MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 39
Oct. 1, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Schools use tricks, treats to lure students on "count day"
* Voucher study finds test scores same, parents more satisfied
* Detroit bills suburbs for transfer students
* New federal program challenges students to take tougher classes
* Charter school attendance steady in Lansing area
* State school board candidates debate at forum
* School buses pass inspections around the state
* Proposal A history
* Educators worried about boys' achievement "gender gap"
* Clintondale school officials indicted, budget surplus gone
* NOTICE: Moscow ballet offers school assemblies in Michigan


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SCHOOLS USE TRICKS, TREATS TO LURE STUDENTS ON "COUNT DAY"
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LANSING, Mich. - Schools around the state used picture day,
after-school dances, prize giveaways, and various other tactics
to lure students to class on "count day" - the day the state
requires districts to count their students.

The day is important for schools for one big reason: Michigan
school districts receive state funding based on enrollment, which
districts tally and report to the state based on last Wednesday's
count.

Schools can report absent students after count day but it
involves more paperwork. Even one student left uncounted can mean
at least $6,700 less in state funding for a school district. The
amount varies from district to district.
_______
SOURCES:
Lansing State Journal, "Schools pull out stops to get kids in
class," Sept. 26, 2002
http://www.lsj.com/news/schools/020926_count_1b.html

Detroit Free Press, "Today's a big day for schools," Sept. 25,
2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/count25_20020925.htm

Saginaw News, "Schools start counting pupils," Sept. 27, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/sanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.
xsl?/base/news-2/103313821858421.xml



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VOUCHER STUDY FINDS TEST SCORES SAME, PARENTS MORE SATISFIED
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Privately funded voucher programs are no
guarantee that students who leave public school for private will
do better than classmates they leave behind, although parents of
voucher students think the new schools are safer, a congressional
report says.

The General Accounting Office examined voucher programs in New
York City, Washington, D.C., and Dayton, Ohio, which were funded
with private contributions rather than taxpayer funds like those
in Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Florida.

Black students participating in the New York program generally
did better in math and reading, but Hispanic students with the
same vouchers did no better, according to the report, which was
released Thursday.

However, the study said parents of voucher students, regardless
of race or ethnicity, were more satisfied with their children's
education and the safety of their schools.
________
SOURCES:
MSNBC. COM, "Study eyes privately funded vouchers," Sept. 27, 2002
http://msnbc.com/news/813789.asp

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


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DETROIT BILLS SUBURBS FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Detroit school district officials say they have
identified 700 students who attended suburban Wayne County
schools on "count day" - the day last September when student
attendance determined state funding - and then transferred to a
Detroit public school later in the school year.

The officials have sent letters to 14 school districts and 35
charter schools in Wayne County, warning that they will soon get
bills for those students who transferred during the 2001-02
school year.

The bills, possible under a 2001 change to state law, could force
suburban districts to hand over millions in state aid to Detroit.

If Detroit collects for only half the students, and for only half
the school year, that would still equal about $1.2 million -
equal to the state funding for an elementary school with a full
compliment of students.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "Detroit schools bill suburbs," Sept. 30, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0209/30/c01-600406.htm


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NEW FEDERAL PROGRAM CHALLENGES STUDENTS TO TAKE TOUGHER CLASSES
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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Students who take rigorous classes in high
school have the best shot at college success, but too few teens
are challenging themselves. The situation has prompted the U.S.
Department of Education to launch a program aimed at getting
educators and business people to encourage students to strengthen
their course work, especially in math, science and reading
comprehension.

Federal officials want to see all students take 4 years of
English, 3 years of math, 3 years of lab science, 3 1/2 years of
social studies and 2 years of a foreign language.

The federal program, called State Scholars, is a response to some
disturbing statistics about high school graduates: Almost half -
49 percent - take remedial classes once they get to college. And
more than 20 percent of students at four-year colleges and 40
percent at two-year colleges drop out after their freshman year.

In Michigan, there are no state guidelines for graduation
requirements, except for mandated government and civics classes.
Individual districts set their own graduation criteria.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Students' blow-off classes a target in new
program," Sept. 21, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/schol21_20020921.htm

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


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CHARTER SCHOOL ATTENDANCE STEADY IN LANSING AREA
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LANSING, Mich. - New enrollment figures show mid-Michigan's
charter schools are holding their own with the Lansing School
District, a competition that's fueling innovative programs for
students.

Overall enrollment at the area's 10 charters and at the much
bigger school district remained largely unchanged this year, with
each dropping less than one-half of 1 percent.

Hoping to attract and retain students, the charters and the
district are offering more choices for parents wanting to
customize their child's education. For example, Walter French
Academy offers a technology-heavy curriculum; the district, in
turn, launched specialty magnet schools offering performing arts,
science and tech-driven education.

"Both schools are working on providing the best educational
programs they can provide," said T.J. Bucholz, spokesman for the
state Education Department. "To some extent, these struggles have
a long-term benefit."
_______
SOURCE:
Lansing State Journal, "Charters keeping pace," Sept. 30, 2002
http://www.lsj.com/news/schools/020930_charter_1a-5a.html


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STATE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES DEBATE AT FORUM
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CLINTON TWP., Mich. - Three state Board of Education candidates
answered questions from educators, parents and residents on
topics including special education and overall quality during a
special forum in Clinton Township.

