MICHIGAN EDUCATION DIGEST
Volume IV, No. 41
Oct. 15, 2002
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/med/


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Contents of this issue:
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* Financial scandals exposed in 10 Metro Detroit school districts
* School reopens after bus accident
* Two Michigan teachers receive national awards
* Saginaw student stabbed
* ACLU defends student newspaper
* Ann Arbor school board debates $112.8 million bond proposal
* Opinion: Boston Globe writer criticizes MEA lawsuit against think tank
* NOTICE: Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence Seminars


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FINANCIAL SCANDALS EXPOSED IN 10 METRO DETROIT SCHOOL DISTRICTS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Metro Detroit school districts are being stung
by a rash of embezzlement cases and allegations of financial
wrongdoing, the Detroit Free Press reported last week.

In at least 10 metro-area districts, administrators, bookkeepers
and others are suspected of stealing from the public in a variety
of ways. And the monitoring system has been ill-equipped to
prevent it, state education officials and police told the Free
Press.

Authorities say no system of checks and balances is guaranteed to
prevent wrongdoing.

"People will be people," T.J. Bucholz, spokesman for the state
Department of Education, told the Detroit Free Press. "Sometimes
they are very honest and sometimes they will be otherwise."
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit Free Press, "Schools fight new battle of books,"
Oct. 10, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/audit10_20021010.htm

Oakland Press, "Oakland Schools, chief awaits results of probe,"
Oct. 9, 2002
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=5645589&BRD=982&
PAG=461&dept_id=467992&rfi=6



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SCHOOL REOPENS AFTER BUS ACCIDENT
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DETROIT, Mich. - Shaken students and teachers returned to school
Monday at Pierre Toussaint Academy in Detroit, thankful that no
one died as a result of a horrific Thursday morning school bus
crash.

On the way to a field trip to Ohio, a truck crashed into the side
of the school bus, injuring nearly 50 people and sending many
students to the hospital.

Monday, classes resumed at the charter school in southwest
Detroit, with counselors offering hour-long programs on dealing
with trauma. The school serves 402 students in kindergarten
through eighth grade.

No one has been charged in the accident. The Monroe County
Sheriff's Department continues its investigation and told the
Free Press it may take several days to finish the probe.
________
SOURCE:
Detroit Free Press, "School counts its blessings," Oct. 15, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/locway/nbus15_20021015.htm


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TWO MICHIGAN TEACHERS RECEIVE NATIONAL AWARDS
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DETROIT, Mich. - Two Metro Detroit teachers were honored with the
national Milken Family Foundation award in surprise school
assemblies Monday.

Jennifer Murphy and Stacie Smith were awarded $25,000 each for
excellence in teaching, two of only 100 teachers across the
country to receive the award.

Murphy, 29, a fifth-grade teacher at Sayre Elementary School in
South Lyon, and Smith, 31, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at
Davison Elementary School in Detroit, received the awards as part
of program that has honored nearly 1,900 teachers nationally
since 1987.
_______
SOURCES:
Detroit News, "2 Metro teachers earn $25,000 Milken awards," Oct. 15,2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0210/15/b01-612570.htm

Detroit Free Press, "Academic Achievement," Oct. 15, 2002
http://www.freep.com/news/education/teach15_20021015.htm


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SAGINAW STUDENT STABBED
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SAGINAW, Mich. - A fight over a pair of contact lenses is said to
have instigated a stabbing at Saginaw High School last Wednesday.

A 14-year-old girl faces charges after she brought a steak knife
to school and stabbed a friend at the school.

In response to the stabbing, and another recent incident where a
student pulled a gun on a fellow student, the district is looking
for ways to make schools safer.

