MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 20
May 21, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Michigan schools face billions in repairs
* MEA sues Mackinac Center for quoting MEA president's own words
* MEAP scores show some students from low-income families perform well
* Inkster school district refuses to pay Edison; Faces state takeover
* 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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MICHIGAN SCHOOLS FACE BILLIONS IN REPAIRS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Decaying public schools throughout the state
need billions of dollars for repairs, and educators are working
to find ways to come up with the money.

According to a study in 2000 by the National Education
Association (NEA), Michigan schools may need at least $9.9
billion in building improvements. Michigan educators insist that
estimate is low, considering that Detroit Public Schools has
estimated it will cost $5 billion to repair its buildings.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins recently
proposed solutions that include low-interest-rate bonds for
construction; state grants for buildings; state per-student money
for capital needs; and standardized building designs for Michigan
schools to reduce planning and construction costs.

But others argue that without a repeal of the prevailing wage
law, which requires that any state construction project must pay
contractors the "prevailing wage" for the area in which the
project is completed, Michigan schools will be forced to pay
unnecessarily high construction costs.

In a study for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Professor
Richard Vedder of Ohio University found that the prevailing wage
law increased construction costs by at least 10 percent.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Decaying Michigan schools need billions for
repairs," May 12, 2002.
http://freep.com/news/statewire/sw55689_20020512.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Before Cutting Services or
Delaying Tax Cuts...," May 17, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=4354

Viewpoint on Public Issues, "Michigan's Prevailing Wage Law
Forces Schools to Waste Money," Nov. 9, 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=3844


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MEA SUES MACKINAC CENTER FOR QUOTING MEA PRESIDENT'S OWN WORDS
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LANSING, Mich. - At a Lansing news conference today, the Mackinac
Center for Public Policy defended itself against a legal attack
by the Michigan Education Association, which is suing the
Midland-based research institute for quoting MEA President Luigi
Battaglieri. In a news conference of his own last September,
Battaglieri stated that he admired what the Mackinac Center has
done. The Mackinac Center repeated Battaglieri's words in a
three-page, year-end letter to current and prospective
supporters.

The union is not alleging that the Mackinac Center misquoted the
MEA president. In its complaint dated March 8, the union stated
that the Mackinac Center "misappropriated" Battaglieri's
"likeness" for "commercial benefit," and is demanding to know the
identities of those who received the Mackinac Center letter. The
union is also demanding for itself any funds supporters sent to
the Mackinac Center in response to the letter.

Defending the Mackinac Center is the Washington, D.C.-based
Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm. Its
president, Chip Mellor, said "The MEA's tactics are reminiscent
of the anti-civil rights movement of the 1950s. The MEA will use
any means of intimidation it can think of-from demanding
Mackinac's mailing lists to abusing the judicial system-to quash
any voice for reform. The MEA's goal is to intimidate supporters
of the Mackinac Center. But just like in the 1950s, the bullies
will lose this fight."

MEA attorney Arthur R. Przybylowicz stated in correspondence to
the Mackinac Center that the Battaglieri quote repeated by the
Center "distorts" the union president's views.

"The truth speaks for itself," said Joseph Overton, the Mackinac
Center's senior vice president. "Lu Battaglieri said, 'I admire
what they have done over the last couple years,' referring to the
Mackinac Center. We merely accurately repeated the union
president's statement."
________
SOURCES:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Media Advisory," May 21, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4357

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Keeping the Free in Free
Speech," May 21, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4356

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Transcript of Battaglieri
Remarks," May 21, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4358

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Michigan Education
Association Tries to Take the 'Free' Out of 'Free Speech,'" May
21, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4359


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MEAP SCORES SHOW SOME STUDENTS FROM LOW-INCOME FAMILIES PERFORM
WELL
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LANSING, Mich. - While the average of all MEAP scores in
Detroit's public school district is below the state average,
there are dozens of individual Detroit schools whose scores place
them among the top performing schools in the state.

The latter result casts doubt upon the idea that students in high
poverty areas are too burdened by familial and social ills to
perform at high levels, according to a database released Tuesday
by the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization based in
Washington, D.C.

The database, called Dispelling the Myth, is a Web-based data
warehouse that allows users to identify high-poverty and high-
minority schools whose students are achieving at high levels on
state assessments.

In Michigan, the Education Trust found that 188 schools in high-
poverty and high-minority areas performed in the top one-third of
all schools on the MEAP test in 2000. Of that number, 77 were
Detroit schools.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "MEAP scores contradict myth," May 15, 2002.
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skul15_20020515.htm

Education Trust www.edtrust.org


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INKSTER SCHOOL DISTRICT REFUSES TO PAY EDISON; FACES STATE
TAKEOVER
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INKSTER, Mich. - A state-appointed manager could take control of
Inkster schools' finances within a month because school officials
have refused to pay the private company that manages the
district.

State school supt. Tom Watkins pledged to ask Gov. John Engler to
appoint a manager for the district unless Inkster officials
worked out their differences with Edison Schools of New York by
Wednesday night. The school board took no action to resolve the
issue.

Inkster school officials contracted with Edison in 1999 to avoid
a state takeover because of its long-standing budget deficit.
Under the contract, the district gives Edison its state funding
and Edison uses it to operate the school district.

However, Inkster officials have not given Edison the state
funding for the 2001-02 school year. Edison officials also
complain that the school board interferes with personnel matters
-- such as hiring a superintendent. Some Inkster officials
counter that Edison is not sharing financial information, is
unreceptive to local input in decision making, and is not
implementing the curriculum it promised in the high school.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Inkster refuses to pay Edison," May 16, 2002.
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/17/d01-491202.htm


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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 are 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 the 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
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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