MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 10
March 12, 2002

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Contents of this issue:
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* Engler, Watkins debate elected vs. appointed state school board
* Detroit mayor may replace school board
* New state special ed rules still subject of debate
* National studies debate grade inflation, find promotion without mastery of
skills
* Substitute teacher requirements may change under new legislation
* 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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ENGLER, WATKINS DEBATE ELECTED VS. APPOINTED STATE SCHOOL BOARD
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LANSING, Mich. - The Detroit News and Gov. John Engler called for
the elimination of the elected state board of education, and the
appointment of a new board, in editorials on the issue last week,
while State Superintendent of Public Instruction Thomas Watkins
defended the status quo. The appointed board that Engler and the
News are advocating is common in more than 30 states.

"If public education is troubled, lack of money is not the
problem," the News wrote. "But leadership might be. Strong,
cohesive policy is required. The state board in its current
configuration has failed to provide it."

Watkins challenged the governor's criticism of the board, saying,
"I suggest the governor follow my grandma's adage: 'If you don't
have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.'"

"The governor would better serve Michigan's citizenry by working
with the state board, Legislature and Department of Education to
develop seamless educational opportunities from the womb to the
tomb," Watkins told the News.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Eliminate Elections for State Board of Ed,"
Mar. 10, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/editorial/0203/10/a14-436654.htm

Detroit News, "Should State Board of Ed Be Abolished? Yes:
Create accountability by letting governor choose superintendent,"
Mar. 10, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/editorial/0203/10/a15-436645.htm

Detroit News, "Should State Board of Ed Be Abolished? No:
Framers didn't want governor to dictate state education policy,"
Mar. 10, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/editorial/0203/10/a15-436611.htm

Macomb Daily News, "Stronger leadership needed from school superintendent,"
Mar. 10, 2002
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=3491770&BRD=988&PAG=461&dept_id=14
1265&rfi=8



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DETROIT MAYOR MAY REPLACE SCHOOL BOARD
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DETROIT, Mich. - Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said Monday he
will "definitely make new appointments" to the Detroit school
board during his tenure, but would wait until after the current
school year to make any decisions.

Kilpatrick also said he would listen to those who favor the
appointed "reform" board against protesters who have been calling
for the mayor to appoint new board members or find a way to
abolish the appointed board. That group plans to picket Wednesday
at Kilpatrick's State of the City address.

Under the 1999 Detroit school reform law, the Detroit mayor has
the authority to appoint six school board members, and can
replace them at any time. The seventh member is the state
superintendent of education. Detroit voters will decide in 2004
whether to keep the appointed system or return to a locally
elected board.

_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Detroit mayor may replace school board,"
Mar. 12, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/schools/0203/12/d06-438354.htm

Detroit News, "Leaders tout state's method for nation's public
schools," Mar. 7, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0203/07/d01-434632.htm



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NEW STATE SPECIAL-ED RULES STILL SUBJECT OF DEBATE
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DETROIT, Mich. - Despite agreement in February over new rules
governing special education in the state, public officials and
special education advocates are still worried about school
districts being forced to dip into their general education funds
to cover the increasing costs of special education.

Special education reformers like former State Supt. Arthur Ellis
argue that special education costs too much and that hidebound
regulations about class sizes and staff-to-student ratios need to
be more flexible.

The Michigan Department of Education told The Detroit News
special education costs grew at a 9 percent compounded annual
rate during the 1990s, while overall school revenues grew 3
percent.

The Michigan Department of Education says in the 1970s, 25,000 to
30,000 people were locked up in state centers for the
developmentally disabled. Today, there are less than 300. The
rest have been folded into the special education system.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Does special ed drain schools?," Mar. 10, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/schools/0203/10/a13-436642.htm


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NATIONAL STUDIES DEBATE GRADE INFLATION, FIND PROMOTION WITHOUT
MASTERY OF SKILLS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Most experts agree that colleges have let
grading standards slip, but many teachers and parents believe
that it's tougher to get a good grade in high school these days -
- and a new study seems to back them up.

After examining mathematics grades and standardized test scores
of 23,900 high school students, researchers for the Santa Monica,
Calif.-based Rand Corp. found "no large-scale, substantial grade
inflation, at least in mathematics, between 1982 and 1992."

In another study, Clifford Adelman, a U.S. Education Department
senior research analyst, reviewed 20 years of transcripts for
more than 20,000 college students and concluded that there was no
way to assess whether grades are inflated.

Top students are earning their A's and B's and getting a solid
public school education, said Jim Perry, a philosophy professor
at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa. However, the less
accomplished students he sees in his classes have graduated from
high school with good grades for little work and have to take
remedial courses.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Researchers find no evidence of grade inflation in
high school," Mar. 9, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/schools/0203/10/schools-436366.htm


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SUBSTITUTE TEACHER REQUIREMENTS MAY CHANGE UNDER NEW LEGISLATION
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LANSING, Mich. - Substitute teachers in Michigan would need just
two years of college credits instead of three under a proposal
aimed at easing a statewide shortage of fill-in classroom
leaders. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jud Gilbert, R-Algonac, said it
would give more options to districts when they need substitutes.

The bill, approved 9-6 Thursday by the House Education Committee,
would allow substitutes to teach with just 60 college credits
instead of 90.

Lawmakers have relaxed standards for substitutes before. The
state used to require a four-year degree, including six credits
in professional education, to fill in for Michigan teachers. That
was dropped to 90 credits, and the six-credit requirement was
dropped.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Substitute teachers would need less college under
proposed bill," Mar. 9, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/schools/0203/10/schools-436364.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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