Superintendent Gerald Dawkins has established an Action Line for
parents and students to call with their concerns.
_______
SOURCES:
ABC 12 News, "Saginaw Schools react to recent attacks,"
Oct. 10, 2002
http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/news/101002_NW_saginaw_schools.html

ABC 12 News, "Saginaw High School student stabbed," Oct. 9, 2002
http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/news/100902_NW_da_stabbing.html

Saginaw News, "Girl, 14, faces charges in stabbing," Oct. 11,
2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/sanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_
standard.xsl?/base/news-3/1034347803191891.xml



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ACLU DEFENDS STUDENT NEWSPAPER
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PONTIAC, Mich. - The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a
federal court to order that three high school students be allowed
to distribute an underground newspaper called "The First
Amendment."

The injunction request comes after three South Lyon High School
students were suspended for five days in May. They had written
and attempted to distribute a six-page newspaper, named for the
constitutional amendment guaranteeing free speech and a free
press.

South Lyon schools Superintendent William Pearson defended the
suspensions to The Detroit News, saying the district requires
that the content of student-published newspapers be reviewed by a
school principal and meet preset conditions of distribution.

Representing the students, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the
school district in June, asking the district to revise the
policy.
_______
SOURCE:
Detroit News, "ACLU sues for students' right to distribute
paper," Oct. 5, 2002
http://www.detnews.com/2002/schools/0210/06/metro-604825.htm


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ANN ARBOR SCHOOL BOARD DEBATES $112.8 MILLION BOND PROPOSAL
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Ann Arbor school board is debating a
proposal to ask voters to pass a $112.8 million bond for a new
high school in addition to a 1.5-mill sinking fund levy for
building improvements, to free up funds for operating costs that
the new high school would create.

Although most trustees seemed to favor the concept of a new
1,550-student high school at Wednesday's board meeting, several
were concerned about the financing plan proposed by
administrators. Others worried that taxpayers won't approve such
a large bond or that the 20-year sinking fund term was too long.

A $112.8 million bond would raise taxes an average of $146 a year
for 20 years for a taxpayer owning a home with a taxable value of
$150,000. The sinking fund proposal, which would renew the three- year
sinking fund levy voters passed in June, would add $225 to
the same homeowner's annual tax bill. Together, the proposals
would cost a homeowner an additional $371 per year.
_______
SOURCES:
Ann Arbor News, "Ann Arbor school board reviews bond proposal,"
Oct. 12, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard
.xsl?/base/news-2/1034417467242375.xml


Ann Arbor News, "Questions remain on high school plan,"
Oct. 10, 2002
http://www.mlive.com/news/aanews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard
.xsl?/base/news-2/1034277050219600.xml

Viewpoint on Public Issues, "Sinking Fund Debt: Another Proposal
A End-Run," June 14, 2002
http://www.mackinac.org/article.asp?ID=4421


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OPINION: BOSTON GLOBE WRITER CRITICIZES MEA LAWSUIT AGAINST THINK
TANK
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BOSTON, Mass. - A recent Boston Globe Op-Ed calls the
Michigan Education Association (MEA) lawsuit against a Michigan
think tank an attempt to "padlock the marketplace of ideas."

The MEA, Michigan's largest school employees' union, is suing the
Mackinac Center, a research and educational institute, charging
that the center "misappropriated" the "likeness" of the MEA's
president when it quoted him in a letter to supporters.

Boston Globe Author Jeff Jacoby says the attack on what "may just
be the best regional think tank in America," is proof that the
union resents the Mackinac Center success in exposing the union's
abuse of public school health funds and revealing that numerous
MEA officials are paid more than double the average salary of
Michigan teachers.

"But the First Amendment knows neither right nor left. So long as
it remains the law of the land, no one will be allowed to padlock
the marketplace of ideas," Jacoby said.
_______
SOURCES:
Boston Globe, "The enemies of free speech," Oct. 10, 2002
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/283/oped/The_enemies_of_free_speech+.shtml

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


Michigan Education Report, "MEA employee salaries well above
teachers," Fall 2001
http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?ID=3735


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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]

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