MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 18
May 7, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/

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Contents of this issue:
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* House rejects charter cap increase
* Michigan Gubernatorial candidates reveal education platforms
* Study offers education policy blueprint for Michigan lawmakers
* Officials debate changes to Proposal A
* Bush visits, lauds Southfield school
* Commentary calls for consolidated school elections
* Judge orders truant's mother to school
* NOTICE: Michigan Education Digest archives available online!
* NOTICE: Free seminar for economics teachers
* NOTICE: Mock legislature summer program offered for teens
* NOTICE: Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence Seminars

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HOUSE REJECTS CHARTER CAP INCREASE
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LANSING, Mich. - Michigan lawmakers narrowly defeated legislation
Wednesday night that would have nearly doubled the number of
charter schools in the state over the next six years.

The proposal failed by a single vote when Republican backers were
unable to muster the 55 votes necessary for passage.

Supporters left open the possibility of another shot at passage by
introducing a motion to reconsider the vote.

Near-unified Democratic opposition helped derail the delicately
balanced plan, which would lift the 150-school cap on university-
sponsored public school academies, while requiring tougher
oversight and more red tape for the schools.

The defeat is seen as a victory for the Michigan Education
Association, which, although it favored the bill for the
restrictions it would impose on all charters, has historically
opposed the charter school movement.

The bill was crafted from a plan proposed in April by the state-
appointed Commission on Charter Schools.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "House rejects charter plan," May 2, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/02/d01-479658.htm

Grand Rapids Press, "Animosity over charters: Democrats shouldn't
defeat bill that steadily lifts the cap," May 2, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf.html_
standard.xsl?/base/news-0/102035070387860.xml



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MICHIGAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES REVEAL EDUCATION PLATFORMS
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LANSING, Mich. - Candidates for governor are revealing more of
their education platforms as the election draws nearer.

Democratic U.S. Rep. David Bonior is supporting higher state
funding for schools and the right for teachers to strike.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus has pledged that all Michigan
third-graders will read at grade level by the time he runs for a
second term in 2006.

Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, calls for
"turnaround teams" of education specialists to help shore up
schools with chronically bad academic performance.

The three Democratic candidates, and Republican state Sen. Joe
Schwarz, say they would consider allowing changes to the Proposal
A tax plan that would allow local districts to levy extra
property taxes. Posthumus opposes higher local taxes for school
operations.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "RACE FOR GOVERNOR: Schools backed, not
bashed," May 6, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/politics/educ6_20020506.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Education issues: Priorities of the
candidates for governor," May 6, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/edgrid6_20020506.htm

Detroit News, "How the key unions can help candidates," May 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0205/06/a09-481496.htm


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STUDY OFFERS EDUCATION POLICY BLUEPRINT FOR MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS
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MIDLAND, Mich. - A new study by the Mackinac Center for Public
Policy offers the Michigan Legislature a policy blueprint for the
upcoming term, including an extensive section on education
reform. The study recommends removing the "cap" on charter
schools, reform of teacher certification laws, and the expansion
of public schools-of-choice programs.


The study calls for the elimination of language in the Michigan
Constitution that prohibits tax credits for private education,
and recommends that tax credits be allowed for public school
donations as well as private.

"Lawmakers ought to put aside parochial concerns, avoid the pork
barrel, eschew the temptation to plan and control the lives and
businesses of people, keep government in its proper place, and
solve problems in ways that leave citizens freer, better off
materially, and facing a future full of new opportunities," the
Mackinac Center report concludes.
________
SOURCES:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Keeping Michigan on Track: A
Blueprint for a Freer, More Prosperous State," May 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4198


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OFFICIALS DEBATE CHANGES TO PROPOSAL A
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DETROIT, Mich. - The Detroit News recently featured a point-
counterpoint in answer to the question "Does Prop A shortchange
kids?"

Answering yes, Mark T. Slavens, vice-president of the Plymouth-
Canton Board of Education, wrote that Proposal A has not
fulfilled the goal of equalizing funding between districts, and
that legislators should therefore consider changes to the plan.

State Treasurer Doug Roberts, in answering "no," wrote that
Proposal A has drastically decreased property taxes while
reducing funding disparities between districts, and providing
flexibility for future changes in education funding.

Roberts cited Governing magazine, which called Proposal A "...the
most successful resolution of the school funding issue in any
major state."
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Does Prop A shortchange kids?," May 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0205/06/a15-481586.htm

Detroit News, "Yes: Students held back by approach," May 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0205/06/a15-481545.htm

Detroit News, "No: Approach meets tax, school needs," May 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0205/06/a15-481544.htm


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BUSH VISITS, LAUDS SOUTHFIELD SCHOOL
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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - President Bush visited Southfield Monday to
laud the Arthur Vandenberg School.

Of its 410 students, nearly half speak English as a second
language. The students' native tongues range from Russian to
Arabic to French. Some 65 percent qualify for free or reduced
lunch prices.

Yet, last year, all of the students who took the Michigan
Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) math test were deemed
proficient. The state average is 72 percent. In reading, 93
percent at Vandenberg scored proficient, compared with a state
average of 60 percent.

