MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 22
June 4, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Burnley: Detroit schools' MEAP scores "plain awful"
* Detroit Free Press calls for support of $1-billion plan for school
construction
* Commentary says competition among schools boosts learning
* Republicans seek tax credits for public, private education
* Commentary questions MEA's challenge to free speech
* Mackinac Center names new director of education policy
* NOTICE: New issue of Michigan Education Report released
* NOTICE: Free seminar for economics teachers
* NOTICE: Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence seminars

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BURNLEY: DETROIT SCHOOLS' MEAP SCORES "PLAIN AWFUL"
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DETROIT, Mich. - Elementary and middle school MEAP scores
released Wednesday showed the percentage of Detroit students who
received satisfactory scores was 10 to 29 percent lower than the
state averages.

The low scores could prove costly for the district, as next year
brings the implementation of a new federal law linking "Title I"
federal funding for low-income pupils to consistent improvement
on state tests.

Detroit schools CEO Kenneth Burnley said the MEAP scores are
"plain awful," a result of the district's old ways. He said the
district will implement an improvement plan, which includes new
reading textbooks, in the fall.

The new federal legislation requires 100 percent of students to
meet their state's standards in 10 years. In Michigan, about 60
percent to 70 percent of the students pass the MEAP test in most
of the subject areas.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "MEAP may be costly next year," May 30, 2002.
http://www.freep.com/news/education/meap30_20020530.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "POLICY BRIEF: Which
Educational Achievement Test is Best for Michigan?,"
May 28, 2002.
http://www.mackinac.org/4382


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DETROIT FREE PRESS CALLS FOR SUPPORT OF $1-BILLION PLAN FOR SCHOOL
CONSTRUCTION
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LANSING, Mich. - A recent Detroit Free Press editorial calls for
the support of a plan by state senators to provide tax dollars
to schools to offset the cost of new construction.

The plan would have voters decide this November whether to set up
a $1-billion fund to reimburse school districts for interest
costs on some or all of the bonds they sell for major
construction. Since interest can double the cost of a project,
this could represent major savings.

The plan comes in response to a study in 2000 by the National
Education Association (NEA), which said that Michigan schools may
need at least $9.9 billion in building improvements in coming
years.

But some argue that the answer to assisting schools with
construction needs is not increased taxes, but a repeal of the
prevailing wage law and better debt policies for schools.
In a study for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Prof.
Richard Vedder of Ohio University found that the prevailing wage
law increased construction costs by at least 10 percent.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Dilapidated Schools," June 2, 2002
http://www.freep.com/voices/editorials/ebond2_20020602.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Better Debt Policy Can Help
Earn Voters' Trust," Nov. 1998
http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=1283

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Need for Debt Policy in
Michigan Public Schools," Jan. 1998
http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=363

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

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


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COMMENTARY SAYS COMPETITION AMONG SCHOOLS BOOSTS LEARNING
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DETROIT, Mich. - A recent Detroit News commentary calls for
increased competition among schools, through increased parental
choice.

The commentary, written by Rob Sligh, a Holland parent and school
volunteer for both traditional and charter public schools, says
competition among schools improves education by providing
incentives for schools to perform well and make necessary
improvements.

Sligh calls for more charter schools and greater choice among
public schools.

"Because students learn in different ways, there must be a wide
variety of options to allow each student to reach his or her
greatest potential. Expanding the potential pool of public
schools would prompt all public schools to become more efficient,
spending only where they can provide important learning value for
students," Sligh said.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Increasing competition among schools boosts
learning," June 2, 2002.
http://detnews.com/2002/editorial/0206/02/a15-504072.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Impact of Limited School
Choice on Public School Districts," July 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=2962


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REPUBLICANS SEEK TAX CREDITS FOR PUBLIC, PRIVATE EDUCATION
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Republican leaders have halted efforts
to get private-school vouchers and instead plan to move an
education tax-credit proposal they say will increase investment
in both public and private schools and allow more parents to send
their children to private schools if they so choose.

