplemental funding follows the child to his or her
new school.

Because of these policies, school choice enjoys nearly universal
public support in New Zealand, according to Roger Moltzen,
Director of Special Education Programs in the Department of
Education at New Zealand's University of Waikato.
_______
SOURCES:
Yankee Institute, "More Choices for Disabled Kids, Lessons from
Abroad," April 2002
http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/papers/choices.php

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Do Private Schools Serve
Difficult-to-Educate students?," January 1997
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=361

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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
[mailto:med@educationreport.org]
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