Some districts with low scores say they need more public tax
dollars to improve. Yet Southfield Supt. Cecil Rice also faces
money pressures and delivers a gem like Vandenberg.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Bush tends domestic agenda, politics amid
Mideast diplomacy at Southfield school visit," May 6, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm9046_20020506.htm

Detroit News, "Southfield school impresses Bush," May 7, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/07/a01-483400.htm

Detroit News, "Residents say elementary school right choice for Bush
visit," May 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/07/-482740.htm

Detroit News, "Vandenberg School: A Lesson in Solutions,"
May 6, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0205/06/a16-481532.htm

Detroit News, "School's success attracts president," May 3, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/03/d01-480427.htm

Detroit News, "Bush school visit to promote reforms," May 5, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/politics/0205/06/c01-481708.htm

Michigan Privatization Report, "Economies of School:
Privatization and Small Districts," Fall 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=3718


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COMMENTARY CALLS FOR CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL ELECTIONS
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DETROIT, Mich. - A recent commentary in the Detroit Free Press
called for the consolidation of school and local elections, to
save money and increase voter turnout.

Dawson Bell, author of the commentary, wrote that the change
would increase community involvement in public education and
provide better opportunities for voters to become involved when
tax proposals are at issue.

Yet many administrators and school employee unions continue to
fight the change, because fewer voters means fewer people to
convince when more money is being requested.

Bell wrote that in Lansing, education lobbyists are more numerous
than any other variety, and that they are "paid with tax dollars
to advocate spending of tax dollars."

They uniformly oppose election consolidation, he wrote.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "DAWSON BELL: Consolidated elections an idea
whose time has come," May 6, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/politics/polcol6_20020506.htm

Viewpoint on Public Issues, "School elections should be in
November," Jan. 4, 1999
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=1647


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JUDGE ORDERS TRUANT'S MOTHER TO SCHOOL
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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A Michigan mother must attend junior high
school for a month with her truant daughter, a Traverse County
District Court judge has ruled.

Judge Thomas Gilbert sentenced Brenda Lee Hansen to 30 days at
West Junior High School with her daughter, beginning April 17.

Two days earlier, Ms. Hansen pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor
related to her daughter's truancy. The girl had piled up 37
unexcused absences this school year, according to the county
prosecutor, Dennis LaBelle.

Conrad Reiter, the principal of the 1,465-student school told
Education Week Ms. Hansen was attending classes daily and having
lunch in the cafeteria at her daughter's side.

In addition, Ms. Hansen, 37, spent two days in jail and must
attend parenting classes, cooperate with the county family-
services agency, and be on probation until her daughter turns 16,
next February. This is the first time a parent has been ordered
to attend school in the district.
_______
SOURCE:
Education Week, "Michigan Judge Orders Truant's Mother to
School," May 1, 2002
http://www.educationweek.org/ew/newstory.cfm?slug=33briefs.h21


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NOTICE: MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST ARCHIVES AVAILABLE ONLINE!
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A new web page gives Michigan Education Digest readers access to
the year's past issues. Readers can use a search engine indexed
according to topics, covering everything from special education
to Proposal A.

View the new site at:
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med


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NOTICE: FREE SEMINAR FOR ECONOMICS TEACHERS
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The Foundation for Teaching Economics is sponsoring a free summer
seminar entitled "Economics for Leaders," July 15-21, on the
campus of Hillsdale College. The seminar is open to any teacher
of economics and is especially suited for teachers of social
studies, civics and history.

Free room and board is provided on the campus of Hillsdale
College. All participants receive a $100.00 stipend upon
completion of the program. Program graduates are eligible to
submit a portfolio on teaching economics to the Foundation, the
best of which will receive a prize of $5,000.00. Two semester
credit hours will be awarded by the University of California at
Davis for a fee of $85.00.

Three Michigan State Board Continuing Education Units (SB-CEUs) of
academic credit are available free of charge to Michigan public
school teachers who take the seminar.

For more information and to register, visit the Foundation's web
site at www.fte.org, or call (800) 383-4335.


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NOTICE: MOCK LEGISLATURE SUMMER PROGRAM OFFERED FOR TEENS
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The 2002 Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI) is a dynamic,
faith-based summer program for high school teens. The SSI
curriculum includes Biblical worldview teaching, testimonies from
outstanding Christian leaders, and a true-to-life mock
legislature where students apply what they learn to current
issues while role-playing as members of the Legislature at the
Capitol building in Lansing.

Students interested in the program can attend during the weeks of
June 23-28, or July 7-12.

For more information or to register students for SSI's Summer
Program, contact the Student Statesmanship Institute toll free at
(877) 464-6388, by email at ssi@ssi-online.org, or visit the
website at www.ssi-online.org.


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NOTICE: HOOGLAND CENTER FOR TEACHER EXCELLENCE SEMINARS
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Hillsdale College's Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence is
sponsoring two summer seminars, to be held on campus. They are:

June 28-29: A More Perfect Union: Teaching the United States
Constitution

August 2-3: Natural Rights and Justice: Teaching the Civil Rights
Movement

The seminars are open to public, private and home-school middle
and high school teachers of civics, social studies and history.
The registration fee is only $25.00. This includes accommodations
at the on-campus hotel, all meals, and seminar and curriculum
materials.

Participants at the seminar will explore the U.S. Constitution
and civil rights movement in lectures and small group discussions
led by Hillsdale College faculty and special guest lecturers.
Hillsdale College academic credit or one Michigan State Board-
Continuing Education Unit (SB-CEU) of academic credit can be
earned by taking the seminar.

For more information and to register, visit www.hillsdale.edu/cte, or call
(866) 824-6831.




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MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST is a service of Michigan Education
Report (http://www.educationreport.org), a quarterly newspaper
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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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