Democrat Elizabeth Bauer and Republicans Carolyn Curtin and
Michael Warren talked Tuesday about issues they would like to
pursue if elected to the board. The forum was sponsored by the
Macomb Intermediate School District.

The candidates are running for two seats, each with a term of
eight years.

State Rep. Nancy Quarles, D-Southfield, is also running but did
not attend the forum.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Candidates talk about education," Sept. 25, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/skul25_20020925.htm


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SCHOOL BUSES PASS INSPECTIONS AROUND THE STATE
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DETROIT, Mich. - Nearly 85 percent of school buses in the state's
856 public and private fleets passed safety inspections, the
highest number in recent years, according to State Police data
obtained by the Free Press.

Of the 18,170 buses inspected during the 2001-02 school year,
15,423 buses passed, compared to 14,957, or 83 percent, of the
18,005 inspected last year.

In 1999-2000, 13,328, or 78 percent, of the 17,090 buses
inspected passed on the first try.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Area schools make grade with bus
inspections," Sept. 28, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/bus28_20020928.htm

Grand Rapids Press, "Area school buses pass safety tests in
greater numbers," Sept. 27, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard
.xsl?/base/news-4/103313796747550.xml



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PROPOSAL A HISTORY
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DETROIT, Mich. - A recent Detroit Free Press column explores the
history of Proposal A.

The landmark revision of school funding in Michigan mandated that
the bulk of school funds would come directly from the state,
rather than from local property taxes. The plan significantly
lowered property taxes and helped to eliminate funding
disparities between districts.

The plan for Proposal A stemmed from a "Democratic stunt in July
1993," following the rejection by voters of three proposals to
"cut, cap, or shift property taxes for schools," according to the
Free Press.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., at the time a state senator
from Lansing, surprised the chamber by introducing a radical plan
to completely wipe out all property taxes levied for schools.

Seeking a plan that would reduce taxes and resolve school funding
issues, Republicans hashed out many details of the plan and
pushed the plan through the Legislature.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "The 'A' Team," Sept. 29, 2002
http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/erdz29_20020929.htm

Michigan Education Report, "Fix Michigan Schools with Proposal
A+," Winter 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=4071


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EDUCATORS WORRIED ABOUT BOYS' ACHIEVEMENT "GENDER GAP"
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SEATTLE, Wash. - Last school year, for the first time, more girls
than boys passed the math section of Washington state's
achievement test in all grades the test is given: fourth,
seventh, and 10th. In reading and especially writing, girls
maintained large leads. In the seventh and 10th grades, nearly
two-thirds of girls met the writing standard, compared with fewer
than half of boys.

The gap mirrors national - and international - trends.

Until recently, "gender-gap" discussions and efforts to increase
skills and confidence in science and math have focused on girls.
Yet little, if any, organized effort has been made to directly
address boys' long history of scoring lower in reading and
writing.
_______
SOURCE:
Seattle Times, "Schools' gender-gap now is boys," Sept. 30, 2002
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/134545336_gender30m.html


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CLINTONDALE SCHOOL OFFICIALS INDICTED; BUDGET SURPLUS GONE
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CLINTONDALE, Mich. - A nearly $2.5-million budget surplus for
Clintondale Community Schools was nothing more than creative
accounting, auditors told the Board Wednesday night. The
district's actual surplus, according to the audit, was $2,865.

The district also owes $978,728 to a Madison Heights company for
running the adult education program. Accuracy Temporary Services
received only partial payments for the last three years, the
audit found.

The news follows the recent indictments of the district's former
superintendent, Raymond Contesti, and others who have been
charged in connection with Macomb County's biggest school fraud
scandal.

Federal prosecutors allege millions of dollars meant for school
construction were misspent in Clintondale and East Detroit Public
Schools. Clintondale school officials said the latest audit
findings and the indictments are not related.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "Clintondale schools' budget surplus gone in
a flash," Sept. 20, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/clint20_20020920.htm


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NOTICE: MOSCOW BALLET OFFERS SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES IN MICHIGAN
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The Moscow Ballet plans to offer free school assemblies in cities
where the company is scheduled to perform its Great Russian
Nutcracker.

Detroit area assemblies are scheduled the first week of October
at various schools in Bloomfield Hills, Rochester, Grosse Pointe,
and Dearborn.

The company will visit 75 cities from New York to California on
its 10th Anniversary Great Russian Nutcracker tour, which runs
from November 1 to December 31. The generous support of Saturn's
L-Series and Harvard University will help Moscow Ballet further
its educational mission with assemblies and children's dance
auditions across the country in September and October.

For more information on Moscow Ballet and its educational
programs, visit www.nutcracker.com. Educators who would like to
schedule assemblies should contact Dmitri Yudanov, Moscow Ballet,
413-499-1733, dima@nutcracker.com.



################################################
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:
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