MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 12
March 26, 2002

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Contents of this issue:
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* Gubernatorial candidates reveal education platforms
* Detroit News poll: Voters still support Proposal A
* Saginaw schools toughen graduation requirements
* Clio school district offers incentive program to teachers
* DeVos organization to support school choice candidates
* NOTICE: Outrageous school regulations contest - Win a Palm Pilot!
* NOTICE: Education Freedom Fund seeks scholarship applicants
* NOTICE: "Student Mentor Partners" seeks Metro Detroit scholarship
applicants


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GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES REVEAL EDUCATION PLATFORMS
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LANSING, Mich. - In a recent Detroit News article, Michigan
gubernatorial candidates outlined their goals for education in
the state. Below are a few of the goals they expressed.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus: Teach all children to read by
the third grade. Ensure a quality principal in every building.

State Sen. John Swartz, R-Battle Creek: Sustain basic school aid
per-pupil allowance of $6,700. Increase funding for universities
and colleges.

Democratic Former Gov. James Blanchard: Expand the Michigan
college tuition savings program. Increase funding for early
education from ages 0-5.

U.S. Rep. David Bonior, D-Mt. Clemens: Reduce class sizes.
Establish after-school programs.

Democratic Atty. Gen. Jennifer Granholm: Promote smaller class
sizes. Expand public schools of choice program, without
increasing charters or other forms of school choice.

State Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Salem Township: Increase per-
pupil funding if state revenue increases. Prioritize spending in
other areas to improve students' health.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "What candidates for governor would do,"
Mar. 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/metro/0203/25/a05-448808.htm


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DETROIT NEWS POLL: VOTERS STILL SUPPORT PROPOSAL A
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DETROIT, Mich. - A recent Detroit News poll found more than half
of likely voters would pass Proposal A again given the chance,
and exactly half believe local schools are adequately funded,
according to the survey.

The 1994 Proposal A school finance reform slashed local school
property taxes by two-thirds and raised the state sales tax by
two cents on the dollar to make up the lost revenue. The plan
also reduced vast per-pupil funding gaps between districts.

Under Proposal A, most local districts are barred from raising
money through local tax appeals unless the money is slated for
new buildings or building improvements.

The News poll also showed that despite support for Proposal A, 75
percent of state residents would like the right to increase taxes
on themselves to raise supplemental money for local school
classrooms.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Residents want right to raise school taxes,"
Mar. 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/metro/0203/25/a01-448816.htm

Detroit News, "Couple favors boost in property tax for schools,"
Mar. 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/metro/0203/25/a05-448801.htm

Detroit News, "Voters to politicians: Improve the schools,"
Mar. 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/metro/0203/25/a05-448800.htm

Detroit News, "Pontiac mother of 3 urges quality education for
all," Mar. 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/metro/0203/25/a05-448803.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Fix Michigan Schools with Proposal
A+," December 7, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=3882


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SAGINAW SCHOOLS TOUGHEN GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
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SAGINAW, Mich. - The Saginaw Public Schools Board of Education
approved a plan Wednesday that requires students at area high
schools, starting with next year's graduating class, to score
well on one of several standardized tests or to pass an intensive
reading course in order to graduate.

To earn a diploma, students will have to: a) pass the Michigan
Educational Assessment Program reading test; or b) score a Level
4 or above on the ACT WorkKeys reading assessment, designed for
pupils in technical and vocational programs; or c) achieve scores
above the 70th percentile on the ACT or SAT tests.

If the students don't score high enough on those tests, they will
have to pass a reading course taught by a reading specialist.

Board members approved the policy in 1999 but re-worked it
because of concerns over relying on one measure, such as the
Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests, to rate student
success.
________
SOURCE:
Saginaw News, "Graduation requirements get tougher,"
Mar. 21, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/sanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html
_standard.xsl?/base/news/101672760567591.xml



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CLIO SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFERS INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR TEACHERS
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CLIO, Mich. - A new bonus program will give Clio teachers a 1
percent bonus for attending after-school programs and increasing
student performance. The program rewards all the teachers in a
school building if they meet criteria set in a recently approved
contract.

Clio is the second district in the Genesee County area to adopt
the incentives. A year ago, the Grand Blanc School District also
began to offer "value-added" pay, even though union officials
opposed the plan.