A group of Republicans led by Rep. Bob Schaffer, R-Colo., drafted
the proposal, which would allow anyone who donates to an
organization providing private- or religious-school scholarships
to elementary or secondary students to receive half of the money
back through a tax credit. It would apply to donations of up to
$250 from an individual, $500 from a couple and $50,000 from a
corporation.

The same incentives also would apply for those who donate to
public schools. Public schools could spend the donated money
however they see fit.

"This will result in a massive cash infusion to education -
period," Rep. Schaffer told The Washington Times. "It treats
public schools on an equal level as private schools. It does not
allocate money in any way."

The bill is expected to go to the House floor for consideration
in July.
________
SOURCES:
Washington Times, "Republicans find vouchers alternative,"
May 28, 2002.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20020528-1064984.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Universal Tuition Tax
Credit: A Proposal to Advance Parental Choice in Education,"
Nov. 1997
http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=362

Michigan Education Report, "Momentum shifts toward education tax
credits," Early Fall 2001
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=3748


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COMMENTARY QUESTIONS MEA'S CHALLENGE TO FREE SPEECH
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DETROIT, Mich. - A recent Detroit News editorial by Thomas Bray
says the Michigan Education Association (MEA) is attempting to
challenge a public policy think tank's right to free speech.

Bray chides the MEA for its lawsuit against the Midland-based
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a non-profit research and
educational institution. The suit charges that the Center
misappropriated the use of MEA President Luigi Battaglieri's name
for commercial purposes.

In the fundraising letter, the Mackinac Center quoted
Battaglieri's statement at an MEA press conference, in which he
complimented the Center's efforts in education reform. Bray says
the lawsuit seeks to limit the Mackinac Center's right to free
speech.


Bray states: "If it's not fair to quote a well-known public
figure like Battaglieri at a press conference he himself called,
then we can forget about the First Amendment."
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Don't use courts to suppress dissent,"
June 2, 2002.
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0206/02/a17-504080.htm

Detroit News, "Teachers union sues Michigan policy center,"
May 23, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0205/28/c07w-496519.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Education Association sues Mackinac
Center over letter," May 21, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/statewire/sw56221_20020521.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan Education
Association Sues Mackinac Center for Quoting the Union's
President," May 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4356


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MACKINAC CENTER NAMES NEW DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION POLICY
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MIDLAND, Mich. - Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., is the Mackinac Center's
new Director of Education Policy. Dr. Johnson comes to the
Mackinac Center from the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage
Foundation, where he was senior policy analyst for the
Foundation's Center for Data Analysis. At Heritage, Dr. Johnson
studied academic achievement, school funding, welfare, poverty,
taxation, and other policy issues.

At the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Dr. Johnson will
investigate subjects relating to Michigan's education system,
including its funding, standards, accountability, and ways to
allow parents to choose the safest and best schools for their
children. He and the Center's education policy team will
continue research currently under way in school regulation,
teacher qualifications, and other areas, and to produce the
quarterly newspaper Michigan Education Report and the weekly
Michigan Education Digest.

The Mackinac Center's Education Policy Initiative is supported by
multi-year grants from a number of foundations and individuals.

Dr. Johnson succeeds Matthew Brouillette, who is the new
president of the Pennsylvania-based Commonwealth Foundation.
________
SOURCES:
Dr. Johnson's first Mackinac Center Policy Brief, "Which
Educational Achievement Test is Best for Michigan? A Comparison
of the MEAP, SAT-9, and ITBS," May 28, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4382

Heritage Foundation biography of Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D.
http://www.heritage.org/staff/kirk_johnson.html

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NOTICE: NEW ISSUE OF MICHIGAN EDUCATION REPORT RELEASED
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MIDLAND, Mich. - The Spring 2002 issue of Michigan Education
Report is hot off the presses!

Read Michigan Education Report online or look for your hard copy
in mail.

Topics covered in the Spring 2002 issue:
* State Board of Education adopts school grading plan
* No local autonomy for special education in Michigan
* Strict discipline academies
* Teacher education programs
* The latest education-related legislation
* And much more!

View the Spring 2002 issue at:
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/

Subscribe to Michigan Education Report at:
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/subscribe.aspx


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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
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]
To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to
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