MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 21
May 28, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Lawmaker suggests elimination of MEAP tests
* Business leaders rate schools
* National Education Association warned by feds for unfair treatment of
religious objectors
* Posthumus: Scrap Detroit school board vote
* Michigan ranks 12th in per-pupil funding levels
* Young Michigan home schooler wins national geography bee
* NOTICE: Free seminar for economics teachers
* NOTICE: Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence seminars

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LAWMAKER SUGGESTS ELIMINATION OF MEAP TESTS
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LANSING, Mich. - The high cost of developing Michigan's
standardized test is prompting a state lawmaker to call for the
use of an exam used by other states to measure student
achievement.

Rep. Ken Bradstreet, R-Gaylord, said Michigan shouldn't be
spending $15 million a year on the Michigan Educational
Assessment Program tests, annual exams for fourth-, fifth-,
seventh- and eighth-graders and high school students, as it faces
deficits in the current and upcoming fiscal years.

The House is scheduled this week to consider his amendment to
require that Michigan abandon its own test development and use a
national test, such as Iowa Basics, already used in other states.

Bradstreet wants to add his provision to Michigan legislation
that would implement the new national law requiring annual
testing between grades three and eight. The bill also lays out
the federal guidelines to identify students who fail to improve
each year.

The legislation would combine three boards that handle student
assessment, student scholarships and school achievement into the
Michigan Assessment Governing Board. Bradstreet wants the board
to hire a company to provide the state's annual standardized
test.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Lawmaker: Drop MEAP," May 27, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/28/a15-499739.htm


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BUSINESS LEADERS RATE SCHOOLS
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LANSING, Mich. - State business leaders, who say they are weary
of waiting for the state to accredit schools, put out their own
list of high-performing public schools Thursday.

Schools where at least three-fourths of students passed the
Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests in reading,
writing, math, and science over the past two years were
recognized.

The Michigan Business Leaders for Education Excellence found that
436 elementary schools, or about 20 percent of the state's total,
and 962 middle schools, 10 percent of the statewide number, met
the standards. High school data are still being compiled and will
be included in later versions of the study.

Jim Sandy, director of the group, told The Detroit News the
state's failure to set defined standards that make schools
accountable to parents was part of the reason the business
leaders compiled the list.

________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Business leaders rate schools," May 24, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/28/c01-498127.htm


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NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION WARNED BY FEDS FOR UNFAIR
TREATMENT OF RELIGIOUS OBJECTORS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) recently ordered the National Education Association and
its state affiliates to stop violating the religious rights of
members who disagree with the union's political causes.

In a ruling made public last week, the federal agency said it
would sue the nation's largest teachers union if it did not stop
requiring teachers who categorized themselves as "religious
objectors" to fill out a series of lengthy questionnaires and
forms to keep their dues from supporting the union's political
agenda.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, union officials
may not force any employee to financially support a union if
doing so violates the employee's sincerely held religious
beliefs. The law allows union members to donate their fees to
charities of their choice if supporting the unions violates those
beliefs.

The EEOC has given the NEA and its affiliates time to eliminate
the annual procedure that infringes on worker's rights. If the
NEA does not do so, the EEOC will seek to resolve the issue in
court.
________
SOURCES:
FoxNews.com, "NEA Slapped With Warning for Violating Religious
Rights of Members," May 23, 2002
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,53442,00.html

Washington Times, "NEA ordered to end hassles over religion," May
21, 2002
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020521-74793200.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Religious Liberty and
Compulsory Unionism: A Worker's Guide to Using Union Dues for
Charity," June 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=2904


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POSTHUMUS: SCRAP DETROIT SCHOOL BOARD VOTE
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LANSING, Mich. - Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus, a Republican candidate
for governor, said Tuesday he wants to scrap plans for a 2004
vote in which Detroiters will decide whether to keep the city's
school reform board.

He also proposed that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appoint all seven
reform board members and the Detroit Public Schools' chief
executive. Under the 1999 law that replaced the elected board
with one primarily appointed by the mayor, Detroiters will vote
in 2004 on which system they want.

The three Democratic candidates for governor-ex-Gov. James J.
Blanchard, U.S. Rep. David Bonior of Mt. Clemens and Attorney
General Jennifer Granholm-all denounced Posthumus' plan.

Kilpatrick has said that he supports the right of Detroiters to
vote, but that as long as there's an appointed board, he wants
the authority to appoint all its members.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Posthumus: Scrap school vote," May 22, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/28/c01-495880.htm


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MICHIGAN RANKS 12TH IN PER-PUPIL FUNDING LEVELS
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LANSING, Mich. - Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau show
that Michigan ranks 12th among the states in per-pupil school
funding levels.

Michigan spent an average of $7,662 per pupil for the 1999-2000
school year. The 12th-place ranking is the same one it achieved
for the 1991-92 school year, when the state's per-pupil spending
reached $5,738.

The figures show that heavily populated states such as New
Jersey, New York and Connecticut tend to spend more per pupil
than rural states. According to the Census Bureau, both states
spend more than $10,000 per student each year, far above the
$6,835 national average.

The state of Michigan paid the fourth-highest amount in state
funds to school districts in 2000--$5,762 per pupil, according to
the report. The state ranked 33rd in terms of amount of local
funds spent per pupil--$2,546 compared to the national average of
$3,438.

Michigan ranked 21st in federal money paid to districts. The
national average was $569 per pupil and Michigan districts
received about $597 per pupil.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "States forced to cut per-pupil aid," May 23, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/28/a07-496955.htm

Detroit Free Press, "New York, New Jersey spend most on schools,"
May 23, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skul23_20020523.htm


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YOUNG MICHIGAN HOME SCHOOLER WINS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHY BEE
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Calvin McCarter, a home-schooled 10-year-old
from Jenison, Mich. and the youngest competitor in a field of 55
youthful geography experts, won the National Geographic Bee
Wednesday.

Only last month, McCarter had become the youngest state winner
ever when he bested 100 Michigan fourth- through eighth-graders
at geography. McCarter prevailed in the National Geographic Bee
by knowing that the Lop Nur nuclear testing site is in China.

A smiling McCarter told the Associated Press afterward he was "a
little bit nervous but happy" with his victory. He collected a
$25,000 college scholarship.
________
SOURCE:
CNN.com, "Youngest competitor named geography champ," May 23,
2002
http://www.cnn.com/2002/fyi/teachers.ednews/05/22/geographic.bee.ap/index.ht
ml



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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: 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
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Contact Managing Editor Elizabeth H. Moser at
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