MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 34
August 27, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Metro Detroit grades rise higher than achievement test scores
* One in four Michigan teachers not trained in their subjects
* School administrators sue Detroit Schools Chief Burnley
* Study claims Michigan Merit Award racially biased
* Detroit education summit yields no easy answers
* George Will takes NEA to task for Sept. 11 lesson plan
* Detroit to scrap promotion test for students
* National class of 2002 ACT scores dip
* MEAP test not the only option for testing Michigan students
* Computerized system of student tracking instituted in Chicago
* They pay taxes: Home schoolers and public school sports
* National Heritage Academies going strong, making profit
* Detroit area back to school: New elementary, high schools, early
learning centers, building upgrades, and push for better grades
* Two charter schools close
* Bonuses Never Paid, Detroit Teachers Say
* NOTICE: Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence Seminars

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METRO DETROIT GRADES RISE HIGHER THAN ACHIEVEMENT TEST SCORES
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DETROIT, Mich. - High school grades in Metro Detroit have
increased dramatically compared to scores on standardized tests
over the past decade, backing up claims that grades are often
artificially high while students are poorly prepared for college,
a Detroit News study has found.

During the 1990s, grades in Metro Detroit public high schools
increased far faster than student scores on the ACT Assessment
(ACT). In 1991, for example, 19 percent of students who took the
ACT reported getting "A" grades; by 2000, 32 percent of students
reported getting "A"s. Between 1991 and 2000, ACT scores rose 3.4
percent while grade point averages rose 6.9 percent -- more than
twice as fast.

Grade inflation typically isn't a result of broad administrative
strategies bent on making students seem smarter. Instead, it
tends to be a result of high schools or teachers routinely
increasing the grades of individual students, either to motivate

them, reward hard work or help them get into a selective college.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Artificially high grades fail metro students,"
Aug. 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/specialreport/0208/25/a01-570686.htm

Detroit News, "Roll back grade inflation," August 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0208/25/a18-570375.htm

Detroit News, "Motivating students," August 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/specialreport/0208/25/a01-570694.htm

Detroit News, "Need help in college," August 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/specialreport/0208/25/a01-570697.htm

Detroit News, "Districts beef up academics," August 23, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/25/d03-569231.htm

Detroit News, "One test no measure," August 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/specialreport/0208/25/a01-570706.htm

Detroit News, "ACT provides ideal tracking," August 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/specialreport/0208/25/a11-570456.htm



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ONE IN FOUR MICHIGAN TEACHERS NOT TRAINED IN THEIR SUBJECTS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - An estimated one in four public, middle, and
high school classes is taught by a teacher not trained in the
subject-and the problem is worse in schools that serve poor and
minority students.

The issue will receive broad attention this fall as the federal
government, for the first time, requires schools to tell parents
when their children are being taught by these teachers.

"It's clear that administrators have yet to get the message that
they have to stop assigning teachers out of field," said Craig
Jerald of the Education Trust, the Washington-based nonprofit
that released the report Wednesday.

Part of an education plan signed in January by President Bush
requires that if an instructor is assigned to a subject he or she
is not qualified to teach, the principal must send home a note
within a month.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Many are teaching off-subject," August 22,
2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/teach22_20020822.htm

Detroit News, "1 in 4 teaches outside of field," Aug. 22, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/a01-568429.htm

CNN.com, "Educators lack training in subjects they teach," August
22, 2002
http://fyi.cnn.com/2002/fyi/teachers.ednews/08/22/teachers.qualification
s.ap/index.html



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SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS SUE DETROIT SCHOOLS CHIEF BURNLEY
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DETROIT, Mich. - The Organization of School Administrators and
Supervisors (OSAS) has sued Detroit schools chief Kenneth
Burnley, saying he violated the Open Meetings Act when he laid
off 360 department heads and staff coordinators. Lawyers for the
school chief executive claim Burnley is not subject to the state
law.

Editors at The Detroit News stated while the legal situation is
ambiguous, Burnley clearly erred in the way meetings regarding
the layoffs were conducted. "The ship-shod way the meetings were
conducted violated the Open Meetings Act. Notices were not
posted, and confusion surrounded interview locations. Lawyers for
OSAS will ask a judge on Friday to reinstate the employees."

