MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 27
July 9, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* State education leaders defend Michigan schools
* Bush, commission encourage vouchers for low-income, special education students
* Grand Rapids School Board President calls for "Parental Bill of Rights"
* Detroit teachers, school district, reach tentative agreement on contract
* After-school programs shackled by regulations


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STATE EDUCATION LEADERS DEFEND MICHIGAN SCHOOLS
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LANSING, Mich. - Michigan education leaders are defending the
state's schools after a recent federal report listed 40 percent
of them as failing.

The report is part of President Bush's No Child Left Behind
program, set to take effect in the fall. The program will give
students in failing schools the option to attend better-
performing schools in the same district.

Michigan reported 1,513 schools failed to meet the state's
academic standards, by far the most in the nation. But school
officials say Michigan's large number of failing schools is due
to standards that are perhaps the country's toughest to meet.

Current Michigan guidelines say schools should improve by at
least 10 percent on state standardized Michigan Educational
Assessment Program tests that include math, reading, science and
writing. Failure to improve significantly in any of the four
areas gets a school's name on the substandard list.
________
SOURCES:
Lansing State Journal, "States 'failing' schools get wide
defense," July 7, 2002
http://www.lsj.com/news/schools/020707_transfer_1a-5a.html

No Child Left Behind, "Paige Releases Number of School in School
Improvement in Each State," July 1, 2002
http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/media/news/070102.html

Jackson Citizen Patriot, "Failing schools list brings challenge,"
July 6, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/jacitpat/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-1/102594991363590.xml

Grand Rapids Press, "Top schools make failing list," July 4, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-2/1025793941145786.xml


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BUSH, COMMISSION ENCOURAGE VOUCHERS FOR LOW-INCOME, SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling
upholding Cleveland's school voucher program as constitutional,
President Bush last week made a vigorous case for school
vouchers, comparing the importance of the issue to that of school
desegregation in the 1950s.

Addressing a rally in Cleveland last week, Bush pledged to push
other areas to adopt voucher plans of their own. Cleveland's plan
gives low-income parents a tuition voucher of up to $2,250 per
child to use at parochial or other private schools. The high
court upheld the plan, 5 to 4.

In addition, a presidential commission last week released
recommendations supporting the use of vouchers for special
education students.

The proposal by the President's Commission on Excellence in
Special Education recommended that federal special education
funds be allowed to pay for the cost of private services or even
private schools attended by disabled students, so long as those
options are available to other students under state and local
laws.
________
SOURCES:
Washington Post, "Bush urges wide use of school vouchers,"
July 2, 2002
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A11104-2002Jul1

Washington Post, "Panel Supports Special Ed Vouchers,"
July 6, 2002
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A30493-2002Jul5

National Review, "School Choice Works," July 8, 2002
http://www.nationalreview.com/murdock/murdock070802.asp

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Supreme Court Upholds School
Choice Program," June 27, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4438

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan Wants School
Choice," June 27, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4434

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Two-Thirds of Michigan Voters
Want School Choice," June 27, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/4435

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Case for Choice in
Schooling," January 2001
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=3236

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


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GRAND RAPIDS SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT CALLS FOR "PARENTAL BILL OF RIGHTS"
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - New Grand Rapids school board President Jim
Rinck is calling for a "Parents Bill of Rights and
Responsibilities" as a way to restore parents' confidence in the
district.

Rinck, elected to the board's top spot Monday, told the Grand
Rapids Press one reason the district lost about 1,000 students
last year and expects to lose as many this year is because
parents have lost trust in the Board of Education and
administration.

Many parents were outraged recently when the board decided to
close two elementary schools, only informing parents by letter on
the day the school board was to vote on the plan. To restore
trust, Rinck wants to create a list of rights that lets parents
know they will have a say in what goes on in their schools.
________
SOURCES:
Grand Rapids Press, "Rinck: Parents need a say in schools,"
July 7, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-2/1026036946323393.xml

Grand Rapids Press, "Critic takes school board reins,"
July 2, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news-2/1025621116311810.xml


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DETROIT TEACHERS, SCHOOL DISTRICT, REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON CONTRACT
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DETROIT, Mich. - School and union officials in Detroit reached a
tentative agreement last week which would give teachers a 3-
percent to 4.1-percent annual raise, more free time to prepare
lessons, and smaller elementary school classes.

If members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers approve the
proposed 3-year contract, there would be no strike in the fall
like the one that delayed the opening of school for more than a
week in 1999.

The raises will cost the district an additional $27 million per
year, schools Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Burnley told the
Detroit Free Press. To pay for the raises, the district will have
to dip into funds allocated to other areas of the budget and may
have to consider layoffs of other staff, he said.

During the 2001-02 school year, the district eliminated about 700
positions, laying off hundreds of workers to avert a $70-million
budget deficit.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Detroit teachers strike a deal,"
July 3, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skul3_20020703.htm


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AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS SHACKLED BY REGULATIONS
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DETROIT, Mich. - A recent Detroit News editorial calls for an end
to onerous regulation of after-school programs.

The News explains that strict enforcement of state regulations is
making it difficult for school districts to find supervisors for
after-school programs. As a result, some of them may have to
close or raise tuition substantially to hire managers with the
approved credentials.

Though schools are overseen by the Department of Education during
the school day, after school hours are regulated by a separate
agency, the Department of Consumer and Industry Services (CIS).
This fact received exposure in May when the Mackinac Center for
Public Policy released the results of a contest on outrageous
school regulations.

The CIS requires that schools have a director with an associate's
degree in early childhood development or an equivalent number of
college credits in that field, according to The News. This
stipulation eliminates many likely supervisors, including parents
and even some school principals, who are fully qualified except
for lacking these specific credentials.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "End Red Tape for After-School Care," July 9, 2002
http://detnews.com/2002/editorial/0207/09/a06-532427.htm

Michigan Education Report, "After School 'Diapers/Formula' Rule
Wins 'Outrageous Regulation' Contest," Spring 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=4378



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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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