MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST 
Volume IV, No. 33 
August 20, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Colleges swamped with remedial students
* Texas teachers exploit Social Security loophole
* Cleveland school voucher applications soar
* Home schooling illegal in California?
* NEA history sites cast blame on Americans for Sept. 11
* NOTICE: Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence Seminars


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COLLEGES SWAMPED WITH REMEDIAL STUDENTS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Michigan's community colleges, already swamped 
with students who don't meet basic standards, are hoping to work 
with local school districts to keep more students from failing at 
higher education.

More than a third of the 90,000 Michigan students who graduate 
each year leave high school without basic skills in reading, 
writing and math, according to a 2000 study by the Mackinac 
Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute in 
Midland. The issue is daunting for the state's 28 public 
community colleges because they are required to admit all 
Michigan high school graduates.

Students who lack the basic skills to enter college take longer 
to earn a degree-if they graduate at all. And even those who do 
graduate often are at disadvantage competing for jobs, experts 
said.

Michigan's community colleges spend an estimated $65.4 million a 
year teaching students basic skills, according to the Mackinac 
Center study; and universities and businesses in the state also 
spend millions to provide remedial education.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Colleges, districts battle bad learning," Aug. 20, 
2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/20/a01-566328.htm

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "The Cost of Remedial 
Education," August 2000
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=3025


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TEXAS TEACHERS EXPLOIT SOCIAL SECURITY LOOPHOLE
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DALLAS, Texas - A fast-growing technique used by Texas teachers 
to circumvent federal pension limitations could drain more than 
$450 million in unintended benefits from the Social Security 
system, says a report issued Wednesday by congressional auditors. 
The General Accounting Office said retiring teachers can spend a 
single day - their last working day - as a janitor or a clerk, 
pay as little as $3 in Social Security taxes, and collect an 
average $93,000 or more in spousal retirement benefits for the 
rest of their lives.

Jeri Stone, executive director of the Texas Classroom Teachers 
Association, told the Dallas Morning News her organization not 
only encourages Texas teachers to take advantage of the loophole, 
but also lobbies against the federal provision that was intended 
to prohibit public employees from collecting both pensions. 
"We're not unhappy that the loophole exists," Ms. Stone told the 
Morning News. 

The report offers no estimate of the extent of the problem 
nationwide, focusing only on Texas and Georgia. Of 4,819 cases 
studied, all but 24 were in Texas.
________ 
SOURCES:
Dallas Morning News, "Pension loophole exploited," August 16, 2002
http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews/stories/081602dntexGAO.9807b.html

The Arizona Republic, "Teachers using loophole to get extra 
benefits," August 16, 2002
http://www.arizonarepublic.com/news/articles/0816gao16.html


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CLEVELAND SCHOOL VOUCHER APPLICATIONS SOAR
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CLEVELAND, Ohio - Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling 
upholding its constitutionality, applications for the Cleveland 
school voucher program began pouring into the state's education 
department.

The Ohio Department of Education, which administers the voucher 
program, got 2,200 first-time applications by the July 31 
deadline, a 10 percent increase over last year. The vouchers can 
be used for up to $2,250 of tuition at a private school.

The state is making more vouchers available this year-5,523 
compared to the 4,500 vouchers awarded last year. But about the 
same number of private schools as last year will accept vouchers 
and some of those schools may have no more spots open, Dottie 
Howe, communications manager for the education department told 
the Plain Dealer. A family picking such a school will have to 
choose another or return the voucher.

The program gives priority to families who earn less than 200 
percent of the federal poverty level; the earnings threshold for 
a family of four is $36,200.
________
SOURCE:
The Plain Dealer, "School voucher applications soar," August 13, 2002
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/xml/story.ss
f/html_standard.xsl?/base/cuyahoga/1029231092124860.xml



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HOME SCHOOLING ILLEGAL IN CALIFORNIA?
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The state of California is warning parents 
that they cannot educate their children at home without acquiring 
a professional teaching credential, making many home-schooling 
parents wonder whether their home education program is now 
illegal.

On July 16, the California education department issued a memo 
that stated home schooling with non-credentialed teachers "is not 
an authorized exemption from mandatory public school attendance."

Legal defenders of home-based education say home schooling is not 
mentioned in California law and is legal under a statute that 
allows any parent to operate a "private school," even if the 
student body amounts to one. California is one of 12 states where 
home schooling is accomplished under a private school exemption.

Home-school legal advocate Roy Hanson, director of the Lincoln, 
Calif.-based Private and Home Educators of California, told World 
Net Daily the state is trying to frighten people into abandoning 
home schooling, and called the memo "pure deception."

Despite debate over the legal claims in the memo, school 
officials in California are taking it seriously, sending notes to 
private schools and home-schooling parents, encouraging them to 
enroll their students in programs or schools with certified 
teachers.
________
SOURCE:
World Net Daily, "Home-schooling illegal in California?," August 
19, 2002
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=28644


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NEA HISTORY SITE CASTS BLAME ON AMERICANS FOR SEPT. 11
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Education Association (NEA) is 
suggesting to teachers that they be careful on the first 
anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks not to "suggest any 
group is responsible" for the terrorist hijackings that killed 
more than 3,000 people.

But some of the suggested NEA lesson plans-compiled together 
under the title "Remember September 11" and appearing on the 
teacher union's health information network web site-urges 
educators to "discuss historical instances of American 
intolerance," so that the American public avoids "repeating 
terrible mistakes."

Critics say some of the suggestions included in the lesson plans 
aimed at junior and senior high school students can be seen as 
more concerned with America's faults than with confronting or 
overcoming terrorism.

"A lot of what's stated in these lesson plans are lies," William 
S. Lind, director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the 
Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank, told the 
Washington Times. "None of what is mentioned in these plans are 
facts. It's an ultimate sin to now defend Western culture. It 
does not matter today whether a student learns any facts or any 
skills. What matters now is the attitude they come away with when 
they graduate school."
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SOURCES:
Washington Times, "NEA delivers history lesson," August 19, 2002
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20020819-34549100.htm

National Education Association Health Information Network www.neahin.org


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NOTICE: HOOGLAND CENTER FOR TEACHER EXCELLENCE SEMINARS
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The Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence at Hillsdale College 
is sponsoring two upcoming seminars:

November 1-2, 2002:
A More Perfect Union: Teaching the Constitution of the United 
States

January 17-18, 2003:
Founding Father: George Washington and the American Founding

Both seminars will be held on the campus of Hillsdale College, in 
Hillsdale, Mich., located 80 miles south of Lansing. Open to 
public, private and home-school middle and high school teachers 
of civics, social studies and history, the seminars require only 
a $25.00 registration fee. This fee pays for accommodations at 
the on-campus hotel, all meals, and seminar and curriculum 
materials.

Participants will explore the seminar topics in lectures and 
small group discussions led by Hillsdale College faculty and 
guest lecturers. Hillsdale College academic credit or one 
Michigan State Board Continuing Education Unit (SB-CEU) of 
professional development credit may be earned for each seminar.

For more information and to register for one or both of the 
seminars, 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, go to: 
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/#subscribe.
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