_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Burnley Must Hold Open Meetings," August 22, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0208/22/a14-568073.htm


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STUDY CLAIMS MICHIGAN MERIT AWARD RACIALLY BIASED
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A study released Monday by the Harvard-based Civil Rights Project
uses the disparity between awards to African Americans and whites
as the basis of a claim that the Michigan Merit Award scholarship
program discriminates against minority and poor students.

African Americans make up 14 percent of high school students in
Michigan and receive 4 percent of the Michigan Merit Award
scholarships given annually to the state's high school students,
according to the study.

State officials don't dispute these numbers, and stand by their
criteria for granting the award. "We have statistics of students
in every county of this state winning the MEAP award," said Terry
Stanton, spokesman for the state treasury department. " ... this
program rewards students who are indeed successful regardless of
their ethnicity or income level."

Stanton said the state has given away even more money, about $770
million, to students in a need-based program.

The Michigan Merit Award program provides scholarships of $2,500
each to high school students who have met or exceeded the
standard for proficiency in math, science, reading and writing on
the Michigan Education Assessment Program test. Students can also
qualify if they do well on ACT and SAT tests.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Study: Mich. Merit award biased," Aug. 26, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/27/a04-572103.htm

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DETROIT EDUCATION SUMMIT YIELDS NO EASY ANSWERS
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DETROIT, Mich. - There were no easy answers from more than 30
experts assembled at Detroit's State Theatre last Tuesday for a
one-day education summit hosted by the Wayne County Community
College District and sponsored by The Detroit News and WDIV TV 4.

The summit was organized in response to The Detroit News' January
series, "The Cost of Segregation," which focused on the racial
divisions between the city and its suburbs.

Reading programs at churches, universal early childhood
education, better teacher preparation and equal funding for every
student were some of the solutions suggested to help solve
illiteracy, unemployment, and incarceration that plagues Detroit
and other major cities throughout the country.

"The focus is not on student achievement. The focus is still on
how this system is run administratively," said Detroit Mayor
Kwame Kilpatrick, adding that there is too much emphasis on who
is in charge of the school system instead of what is being taught
in the school system.

Dr. Claud Young, national chairman of the board of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference, had a simpler solution. "Just
cough up the money and then we'll solve the problem," said Young.

"The fact that 44 percent of working-age Detroiters are jobless
cannot be surprising when 47 percent of all Detroiters are
functionally illiterate," noted The Detroit News.
_________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Summit: Make education everyone's business,"
August 21, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/21/a01-567420.htm

Detroit News, "Education a Job for All," August 20, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/editorial/0208/22/a06-565908.htm

Detroit News, "Summit tackles education crisis," August 21, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/21/c01-566132.htm

Detroit News, "Summit on Detroit schools is a lesson in good
words and high hopes," August 22, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/metro/0208/22/g01-567836.htm


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GEORGE WILL TAKES N.E.A. TO TASK FOR SEPT. 11 LESSON PLAN
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Nationally syndicated columnist George Will
has taken the National Education Association to task for what he
considers the "touchy feely" tone and anti-American bias of a
lesson plan the union prepared for teachers to use on the
anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Will listed three problems with the lesson plan: "One is distrust
of parents, whom the NEA obviously considers imbeciles," Will
wrote. "Another is a politically correct obsession with
'diversity' and America's sins. Third, and most repellant, is a
therapeutic rather than an educational focus -- an emphasis not
on learning but on feelings, not on good thinking but on feeling
good."

Will took exception especially at the idea that Americans needed
to "manage their anger." "Let's see. Some seriously angry people
murder almost 3,000 people in America and Americans need to work
on managing their anger? And on getting along with others? Did
little Mohamed Atta's report card in third grade say he 'plays
well with others?'"

_______
SOURCE:
Sacramento Bee, "George F. Will: Dishonorable lesson plans," Aug.
25, 2002
http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/national/will/story/4113386p-51360
62c.html


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DETROIT TO SCRAP PROMOTION TEST FOR STUDENTS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Detroit's public schools are scrapping a local
assessment test used to help determine whether some students will
be promoted to the next grade, calling the test cumbersome and
ineffective.

The 2-year-old Essential Skills Attainment Test (ESAT),
administered in third, fifth and eighth grades, is to be replaced
by a shorter test that is under development, said Juanita Clay
Chambers, associate superintendent for curriculum.

The district developed the ESAT to help teachers determine how
students are progressing in reading, math, science and social
studies.