But Clio and Grand Blanc school officials say the incentives are
no different than bonuses given at businesses.

"This is just encouraging and supporting kids," Clio School

Superintendent Fay Latture told the Flint Journal. "We've never
had a problem with teachers not supporting school activities.
This is just a way to encourage teachers to be involved and set a
standard for the district."
_______
SOURCE:
Flint Journal, "Reaction mixed to Clio's incentive plan for teachers,"
Mar. 22, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.x
sl?/base/news/1016815805274672.xml



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DEVOS ORGANIZATION TO SUPPORT SCHOOL CHOICE CANDIDATES
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A new education lobbying group planning to
make itself a player in this fall's elections isn't made up of
teachers or school administrators.

The Great Lakes Education Project political action committee has
been created to help elect lawmakers who care about children
first, not protecting the status quo in public education,
according to Chairwoman Betsy DeVos, former chairwoman of
Michigan's Republican Party.

DeVos said the new group will focus most of its efforts on open
legislative seats. There will be plenty, with 27 of 38 senators
and 23 of 110 House members moving out because of term limits.

The group's main goal is to elect lawmakers who support school
choice options, such as increasing the number of charter schools.

The new group also wants to consolidate school elections and
prevent any tinkering with Proposal A, the system under which the
state collects taxes and divides money among public schools.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "DeVos PAC targets GOP incumbents," Mar. 21, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0203/21/d14e-445760.htm


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NOTICE: OUTRAGEOUS SCHOOL REGULATIONS CONTEST - WIN A PALM PILOT!
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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational
institute in Midland, is asking Michigan teachers, school
principals, administrators and parents to help in its research on
confusing, conflicting and overlapping mandates that hamper the
operation of Michigan school districts, by coming up with the
most outrageous school regulation or rule they can find.

The winner of this contest-the results of which will be revealed
in April in conjunction with the release of a forthcoming
Mackinac Center report on school regulations-will receive a "Palm
Pilot" hand-held computer organizer, a prize symbolic of the
order and clarity school administrators want and deserve.

School principals, teachers and other administrators who believe
they have a candidate for the Mackinac Center's Most Outrageous
School Regulation Contest can submit their entry by calling
Christopher Martens at (989) 631-0900, e-mailing Martens at
martens@mackinac.org or by faxing their entry to (989) 631-0964.

The deadline for submissions is April 1.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Dumbest school rule wins contest," Mar. 1, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0203/01/d01-429531.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Think tank seeks outrageous rules,"
Feb. 25, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/metro/date25_20020225.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Mackinac Center Asks
Teachers, School Administrators to Find Most Outrageous School
Regulations, Rules," Feb. 18, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4089


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NOTICE: EDUCATION FREEDOM FUND SEEKS SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANTS
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The Education Freedom Fund (EFF), a statewide non-profit
organization, is seeking K-8 scholarship applicants for the 2002-
2003 school year.

EFF's scholarships provide hope for low-income children who are
trapped in poorly performing schools and whose parents cannot
afford an alternative.

Scholarships of up to $1,000 per child are renewable for four
years.

To qualify for the scholarships, applying families must meet
established income guidelines.

Families interested in applying for a scholarship may call toll-
free 800-866-8141 or visit the Education Freedom Fund web site at
www.educationfreedomfund.org.

The deadline for applications is March 31, 2002.


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NOTICE: "STUDENT MENTOR PARTNERS" SEEKS METRO-DETROIT
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANTS
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Student Mentor Partners, a non-profit organization serving
metropolitan Detroit youth, is seeking scholarship applicants for
the 2002-03 school year.

The organization provides scholarships to low-income children in
the 8th grade and above, who desire an alternative to Detroit
neighborhood high schools, but whose parents cannot afford such
an alternative.

Student Mentor Partners offers students a mentoring program to
ensure that they have access to and utilize the resources,
training, support and adult guidance needed to succeed in a
private high school environment. It also helps them develop
self-confidence, accept responsibility, and be prepared for
college.

Sponsorships average $2,800 per child annually and are renewable
for four years or until graduation. To qualify for the program,
applying students must meet established income guidelines and
demonstrate interest in utilizing an adult mentor.

Families interested in applying for the program may call (313)
886-9083 or e-mail Student Mentor Partners at
studentmentorpartners@att.net.

The deadline for applications is March 31, 2002.




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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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