Students who scored poorly on the test and earned a grade lower
than C in reading, math, social studies or science were assigned
mandatory summer school. After the 2000-01 school year, 4,421
students had to attend summer school while 17,276 were promoted.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Detroit to scrap test for students," Aug.
23, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/test23_20020823.htm


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NATIONAL CLASS OF 2002 ACT SCORES DIP
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Student scores on the ACT college entrance
exam dipped slightly this year, which officials say is linked to
record numbers of students taking the test.

The average composite score for the Class of 2002 was 20.8 out of
a possible 36, compared with the average score of 21 last year.

The American College Testing Assessment report further shows that
more than one in four of the 1.1 million graduates tested scored
17 or lower, revealing problems with basic skills, such as
solving one-step arithmetic problems or figuring out the main
point of a paragraph.

In Michigan, the average ACT composite score has stayed steady --
21.3 since 1996. Michigan ranked 29th in the nation. About 70
percent of Michigan graduates take the ACT test. Wisconsin
students took top honors for the sixth time in a row, with a
score of 22.2.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "Class of 2002 ACT score dips," August 21, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/21/a04-567386.htm

Chicago Sun Times, "ACT scores spell trouble in schools," August
21, 2002
http://www.suntimes.com/output/education/cst-nws-act21.html

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State ACT score is tops again,"
August 21, 2002
http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/aug02/67925.asp


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MEAP TEST NOT THE ONLY OPTION FOR TESTING MICHIGAN STUDENTS
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MIDLAND, Mich. - A number of commercial firms publish high-
quality, low-cost educational achievement tests that could
potentially replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program
(MEAP) test, according to Kirk Johnson, director of education
policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Johnson compares the MEAP to two commercial achievement tests:
the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition, and the Iowa Test
of Basic Skills, and find these tests to outscore the MEAP in
flexibility, comparability, political neutrality, cost, and
compliance with President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" Act.

The only advantages Johnson sees in staying with the MEAP are: a)
that Michigan would have to "start over" with testing and would
be unable to compare scores from the new test with previous
years; and (b) since the MEAP was designed according to
Michigan's academic guidelines, educators would no longer have a
test tied to those guidelines.
_______
SOURCES:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Which Educational Achievement
Test is Best for Michigan?," May 28, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=4382

Detroit News, "National test debated," August 25, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/specialreport/0208/25/a01-570701.htm

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COMPUTERIZED SYSTEM OF STUDENT TRACKING INSTITUTED IN CHICAGO
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CHICAGO, Ill. - Chicago public school teachers will have access
to an unprecedented amount of data about their students, be given
their own Web accounts to track their kids, and offered a
computerized menu of ways to help them under an education plan
released today in the nation's third-largest school district.

Schools will generate a huge battery of statistics never before
tallied by the system, including how many new teachers bail out
of their schools, how many high school students stay on track to
graduate and how many of them enroll in college.

Parents also will enjoy the new wealth of information, with
special, detailed reports on how their school and their children
are doing.

Data used by teachers will be generated under a $1.8 million
contract with Grow Network, an education technology firm that has
been helping New York City schools for two years, said Barbara
Eason-Watkins, Duncan's chief education officer.
_______
SOURCE:
Chicago Sun-Times, "Education plan heavy on data," Aug. 26, 2002
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-skul26.html

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THEY PAY TAXES: HOME SCHOOLERS AND PUBLIC SCHOOL SPORTS
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - In 1999, the U.S. Dept. of Education counted
850,000 home-schooled students nationwide, with numbers growing
rapidly. Yet hundreds of school districts routinely turn down
requests from home-schoolers to participate in sports, perform in
plays, take specialty academic courses or join music programs.

Home-schooling parents say they pay the same taxes as parents of
full-time public school students and that their children should
be allowed to play on public school teams. But school
administrators argue that they receive no funding for home-
schooled students' sports activities.

An Aug. 21 editorial by USA Today called the administrators'
arguments "shortsighted." "Home-schooled students are part of a
school-choice movement that is gaining momentum each year," and
the public schools need to adapt themselves to this reality, the
editors wrote.

Currently, Florida and 13 other states have laws that require
schools to open up their facilities to home-schoolers. Other
states have no policies or leave it up to local school districts.
_______
SOURCE:
USA Today, "As home schooling rises, districts fail to meet
needs," August 22, 2002
http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20020821/4378082s.htm

USA Today, "Let local boards decide," August 22, 2002
http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20020821/4378087s.htm

San Antonio Express-News, "Home schooling today reaches beyond
the house," August 22, 2002
http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=792419


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NATIONAL HERITAGE ACADEMIES GOING STRONG, MAKING PROFIT
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - National Heritage Academies, the privately
run school management company that started in Grand Rapids in
1995, is making a profit and expanding. Its 32 charter schools in
four states are hiring 330 new teachers this year.

"We were the first charter company in the country to achieve
profitability and we've completed two profitable years,'' said
spokeswoman Tara Powers.

National Heritage operates 13 other schools in Michigan, as well
as schools in Ohio, New York and North Carolina. It has a total
of 14,000 students in grades K-8.

National Heritage recently secured $25 million in bank financing
to open four new schools in Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; Syracuse,
N.Y.; and Charlotte, N.C., Powers said.
_______
SOURCE:
Lansing State Journal, "Charter school firm boasts success,"
August 13, 2002
http://www.lsj.com/news/schools/020813charter_4b.html


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DETROIT AREA BACK TO SCHOOL: NEW ELEMENTARY, HIGH SCHOOLS, EARLY
LEARNING CENTERS, BUILDING UPGRADES, AND PUSH FOR HIGHER GRADES
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DETROIT, Mich. - As Detroit-area students return to school on
September 3rd, a host of changes will greet them. First, Detroit
Public Schools have built four new elementary schools and six
early childhood learning centers, which represent $150 million in
construction and are part of the district's $1.5 billion capital
improvement program.

Meanwhile, in outlying suburbs, a number of new high schools have
been built, and new programs put in place, designed to stem a
slump in reading and writing scores, as revealed in the 2002
Michigan Education Placement Program (MEAP) test results. At
least three new elementary schools will open in Macomb County,
and school districts in the high-growth M-59 corridor are bracing
once again for triple-digit enrollment increases.

At all Michigan schools, beginning this year, educators will
enforce a slew of changes in state and federal laws that provide
money for reading programs, rate the quality of each district and
notify parents when teachers don't specialize in the subjects
they teach. The new laws will also require yearly testing in
reading and math starting in the 2003-04 school year.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "New Detroit schools packed with amenities," Aug.
23, 2002.
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/d08-569386.htm

Detroit News, "Older suburban schools upgrade, add new programs,"
Aug. 23, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/d04-569202.htm

Detroit News, "Districts beef up academics," Aug. 23, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/d03-569231.htm

Detroit News, "Schools hit with tough new rules," Aug. 23, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/a01-569496.htm

Detroit News, "Macomb districts gird for more kids," Aug. 23,
2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/d05-569139.htm

Detroit News, "Schools cope with higher enrollment," Aug. 23, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/d05l-569211.htm


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TWO CHARTER SCHOOLS CLOSE
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DETROIT, Mich. - A couple of Michigan charter schools are closing
their doors, among them Oasis Academy, a 6-year-old Southfield
charter school and the Michigan Institute for Construction in
Detroit.

Classes were to start Sept. 4 for 500 K-8 students at Oasis.

The Michigan Institute for Construction Trades charter school was
supposed to open its doors for a new school year this week.
Detroit schools chief executive Kenneth Burnley said he revoked
the charter because of financial irregularities and failure to
meet education goals.
________
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Charter school closing; students must
transfer," August 22, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nchart22_20020822.htm

Detroit News, "Trade school closes; students scramble
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/23/d08-569385.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Southfield charter students in a jam," Aug.
23, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/nchart23_20020823.htm

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BONUSES NEVER PAID, DETROIT TEACHERS SAY
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About 100 Detroit teachers, who chose Detroit public schools last
year because the job came with a $1,000 bonus at the end of the
first year, say they have yet to receive their bonus and wonder
if they ever will.

The complaints come as Detroit school officials rush to hire
teachers before school starts next Wednesday. The district has
faced a teacher shortage for years. There were 9,200 teachers at
the end of last school year, with 1,300 -- or 14 percent --
uncertified.

Debra Williams, the district's chief human resources officer,
said her staff is researching the issue, investigating whether
the bonuses were advertised, and whether they were for all new
teachers or only those in critical shortage areas. Teachers say
the schools will have trouble attracting teachers if officials
renege on promises like the bonuses.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Bonuses never paid, teachers say," Aug. 26, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0208/27/c01-572080.htm

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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.



################################################
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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